Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
Maryland’s bats pestered but ultimately could not overcome the pitching prowess of No. 5 LSU’s Alex Lange, who struck out 12 in six innings in a 6-1 Tigers victory.
The Terrapins put runners on base in every inning against Lange, but an RBI double by shortstop Kevin Smith was all they could muster.
Lange stranded Smith at second and Madison Nickens at third in the fourth inning, fanning Dan Maynard and Andy Lee on free-falling curveballs. The former first-team All-American allowed five hits and walked two to earn the victory.
The Tigers took an aggressive approach against Terrapins starter Brian Shaffer, who pounded the zone and began 26-of-31 at-bats with strikes. Swinging early and often, LSU put together three runs in the third.
Outfielder Antoine Duplantis lashed a first-pitch RBI triple to deep center over the head of Zach Jancarski. Shortstop Kramer Robertson drove Duplantis in on the next pitch and first baseman Jake Slaughter polished off the frame with a sacrifice fly.
LSU struggled to collect hits off Shaffer aside from the third inning. Shaffer lasted 6.2 innings and gave up six hits, with four coming in the Tigers’ big frame. Five of LSU’s seven innings in which they faced the right-hander were hitless, with Shaffer striking out six.
With Shaffer finally out of the way, LSU swiftly padded their lead in the eighth. Catcher Michael Papierski bashed a three-run homer off lefty Taylor Stiles with nobody out, extending the Tigers lead to 6-1.
Smith had an opportunity to bring Maryland back into the game the half-inning before, with runners on first and second. With two outs, LSU manager Paul Mainieri brought in closer Hunter Newman, who coaxed a harmless fly ball out of Smith to preserve the lead.
A healthy five runs between themselves and the Terrapins, the Tigers saw no need to send Newman back to the mound. Right-hander Austin Bain finished the game with a scoreless frame.
Though the Terrapins reached base in every inning, first baseman Brandon Gum was the lone man to score for Maryland. Two Terps took free passes in the ninth, but right fielder Marty Costes ended the game starting at a fastball on the inside corner.
Maryland fell to 1-3 and will send Taylor Bloom to the hill Saturday to face Jared Poche’. Poche’ tossed a no-hitter in his first start of the series, a complete game, seven-inning victory over Army. Bloom was plagued by shaky defense in a loss to Louisville, giving up six runs despite only three being earned.