LSU baseball: Tigers coach Paul Mainieri earns 1,300th career win
BATON ROUGE, La. – Head coach Paul Mainieri earned his 1,300th career win as sophomore right-hander Alex Lange limited third-ranked Vanderbilt to two runs in 6.1 innings pitched, and junior right-hander Hunter Newman struck out six, entering in relief as No. 15 LSU claimed the series over Vanderbilt with a 3-2 win Friday night in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Mainieri, who has a career mark of 1,300-662-7 in 34 seasons of collegiate coaching, became just the 16th coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 1,300-win plateau.
“Milestone wins lead me to think about all of the great players I’ve had the good fortune to coach,” Mainieri said. “I never hit a ball or threw a pitch in any of those 1,300 wins. It’s a credit to the young men who play the game, and I’m the beneficiary of their hard work.”
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the second, LSU came back to score three runs after Chris Reid ripped a two-out single to right field and moved to second on the fielding error by right fielder Jeren Kendall.
Catcher Michael Papierski reached on a walk to put runners on first and second, and second baseman Cole Freeman drilled a single to left field to score Reid. Right fielder Antoine Duplantis followed with a two-RBI single to right field to score Papierski and Freeman, giving LSU the 3-1 lead.
With the series win, LSU improved to 21-9 on the season and 6-5 in the SEC, while Vanderbilt fell to 24-7 and 6-5 in conference play.
Game 3 of the series against Vanderbilt is set for Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CT in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The game will be available online only via SEC Network+ and can be accessed at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.
Senior left-hander John Valek III will start on the mound for the Tigers, while Vanderbilt will counter with right-hander Hayden Stone.
The game will also be on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can also go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio through the GeauxZone.
“Alex Lange was terrific tonight against a team that leads the SEC in runs scored,” Mainieri said. “He gave up the early home run and threw 40 pitches in the first inning, but he was dominant from that point forward. Hunter Newman is just remarkable; he gave us another amazing performance. He’s developed into one of the best relief pitchers we’ve had in my 10 years at LSU. I have so much confidence in that young man, and he did a tremendous job tonight.”
Lange earned the win after only allowing two runs on three hits, walking three and striking out nine during his 6.1 innings of work Newman worked 2.2 scoreless innings, limiting the Commodores to two hits, striking out six of his 10 batters faced to collect his first save of the season.
Vanderbilt’s starter Kyle Wright suffered the loss after giving up three earned runs on seven hits. The sophomore right-hander struck out seven and walked three in seven innings pitched.
In the first at-bat of the game, Vanderbilt left fielder Ro Coleman laced his first home run of the season of the right field wall to take the 1-0 lead.
The Commodores added another run to make it 3-2 in favor of LSU after centerfielder Bryan Reynolds belted a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall to cut into the Tiger lead.