Lions win two despite loss to LSU

Senior right-hander Jordan Hymel started Friday night off fairly strong, fanning LSU’s Chris Sciambra to start the inning, and forcing freshman Alex Bregman to fly out.
Then the rain came.
And so did a 13-1 drubbing, with Southeastern on the wrong end.
After a Saturday that saw the Lions beat the BYU Cougars, and the Cougars beat LSU, the two teams were ready to settle their unfinished business Sunday at Alex Box Stadium.  
With runners on first and third, Hymel came unglued. The second pitch of the new outing was sent more than 350 feet over the left field bleachers by two-time All-SEC selection Mason Katz, a theme that would manifest itself multiple times throughout the afternoon. After two singles and another run scored by LSU, Hymel’s day was over, almost as quickly as it began.
“Mason Katz is a good hitter,” said head coach Jay Artigues. “We got behind in the count, and that was more my fault than Jordan’s fault with the pitch calling. You got to tip your hat to LSU. They did a great job today.”
Artigues did not shy away from throwing several freshmen into the spotlight that only a stadium like Alex Box can offer, as lefties Brennan Catalano and Kyle Cedotal, along with righties Mason Klotz and John Gremillion all saw time on the mound – and all gave up at least one run in doing so. Klotz saw more mound time than anyone else, going 2.1 innings and giving up three earned runs. Overall, the freshman pitchers gave up 10 of LSU’s 19 hits and accounted for eight earned runs.
“I like those guys. They’re going to do well for us,” said Artigues. “They’re going to bounce back. They’ve been resilient all year. They’ve done a great job.”
The only run that Southeastern managed to push across home plate came off of a Ben Hernandez  single into right field. It was the senior shortstop’s second and final hit of the game.
Katz, along with teammate Raph Rhymes, went 7-9 with 11 RBI and four runs scored in the slugfest, while  senior right hander Ryan Eades pitched five shutout innings for the Tigers before giving up the run to Hernandez in the sixth.   Sophomore Tanner Rainey collected his first career hit as a Lion, after spending much of his freshman year acting in a relief role out of the bullpen. He replaced first baseman Aaron Haag, who has had his share of troubles making contact over the last few games, chiefly with a three strikeout performance on Friday against BYU.
Despite the ugly loss, the Lions topped BYU,  twice over the weekend,  something that the Tigers could not do.
Friday’s game saw the same “small ball” antics Artigues has become known for when he called for a suicide squeeze with first baseman Aaron Haag at the plate and freshman catcher Jameson Fisher on third late in the game. Junior Sean Kennel posted 7.1 innings of work, giving up just one run. However, due to an anemic Lions offense, junior reliever Dylan Hills was credited the win in the 4-1 victory. While Hills was the incumbent to replace Stefan Lopez in the closer’s role after Lopez left school early for the pros, Gremillion has recorded two saves to Hills’ one, while Hills has recorded 5.1 innings to Gremillion’s 2.2 innings of work.
Saturday’s contest went down to the wire, as BYU fought back in the ninth, but still fell short in a 3-2 loss. Freshman Tate Scioneaux posted his second win in as many starts, going 7 and 2/3 strong innings with seven strikouts and just two walks.
After the smoke cleared, Artigues held his head higher than he did last year, even after suffering a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Tigers.
“I like this club. We got a lot of good, young players,” Artigues said. “They’re going to battle. They’re going to be resilient. Playing at LSU can’t do anything but help us with that experience.”
The Lions have held true to their coach’s philosophy, and have a 5-2 record to show for it, despite the loss to LSU. The Lions greet Texas Southern at Alumni Field on Mar. 1, before heading back to SEC play when they head to Oxford, Miss. to play a two game series against Ole Miss, who are 7-0 on the young season.