Antoine Duplantis’ short, smooth swings continue to send his name higher the LSU record book.
The man he’s chasing got an up-close look Wednesday.
Duplantis, now with a hit in each of his first 16 collegiate games, reached base in each of his four at-bats — the big knock a sixth-inning RBI triple, part of a three-run rally that separated the Tigers from the Privateers in a 9-4 win at Alex Box Stadium.
The streak now ties him with JC Holt and DJ LeMahieu for the third-longest by an LSU freshman since 1997. UNO coach Blake Dean, whose scrappy bunch took a quick lead on his alma mater and played it to a tie through five innings, is second on the list with a 20-game streak in 2007.
“That’s a part of coming to LSU,” Duplantis said. “When you play well, you’re in the company of some really good players. Can’t be worrying about it, just got to keep playing.”
In a lefty-lefty matchup with UNO starter Bryan Warzek in the first inning and his team down 1-0, Duplantis extended the streak with a short swing, lacing an opposite-field single to score Kramer Robertson, who led off the game with a single.
Warzek, who touched 88 mph in the first inning, struggled with command throughout a five-walk, 4.2-inning stint. He wiggled out of what became a bases-loaded, no-out jam after Duplantis’ single, inducing a 6-4-3 double play from Bryce Jordan that scored Fraley and put LSU ahead 2-1.
“He was up, down all over the place in the beginning of the game,” Jordan Romero said. “Up until we scored some runs, he was a little high, a little low and people were chasing those pitches. A lefty throwing 85, it looks so fat, but I guess it’s not.”
Romero, in the lineup to show another right-handed bat against pesky Privateers lefty, rocked a full-count, two-RBI single up the middle that broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth, after getting runners in scoring position in the third and fourth and producing no runs.
The fading fastball flummoxed him in his first two at-bats — flyouts to right field — so Romero spent time in the on-deck circle before his third at-bat ensuring his timing was precise.
“Anytime there’s a runner in scoring position, I love those situations. That’s just the kind of the hitter I am,” Romero said. “I get in the box and it’s me versus the pitcher. That’s how I go about the at-bat and it works most of the time.”
Bryce Jordan added his first career home run in the sixth, two batters after Duplantis’ triple.
“I just needed something to get me up,” Bryce Jordan said. “Got the fastball I wanted and did what I could with it.”
Employing a trademark midweek strategy, LSU coach Paul Mainieri summoned “Jack Wholestaff,” using 10 pitchers in nine innings to work his bullpen in its final midweek game before SEC play.
Starter Alden Cartwright and Doug Norman each scattered a run in the first two innings — Cartwright’s a carrying, opposite-field home run to former Tigers teammate Dakota Dean, now UNO’s third baseman.
Dakota Dean was robbed of a second hit to begin the third on a sliding stop in the hole by Cole Freeman, the play signaling a four-inning scoreless streak from LSU pitching that allowed its offense to solve Warzek and hand one of its most distinguished alums a loss.
“Going up against Blake or any one of my former players or former assistant coaches is always a difficult thing for me because I’m so impassioned about what they’re doing,” Mainieri said. “I want them to do well and win every game I play. Unfortunately when we play them, I have to feel differently … I’m always glad when the games are over.”
Follow Chandler Rome on Twitter, @Chandler_Rome .