LSU cruised to a 9-0 win in its season opener against Army behind timely hitting, solid defense and a great game from starting pitcher Alex Lange.
The Tigers (1-0) and Black Knights (0-2) are playing a pair of seven-inning games after both had contests rained out Friday.
Lange (1-0) was sharp from the outset. He needed just nine pitches to get through a 1-2-3 first inning, and eight of them went for strikes. He touched 96 miles an hour with his fastball in the first inning, according to the stadium radar gun.
He exited the game with a 4-0 lead after throwing five strong frames. Lange did not walk a batter, struck out six and fired first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 18 batters he faced.
His curveball looked especially sharp, though after the game Lange said he needed to work on how often he left it up in the zone. He threw it often early in the count, and tallied four of his six strikeouts with the pitch.
His teammates had his back, both at the plate and in the field.
Greg Deichmann did not appear to be suffering any side effects from the pitch that struck his face last week, requiring a corrective surgery and a customized helmet with a face mask.
Deichmann homered in his first at bat, a two-run shot that just cleared the fence in right-center field and gave LSU a 3-0 first-inning lead. According to the TrackMan tracking system at LSU, the ball left Deichmann’s bat at 105 miles per hour and traveled 414 feet.
Freshman first baseman Jake Slaughter added to the lead in the fourth inning, when he jumped on the first pitch he saw and took it over the left field wall for a solo home run. It was the first hit of Slaughter’s career.
LSU tacked on five runs to blow the game open in the fifth inning. That big inning was facilitated by a throwing error by Army first baseman Tyler Giovinco on a potential inning-ending double play.
The next three batters reached base, including a bases-loaded single by Bryce Adams followed by a bases-loaded walk by freshman Josh Smith.
In the field, Slaughter showed off his skill at first base, a position the high school shortstop played in a game for the first time.
He set the tone when he cleanly picked a rocket by Army leadoff hitter Jacob Hurtubise to start the game. He showed off one more time when he stretched to snare an off-the-line throw by Kramer Robertson to complete a 4-6-3 double play.
LSU did not commit an error in Saturday’s opener.
After leading LSU in hitting last season, senior second baseman Cole Freeman picked up where he left off. He was the only Tiger with multiple hits in Saturday’s opener (2-for-3), one of which was an RBI double he scorched down the third base line.
The Tigers are scheduled to play the second half of the double-header at 4 p.m. Saturday.