Antoine Duplantis’ left knee skidded across the artificial turf in the foul territory that lines LSU’s left field bullpen.
He opened his glove, somehow dodged an incoming teammate and caught the pop-fly with a nifty slide.
You should hear what he did at the plate.
Duplantis singled in his first three at-bats, drove in a run and scored three of his own – all by the third inning.
LSU rebounded from Tuesday’s ugly loss to McNeese State, rocking Grambling State on Wednesday night for 17 hits in a 14-11 win at Alex Box Stadium.
Duplantis, the Tigers’ freshman leadoff man, kick started this offensive outburst. He opened the game with a flare to left field to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He sent one through the left side in the second and smacked a liner to center in the third.
“That was good,” Duplantis said. “We had a little rough patch (Tuesday) hitting. To start it off, get it going in the first inning was really nice.”
Duplantis’ sliding catch came in the fourth inning and elicited the loudest roar from a sparsely filled Alex Box in this ho-hum affair.
Eight of the nine LSU starters recorded a hit by the fourth frame, and the Tigers led 6-0 by the second inning and 14-3 in the seventh against a team that committed six errors in the first four innings. Grambling (15-17) scored eight runs over the final two frames, taking advantage of two LSU errors in the ninth and forcing the Tigers to bring in Hunter Newman to close things out.
“We sort of lost our focus a little bit towards the end of the game,” said Trey Dawson, who got the starting nod at third base.
For the Tigers, it was a much-needed offensive display following Tuesday’s 7-0 loss to McNeese State. The Cowboys became the first Southland Conference team to pitch a shutout against LSU and held coach Paul Mainieri’s team to just two hits.
The Tigers (22-11) rid of that sour taste before a trip to Missouri this weekend, rolling up five hits in a four-run first inning against Grambling starter Jordan White (1-3). They added two in the second and three each in the third and fourth before Mainieri cleared much of his bench.
“Overall, it was a good game. We got to play a lot of players, got the bad taste out of our mouths a little bit from last night and got ourselves ready to go for a big SEC weekend this weekend,” Mainieri said.
Hunter Devall’s 2.2 innings was the longest stay of any LSU pitcher. He gave up a two-run homer but struck out four.
Mainieri called Austin Bain’s two-inning, six-strikeout outing the “highlight of the night.” At one point, Bain struck out five straight.
“I thought that was the best Bain’s looked in an awful long time,” the coach said. “His velocity was up. He was down in the zone. That was very encouraging.”
Said Bain: “It felt good, felt like the old me is back.”
Colin Strall gave up three runs in the eighth, and Brennan Breaux, normally an outfielder, gave up five runs - all unearned - in the ninth before Newman entered.
Mainieri shifted his lineup following the sluggish outing against the Cowboys. Dawson got the start at third base for Chris Reid, registering his first college hit with a fourth-inning line drive to left field.
“It’s a big relief,” Dawson said afterward.
Catcher Mike Papierski got the night off, and Jordan Romero drove in a pair of runs in his place. Jake Fraley, hitting in the 2-hole, picked up a season-high three RBIs, and Bryce Jordan had three hits.
The Tigers adjusted to the midweek pitching Wednesday - something they didn’t do in that loss to McNeese, Duplantis said.
“Although it’s a different type of pitching we’re facing compared to the velocity we were facing over the weekend, we’ve got to be able to make adjustments,” he said. “That’s what good hitters do. They find an approach and make adjustments when they’re at the plate.”
Freshman infielder O’Neal Lochridge did not participate in pre-game batting practice or take infield, as he did before the loss to McNeese State. Lochridge has been battling a stress fracture in his back suffered about three weeks ago. … Pitcher Alden Cartwright underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. He suffered the injury in a April 3 outing at Auburn.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.