LSU pummeled Northwestern State pitching to the tune of nine runs on 14 hits to wrap up its regular season non-conference schedule with a resounding win — and it also managed to avoid disaster at the end.
Four LSU players finished with multiple hits, three LSU players hit the ball over the fences and five players drove in a run as the Tigers beat the Demons 9-3. LSU (36-17) was able to celebrate the win properly with the belief that it had dodged a major bullet.
With two in the eighth outs, LSU slugger Greg Deichmann hit a dribbler down the first base line. As he was hustling toward the bag, Northwestern State pitcher Tim Winder lunged for the ball and unintentionally took out Deichmann’s legs.
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Deichmann slammed his helmet on the ground in frustration as the LSU medical staff rushed out to assess him.
"I felt like I wanted to crawl on top of this canopy and take a swan dive off,” said senior Kramer Robertson about his initial reaction when Deichmann went down.
Deichmann walked off the field under his own power and did not return to play the ninth inning defensively, but the good thing is he thought he would’ve been able to if LSU would’ve asked.
“(Athletic trainer Cory Couture) looked at me, it’s stable, I’m good to go,” Deichmann said. “I could have gone back out there and played right (field). I tweaked it for a second and it tightened up, but by the time I got back in the dugout the pain had subsided.”
LSU coach Paul Mainieri was cautiously optimistic after the game, but immediately after it happened, he said his heart skipped.
“When it first happened, man, I couldn’t breathe,” Mainieri said. “But hopefully he’s going to wake up, feel fine, and we’ll be good to go. Right now, … I feel confident that’s going to be the case.”
Leading the offensive barrage Tuesday was Robertson, who enjoyed a monster night out of the leadoff spot, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a home run. The home run, his sixth of the year, came in the bottom of the eighth to provide the final score.
Knowing that nothing is assured when it comes to the postseason, Robertson made sure he enjoyed what might have been his final game in Alex Box Stadium.
“I wanted to make it special,” Robertson said. “It was pretty cool to hit a home run in that last at-bat right there, it’s something I’m going to remember for a while.”
Deichmann got the offensive party started in the first inning when he hammered a 3-2 pitch for a two-run home run on the ninth pitch of his at-bat. His 17th homer of the season — the most by an LSU player since Matt Gaudet hit 19 in 2010 — was one of his more impressive shots.
According to LSU's TrackMan ball tracking radar system, the ball had an apex of 52 feet in flight and left Deichmann's bat at 114.6 mph, making it the hardest hit ball by an LSU player this season.
He was not the only LSU player with an impressive home run on the evening.
Freshman center fielder Zach Watson mashed his fourth home run of the year in the fourth inning to give LSU a 6-1 lead.
Watson's ball sailed just to the left of the batter's eye in center field and traveled an estimated 419 feet, according to LSU's TrackMan system. It was Watson's second homer in the past three games, both of which came out of the No. 9 spot in the order.
The Demons (20-31) were not able to keep pace the way freshman right-hander Todd Peterson was pitching.
Tuesday’s contest against Northwestern State was LSU’s 14th and final midweek game of the se…
Peterson (3-1) was auditioning for a chance to be LSU’s fourth starter in the postseason, and he made the most of his opportunity. He logged career highs in innings pitched (five) and strikeouts (six) as he kept the Northwestern State lineup at bay.
He was at his efficient best Tuesday, needing only 59 pitches to get through five innings, throwing 39 of those pitches for strikes.
“I really slowed down mentally and pounded the zone,” Peterson said. “The things I was working on with (pitching coach Alan Dunn) was the first pitch strike and the put-away breaking ball.”
The Tigers finished the season 8-6 in midweek games. They wrap up the regular season on the road against Mississippi State with a chance to win a Southeastern Conference title in a three-game series starting Thursday.
“This series at Mississippi State is going to be about as big as they get,” Mainieri said. “We’re fired up, we’re ready to go, we’re going to try to finish strong.”
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