BATON ROUGE – Sophomore left fielder Antoine Duplantis drove in seven runs on a single-game school record six hits to lead No. 6 LSU past Georgia, 22-9, to open up Southeastern Conference play Friday night at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU is 14-5 overall and 1-0 in the SEC, while Georgia is 8-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
Duplantis was 6-for-6 on the night to set the LSU single-game record for hits and he drove in seven runs. Senior shortstop Kramer Robertson was 5-for-5 in the game, which included a school record-tying three doubles.
Right-hander Austin Bain entered in relief for LSU in the fifth inning and fired 2.2 innings. The junior earned the win to improve to 1-0 on the season, after allowing one run on four hits, walking two and striking out three.
Alex Lange started the game for the Tigers and threw 4.1 innings and surrendered eight runs—seven earned—on eight hits, walking four and striking out seven.
The loss was charged to left-hander Andrew Gist (0-1). He pitched 1.1 innings and allowed six runs on five hits, walked three and struck out one.
The Tigers open continue opening weekend of conference play with their second game against Georgia Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT. The games will be available online only via SEC Network+ and can be accessed at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. They will also be broadcast live 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge only. Fans can also go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio.
“We faced an early 4-0 deficit, but I was so proud of the way our guys fought back and got us back in the game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Georgia was tough, they had some great at-bats against Alex through the first five innings, but we were always able to answer them every time they scored. In fact, we scored in every inning but one, so I was just so proud that the guys maintained their focus and competed throughout a long game. You get 22 hits and score 22 runs, and you don’t commit an error, I’d say you’ve played pretty good baseball.”
To lead off the game, Georgia centerfielder Tucker Maxwell drew a walk that was followed by shortstop Cam Shepherd’s ringing RBI double into centerfield. With runners on the corners and two outs, right fielder Will Campbell blasted a home run to left field to give the Bulldogs the 4-0 advantage.
The Tigers answered back in the first inning as Robertson doubled to centerfield and moved to third on the sacrifice bunt by second baseman Cole Freeman. Duplantis drilled an infield single straight to the pitcher to score Robertson. With the bases loaded and two outs, third baseman Josh Smith drew a bases loaded walk to score Duplantis and cut the Tiger deficit in half to make it 4-2 Georgia.
LSU tacked on four runs in the bottom of the second to take the 6-4 lead. Catcher Michael Papierski led off the inning with a single to shortstop, and Robertson followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. With the count at 1-2, Freeman sent a RBI double to the left field corner. Duplantis followed with his second infield single of the night with a hit to first base to score Robertson from third.
After right fielder Greg Deichmann drove in Freeman with a deep sacrifice fly to left field, the Bulldogs went to the bullpen for freshman right-hander Zac Krisofak. With two outs, Duplantis stole second and scored on centerfielder Zach Watson’s double to left center.
In the top of the third, Shepard singled to lead off the inning and stole second. The shortstop stole second and scored after consecutive passed balls to cut into LSU’s 6-5 lead.
The Tigers added two runs in the third to extend their lea to 8-5. With one out and Papierski on first, Robertson doubled to right-center to put runners in scoring position for Freeman. The second baseman grounded out to shortstop to score Papierski. Duplantis followed with his third hit and third RBI of the evening with a single up the middle to score Robertson from second.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth and Smith on second after being hit by a pitch and advancing on a sacrifice bunt, Robertson singled through the right side to plate Smith and give LSU the 9-5 lead.
Georgia plated three runs in the top of the fifth to narrow LSU’s lead to one run. After a leadoff single and a walk put runners on first and second for the Bulldogs, designated hitter Michael Curry doubled to right center to drive in Shepherd and left fielder Keegan McGovern. With one out, Campell singled to left-center to score Curry and cut the Tiger lead to 9-8.
The Tigers put up four runs in the fifth inning With Duplantis on first, Deichmann doubled to left center to score the left fielder. After Slaughter walked to put runners on first and second with one out, Watson roped his second double of the night to left field, scoring Deichmann. Smith followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Slaughter, and designated hitter Beau Jordan drove in Watson from second with a single to right field to give LSU the 13-8 lead.
LSU added seven runs in the sixth to extend its lead to 20-8 against Georgia. Robertson recorded his third double of the night, tying the single game LSU record, to lead off the inning. After moving to third on the sacrifice bunt by Freeman, Duplantis singled through the right side to score Robertson. A Deichmann single put runners on fist and second for first baseman Jake Slaughter, who drove in Duplantis with a single through the left side. Watson loaded the bases with a base hit, and Smith drove in a run after being hit by a pitch.
Jordan was credited with a RBI after reaching safely on a fielding error by the third baseman, which scored Slaughter and Watson. With runners on first and second and one out, Papierski singled to centerfield, scoring Smith, and the Tigers loaded the bases again in the inning after Robertson took a walk. Duplantis tied the school record with five hits in a game with his single to right field that scored Jordan to give LSU the 20-8 lead.
In the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs plated a run after a single and a walk put runners on first and second for second baseman Will Proctor who doubled to right-center to shorten the Tigers’ lead to 20-9.
LSU added two runs in the seventh inning on Duplantis’ sixth hit of the night, a double down the right field line, which plated Robertson and pinch hitter Rankin Woley.
“Antoine had a tremendous night with six hits, and he just came through in the clutch for us,” Mainieri said. “He answered the bell for us and delivered some big hits to drive in runs. Antoine’s night just epitomized a great team effort by a lot of guys.”
Matthew Beck and Will Reese pitched the last two innings for LSU and blanked the Bulldogs, striking out one.