Tigers bats come alive to take series from Tide
That was pretty good timing for LSU to unveil what head coach Paul Mainieri called “as solid an all-around game as we’ve played all year.”
The Tigers bats came alive for 16 hits to support another strong start from Ma’Khail Hilliard for a 13-5 victory over Alabama to take the key SEC series that could have postseason implications.
LSU (32-19, 11-16 SEC) and Alabama (29-19, 12-14) both went into the weekend listed among the “first five out” in D1 Baseball’s projections for making the NCAA tournament.
“Obviously a big win, a must-win and our guys responded after yesterday,” Mainieri said of bouncing back from Saturday’s 6-5 loss after beating the Tide 2-1 on Friday.
“They played their hearts out today,” Mainieri said. “The whole team. Everybody played so well —offensively, defensively, pitching-wise.”
The Tigers, who led 8-2 after three innings, hit four home runs, including the first two of the season for centerfielder Giovanni DiGiacomo.
“I have no idea where that came from,” said DiGiacomo, who had one career home run in two previous seasons.
DiGiacomo went 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
It was contagious as the Tigers also had three doubles while scoring in six of their eight innings, including 3-run outbursts in the second, third and seventh innings.
“We started hot (in the first two games),” DiGiacomo said. “This time we kept the mojo going the whole game.”
Cade Doughty’s 2-run homer in the first got it started and Drew Bianco, who Mainieri said “put on a clinic at second base,” also left the yard to lead off and spark the 3-run second .
Tre’ Morgan and Dylan Crews also had three hits, with Crews getting a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
Hilliard (5-0), struck out five of the first six batters he faced before giving up three runs on four hits over five innings. He finished with seven strikeouts.
“His fifth inning was his best inning and I tried to talk him into a sixth,” Mainieri said. “But he was really gassed. Fortunately he was honest with me.”
LSU’s bullpen has been a mixed bag this season but freshmen Garrett Edwards and Ty Floyd finished the game, each giving up a run over two innings but not letting the Tide put together a big frame to get back in the game. DiGiacomo hit a 3-run homer in the third after the Tide scored a pair of runs in the top of the inning and added a solo shot in the eighth.