LSU freshman Alex Lange shuts out Baylor at Houston College Classic
HOUSTON -- Freshman right-hander Alex Lange fired seven shutout innings Saturday to lead fourth-ranked LSU to a 2-0 win against Baylor in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
LSU won its 11th consecutive game to improve to 14-1 this season, while Baylor dropped to 6-7. The 11-game win streak is LSU’s longest since the 2013 Tigers won 15 in a row from late March through mid-April.
Lange (4-0), a product of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, scattered seven singles over seven shutout innings with two walks and four strikeouts while firing 102 pitches.
“Alex Lange was just magnificent today and he demonstrated why we have so much confidence in him,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “He has such tremendous poise to go along with a powerful arm, and you can see the greatness in him already. I was happy to see him pitch in a very close ball game, which is going to help him continue to grow and develop.”
Baylor starter Daniel Castano (0-2) turned in an excellent outing for Baylor, allowing just one run on eight hits in eight innings with three walks and two strikeouts.
The game was scoreless through seven innings as Lange and Castano were locked in a pitcher’s duel. LSU had early opportunities against Castano, but the Tigers had baserunners thrown out at the plate in the second and third innings.
The Tigers finally pushed across a run in the eighth as rightfielder Mark Laird led off with a double and moved to third on shortstop Alex Bregman’s single. Designated hitter Chris Chinea grounded out to third, sending Bregman to second base before third baseman Conner Hale’s sacrifice fly scored Laird and gave LSU a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers added a run in top of the ninth against Baylor reliever Nick Lewis as centerfielder Andrew Stevenson tripled and scored on second baseman Kramer Robertson’s RBI single.
LSU reliever Zac Person pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts, but Baylor mounted a threat in the ninth against Tigers closer Jesse Stallings.
Pinch hitter West Tunnell walked to lead off the ninth and he stole second base, but he was erased at third base when leftfielder Kameron Esthay grounded to Bregman at short. Esthay advanced to second on third baseman Jonathan Ducoff’s single, before pinch hitter Mitch Price’s flyout allowed Esthay to move to third.
Stallings fired a wild pitch, allowing Ducoff to go to second before centerfielder Logan Brown walked to load the bases. Stallings, however, struck out designated hitter Darryn Sheppard looking to end the game. Stallings picked up his seventh save of the season in seven save opportunities.
“Baylor really tested Jesse, but that’s the life of a closer,” Mainieri said. “He’s had a lot of 1-2-3 innings this year, but he had to overcome some obstacles today. In the end, he made a great pitch that he needed to make, and that finished the game for us.”