The last time LSU right-hander Russell Reynolds had appeared in a game was April 2, 2013, when he tossed two innings and surrendered three earned runs against Alcorn State.
With Tigers freshman Jake Godfrey struggling to make it through four innings Sunday afternoon against Kansas, though, Reynolds made something of a triumphant return to Alex Box Stadium.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri called for Reynolds to head to the bullpen as his rookie starter fought through the Jayhawks’ lineup.
It caught Reynolds by surprise.
“I was doing the (pitching) chart, and they said, ‘Reynolds, get ready,’ ” Reynolds said. “I had no idea. I was out of it. So I jogged out there, and I was nervous.”
Mainieri called for Reynolds after Godfrey issed a two-out walk to Jayhawks sophomore Joven Afenir.
Reynolds, a sophomore right-hander, threw two innings of one-run ball, allowing a hit while striking out one and walking one.
“I thought Russell did a really nice job,” Mainieri said. “He pretty much was almost perfect. I was really proud of him. It’s been a while since he’s been out there, but I’ve been seeing him throw in intrasquad games and he’s looked good. I wasn’t surprised.”
Reynolds said pitching in spring scrimmages didn’t compare to the Alex Box atmosphere.
“It doesn’t compare to pitching in front of 10,000,” Reynolds said. “It felt good. It felt just like it did my freshman year. It’s just how I remembered it.”
LSU defense stumbles
Sunday’s 7-4 victory against Kansas was one the LSU defense will be happy to forget.
The errors began in the top of the second inning.
After Kansas’ Michael Tinsley drew a leadoff walk, Dakota Smith hit a chopper to LSU freshman third baseman Bryce Jordan.
He fielded a tough hop, recovered and fired to first base, but his throw was wide of the bag. Tinsley scored to tie the game at 1.
Later, rookie catcher Michael Papierski allowed a ball to pop out of his glove, letting the Jayhawks’ Matt McLaughlin score.
LSU senior second baseman Conner Hale also committed two fielding errors in the contest, and junior Alex Bregman mishandled a ball at shortstop in the top of the sixth that allowed a Kansas runner to score.
All told, LSU was charged with four errors.
“It wasn’t the best defensive game for me personally,” Hale said. “That’s part of the game. You just can’t take it into your at-bats.”
Hale said the squad will learn from its early-season mistakes.
“You can always learn when you go back and watch it,” Hale said. “We’ll just talk to our teammates and find out what we did wrong.”
Chris Sciambra thrives
As part of a crowded outfield, LSU senior Chris Sciambra will have to impress when given the opportunity.
He did so Sunday afternoon, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk as the Tigers’ designated hitter.
“It’s always a lot more fun to be out there than sitting on the bench,” Sciambra said. “I’ll take my chances whenever I get them.”