LEXINGTON, Ky. — Greg Deichmann fielded what looked like a one-out single in the ninth inning of LSU’s 4-3 win against Kentucky on Friday.
Deichmann had other ideas — namely the idea of throwing out T.J. Collett at first base.
The idea was in his head because of a conversation that happened 10 hours earlier.
This isn’t really a chicken-or-the-egg conversation: Deichmann never would’ve thought about making the play if it weren’t for catcher Michael Papierski planting the seed during batting practice.
Maybe it was the short porch in right field — it’s 310 feet down the line in Kentucky — that allows Deichmann to play a little closer to the infield dirt, or maybe it was just a well-timed hunch, but Papierski approached Deichmann and first baseman Nick Coomes about the idea.
“Pap goes, ‘You could probably throw someone out from right field today,’ ” Deichmann recalled. “I said, ‘Come on, dude; that doesn’t happen.’ Then (assistant coach Nolan Cain) said, ‘Dude, you better if you get the opportunity.’ ”
Even if he was a little hesitant about the idea, Deichmann and Coomes considered the possibility and put it in their mental back pocket.
“We started talking — if it’s hit hard enough, just go run toward first,” Coomes said.
The play in the ninth was actually the second time Friday that Coomes raced back toward first on a ball hit hard through the infield, thinking Deichmann had a chance at a play. It had solidified in their heads that it was possible.
When Collett, a pinch hitter, singled through the right side in the ninth — he would’ve represented the tying run — Deichmann sprinted to action.
He charged the ball hard as Collett jogged to first base. LSU coach Paul Mainieri noted Collett was dealing with a bum knee. Either way, there was time.
“He smokes one right at me, and I’m charging the hell out of it,” Deichmann said. “By the time I picked it up, I actually had a shot at it, so why not?”
Coomes was camped at first base and ready. Deichmann charged, scooped and fired.
“That’s where his infielder skill helped him out: He charged the ball, fielded it clean and made a strike,” Mainieri said.
Coomes caught the ball for the second out of the inning — a 9-3 putout — a blink before Collett was able to lunge for the bag.
“It was a perfect play,” Coomes said.
It was actually Deichmann’s second outfield assist of the day. In the first game of Friday's doubleheader, he threw a rocket to the plate to beat a runner. The Wildcats did not look willing to test his arm after that, though they didn’t have a choice with Collett in the ninth.
Deichmann has four outfield assists this season, which is two more than the rest of LSU's outfielders combined.
“He’s a stud, seriously,” said pitcher Zack Hess, the beneficiary of Deichmann’s ninth-inning defense. “He contributes so much to our team with both the bat and the glove; I don’t think people give him enough credit for how good of a fielder he is.
“I didn’t think that was going to be a play, but I saw Greg hose it. That was huge.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. — In its 17th inning of Friday baseball, LSU took its first lead.
LANGE/POCHÉ FLIP EXPLAINED
LSU planned to start Alex Lange in Friday's series opener but scrapped that plan late Thursday after Mainieri thought about it some more.
There were several factors that went into the decision, including weather, timing and the precarious mental state Cliff Hagan Stadium can put a pitcher in.
“I just thought under the lights, it was going to be cooler, I knew it was going to be hot (Friday) afternoon, and I thought he’d get drained quickly,” Mainieri said. “In this park, man, every pitch is like maximum effort because you’re just worried about making one mistake.
“I just thought Lange had a better chance of pitching deeper at night. He was already geared toward pitching on Friday night; scouts come in to see him pitch; all that stuff. All those things add up to it.”
Jared Poché started the first game, giving up five runs in three innings of the Tigers' 12-5 loss.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky lived up to its reputation in the first game of a Friday doublehea…
Zach Watson kept his hitting streak alive with a ninth-inning bunt single Friday night, extending it to 14 games. Watson has also reached base safely in all 26 games he has appeared in.
Deichmann (11 games) and Coomes (10 games) also extended their hitting streaks to season-best totals with hits in both games of Friday’s doubleheader.
LSU snapped a streak of seven consecutive games without an error when Josh Smith fired low to Coomes in the fourth inning of the nightcap. LSU went 66 innings between errors, its best streak since going 77 innings in 2012.