The No. 6 Tigers squeaked out a 5-3 victory against Nicholls State on Tuesday at Alex Box Stadium. LSU was coming off a stretch of five wins in five days, and have Vanderbilt waiting right around the corner, so Paul Mainieri wasn't surprised his team came out a little flat.
LSU totaled just five hits but got enough production to pull out the victory. Brady Domangue earned the win with five innings of two-run baseball, and the bullpen turned in another mostly solid outing.
But Mainieri stopped short of calling it an inspired performance.
"The best thing we can say about tonight is it's over and we got it in the win column," Mainieri said. "We had a couple big at-bats, but not a lot of great offense…I'm just glad we got through it."
LSU fell behind early as Nicholls scored a run in the first half-inning. Domangue allowed a leadoff single, and the Colonels moved the runner to second with a sacrifice bunt. Nicholls 3B Tyler Duplantis drove him home with a single up the middle.
Domangue surrendered one more run in the third. Nicholls CF Darius Knight got it started with a leadoff single, and 2B Philip Lyons popped up a bunt that fell between the mound and second base. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position and Duplantis recorded his second RBI with a shot off Domangue's ankle.
Domangue limited the damage though and only allowed two base runners in his two remaining innings of work.
"He gave up a few hard-hit balls, and he did OK," Mainieri said. "I think he can pitch better than that. He pitched good enough to give us five innings, and he left us with a chance to win."
LSU answered back after Nicholls took that 1-0 lead. The Tigers tied it up in the bottom of the first with a sacrifice fly by Conner Hale.
LSU then took the lead with a two-run third inning.
Kramer Robertson got it started with a leadoff single, and Andrew Stevenson bunted him into scoring position. Jared Foster snapped an 0-for-12 slump with a double down the right field line.
Danny Zardon added one more with a RBI-groundout.
"I finally got in there and got one to fall through," Foster said. "It felt good to finally get that out of the way. I just kept chugging along and fought through it. You can't give up."
After that Foster double though, the LSU bats went silent. Nicholls retired 11 straight at one point, and the Tigers didn't record another hit until the seventh inning, a streak of 18 consecutive batters.
"We had an awful lot of popups tonight," Mainieri said. "But at the end of the day, we scratched a few across and scored more than they did, so it turned out to be a good night."
Sean McMullen would snap the team slump with a RBI-single that scored Stevenson from second. The Tigers added one more in the inning on a base hit by Alex Bregman.
That was already enough cushion as the bullpen kept Nicholls in check. Domangue exited after the fifth inning, and Zac Person and Kurt McCune each worked perfect frames in the sixth and seventh.
Parker Bugg ran into a bit of trouble in the eighth, surrendering a run on three hits. But Joe Broussard closed it out with a perfect ninth to earn his third save of the season.
The Tigers return to action Wednesday night against Southern. Jared Poche will start and pitch two innings in preparation for his Sunday start against Vanderbilt. Mainieri said several reserves should land in the starting lineup for Wednesday's contest.
"We're going to play a few different guys tomorrow night, and hopefully that will inject some energy into the game," Mainieri said.