Freshmen pitchers stepping up for LSU
LSU got two impressive debuts by new starting pitchers over the weekend, but only one of them could be the SEC freshman of the week.
Jaden Hill, who said there were more people in the stands for his first college start at Alex Box Stadium than live in his hometown of Ashdown, Ark., picked up the honor after allowing just one run on four hits as the No. 1-ranked Tigers completed the opening weekend 3-0 with wins against three different teams.
LSU needed a comeback to beat UL-Monroe 12-7 on Friday and a walk-off to shock Army 6-5 on Saturday before backing up Hill with 20 hits in a 17-5 rout of Air Force on Sunday.
LSU will pitch another freshman today when it hosts Southeastern Louisiana with Cole Henry on the mound.
Game time for today was moved up to 4 p.m. due the threat of nasty weather later tonight.
The Tigers will travel to Natchitoches on Wednesday to face Northwestern State with Eric Walker on the mound,
Walker, who emerged as one of the Tigers top starters two years ago, missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief in Friday night’s win over UL-M. Henry also threw a scoreless inning in that game.
Hill, a 6-foot-4 former high school quarterback, struck out eight with only one walk in his first five innings of college ball. He struck out the first three faced in the top of the first and LSU batted around in the bottom of the inning while staking him to a 7-0 lead the was 10-0 after three innings. He threw 44 of his 71 pitches for strikes.
Another freshman, Landon Marceaux, didn’t get the decision in Saturday’s win over Army — the Tigers were down 5-3 in the ninth before freshman first baseman Cade Beloso’s 3-run walk-off homer — but was equally impressive.
He allowed just one run on two hits in 5.2 innings with five strike outs and one walk.
The only starting pitcher who struggled was projected ace Zack Hess, who gave up five runs on six hits in 3.2 innings of Friday’s game before the Tigers rallied back to beat ULM.
Veterans Antoine Duplantis and Daniel Cabrera keyed the comeback with a pair of home runs each, including Duplantis’ grand slam in the bottom of the eighth that put it away.
The two combined to go 5-for-9 with 11 RBIs.
For the weekend, however, shortstop Josh Smith, who missed virtually all of last season with a back injury, had the hottest bat from the leadoff spot, going 8-for-12 (.667) with two doubles and six runs scored.
For the weekend, LSU hit .349 with six home runs while scoring 35 runs.
SE Louisiana at LSU, 4 p.m.
Jaden Hill, LSU freshman pitcher, has been named SEC Freshman of the Week.