BATON ROUGE,La. – Junior catcher Michael Papierski ripped a grand slam into left field to lift No. 6 LSU to a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning, but it was not enough as Tulane rebounded to defeat the Tigers, 7-6, Tuesday night at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Tulane southpaw Sam Bjorngjeld earned the win after entering in relief in the fourth inning. The junior fired two innings and allowed five runs on two hits, walked four and struck out one. Christian Colletti earned his second save of the year after pitching 2.1 innings and allowing one unearned run on one hit with one walk and one strikeout.
Russell Reynolds entered in the sixth inning and pitched 0.2 innings allowing two runs on three hits, walking one and striking out one. The senior right-hander was charged with the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season.
Freshman Zack Hess got the starting nod for the Tigers. The right-hander tossed five innings and allowed four runs on five hits, struck out seven and walked one.
“Baseball can be a very cruel game, and this was certainly a tough loss tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We had a lot of hard-hit balls right at their fielders, and I thought we might be able to make more advantage of the wind blowing out tonight, but other than Papierski’s grand slam, we didn’t hit the ball out of the park. You have to give credit to Tulane, they played well and did what they needed to do to win.”
The Tigers return to action against Texas A&M for a three game series, beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. p.m. CT. Thursday’s game will be broadcast on the SEC Network and also can be accessed online at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. They will also be broadcast live on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can also go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio.
Tulane struck first and took the 1-0 lead in the top of the third on second baseman Jake Willsey’s solo home run to left-centerfield.
In the top of the fourth with runners on the corners and one out, Tulane third baseman Kody Hoese reached on a fielder’s choice which scored designated hitter Jarret DeHart from third, who reached earlier on a walk.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fourth, designated hitter Beau Jordan singled to the shortstop and drove in centerfielder Antoine Duplantis to cut the Tiger deficit to 2-1. In the next at-bat LSU snatched the 5-2 lead on catcher Michael Papierski’s grand slam to left field.
After centerfielder Grant Witherspoon singled to right field with one out, Tulane’s left fielder Lex Kaplan drilled a two-run home run to left-centerfield to cut LSU’s lead to 5-4 in the top of the fifth.
In the top of the sixth inning with two outs and right fielder Tyler Heinrichs on first after a single, Willsey drove the ball out of the park for the second time in the evening. This time, it gave Tulane the 6-5 advantage.
Tulane added another run in the top of the ninth after first baseman Hunter Williams doubled in Witherspoon, who had singled through the left side earlier in the inning.
The Tigers fought back in the ninth inning, as LSU plated one run when rightfielder Greg Deichmann scored from first Tulane first baseman Hunter Williams misplayed LSU third baseman Josh Smith’s hard-hit ground ball.
Colletti, however, retired LSU first baseman Jake Slaughter on a fly ball to end the game.
LSU’s Austin Bain fired one inning out of the bullpen and struck out one. Matthew Beck fired 1.1 innings shutout innings, and Nick Bush tossed one inning and allowed one run on two hits and struck out one.
“We don’t have any time to feel sorry for ourselves; we’ve got to get back to work to play Texas A&M,” Mainieri said. “It was a tough loss tonight, but we’ve got to re-focus and get ready for an important SEC series.”