Hymel shows stronger side

A week to the day after he got rocked against LSU, Jordan Hymel wasted no time in putting the bad start behind him. The senior left-hander threw the fourth no-hitter in Lions history Sunday, in a 9-0 win over the Texas Southern Tigers. Following in line with the superstitions of baseball, Hymel’s teammates left the Lion’s ace all alone in the dugout.
“They would give me high-fives, and when I sat down, that was it. Nobody would come talk to me, touch my glove, touch my hat. Wherever I’d put it, it would stay there,” Hymel said in an interview on lionsports.net. “I actually thought about it a couple of times.”
Hymel started the game by striking out three of the first four batters he faced and never let up after that. While he finished the game with seven  strikeouts and six walks, junior first baseman Aaron Haag accounted for seven of the Lions’ nine runs, two of which came off of Haag’s first homerun as a Lion.
Friday and Saturday’s games proved more of a challenge to both teams though, as frigid temperatures not usually indicative of baseball season crept in and provided just another challenge for the weekend’s hurlers.
“Today’s weather was definitely tough on both pitchers,” head coach Jay Artigues said after Saturday’s 7-6 win. “But you got to give Tate Scioneaux a lot of credit. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled and kept us in the game. Our bullpen wasn’t very good early on with the first three guys out, but Dylan Hills slammed the door and did a great job of picking up the save.”
Scioneaux, one of multiple freshmen Artigues is giving ample time on the mound, went four innings and gave up three runs, two of which were earned. Juniors Jason Greenleaf and Matt Pittari failed to stop the bleeding, giving up three earned runs combined, before freshman Kyle Cedotal and newly-appointed closer Hills gave the Lions just enough time to stage a comeback. Hills, who spent last year in a setup role to Stefan Lopez, has notched three saves this year in three attempts.
“Everybody has so much confidence in him when he’s on the mound,” said Artigues. “You just play with a little chip on your shoulder when he’s out there, and we feel pretty good about it.”
Before Friday’s game, Artigues made a key change in the lineup, moving senior shortstop Ben Hernandez into the leadoff spot and dropping junior center fielder Corey Bryan, who has had a hard time reaching base this season, into the seven hole.
“We put Corey down in the lineup to take some pressure off of him,” Artigues said. “Ben’s a senior, and he can handle that. He’s done a great job in the leadoff spot, and Corey’s been pretty successful hitting where he’s at. I like hitting Corey in the seven hole.”
The Lions travel to Oxford, Miss. on March 5 for the second test in the SEC, this time against Ole Miss (11-1) for a two game series, ending on Wednesday.