After an extra-inning contest that included five home runs — including an inside-the-park homer to tie the score in the ninth — it would be easy to forget about the LSU pitcher who was on the mound first Sunday afternoon for LSU’s 12-10 loss to Kentucky in 11 innings.
Tigers freshman right-hander Jake Godfrey likely wouldn’t mind if this one stayed near the back of people’s memories. There wasn’t much to recall from his seventh career start; most fans barely had time to blink before it abruptly ended.
The contest began on a positive note for Godfrey, who retired three of the first four Kentucky batters to step to the plate. But then the second inning happened.
The Wildcats’ Dorian Hairston took the first pitch of the inning and sent it over the left-center field wall to give Kentucky a 1-0 lead. Thomas Bernal followed with a single on the next pitch. On the proceeding delivery, Zach Arnold roped a single.
“I just didn’t feel like I had life,” Godfrey said. “I was kind of just dead from the start, and they got to me early. I just need to keep working. It happens to everyone, and I just need to come out and do my best next time.”
Four consecutive Kentucky hitters had a hit to begin the inning, and then came a bases-loaded walk to make it 2-0. Two more runs scored before coach Paul Mainieri turned to sophomore righty Hunter Newman.
Mainieri said Godfrey’s troubles were a result of struggles with his curveball command.
“He struggled. They were very aggressive against him,” Mainieri said. “He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes, but he couldn’t get his curveball over.”
Mainieri had a message for Godfrey and the squad following the defeat.
“Just to keep working,” Godfrey said. “Keep playing tough. It has been a hard-fought series, and we need to keep working.”
One game after he was inserted back into the leadoff spot, sophomore left fielder Jake Fraley suffered an injury that could keep him out of the lineup in the coming week.
In the third inning, Fraley laced a double to right field. After rounding first base, he pulled up before reaching second, grabbing at his hamstring. He was immediately replaced by sophomore Kramer Robertson.
Mainieri said Fraley is day-to-day, and he was unsure of the severity of the injury.
“Nothing serious; I’ll be back in a couple days,” Fraley said on Twitter. “I appreciate all the concern.”
There are numerous ways to react to a weekend that yields a home series loss to a conference opponent. Junior shortstop Alex Bregman said the Tigers will use the disappointing finish to grow.
The Tigers have a quick turnaround: They’ll have just one day off before traveling to Zephyr Field on Tuesday to face Louisiana-Lafayette in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic. Bregman said he thinks his squad will be ready to get back on track.
“There’s always going to be adversity during the season,” he said. “We definitely don’t hope to lose series … but I think we’re going to bounce back from this. We still have a lot of confidence from this whole weekend.”
Six Tigers extended hitting streaks Sunday: Andrew Stevenson (14 games), Kade Scivicque (11), Mark Laird (nine), Jared Foster (six), Chris Chinea (six) and Conner Hale (six). … Jared Foster hit his seventh home run of the season. He had seven hits all of last season.