Freshman Alden Cartwright raced into the LSU dugout, took off his cap and disappeared.
He wanted an escape, surely, from one of the roughest starts imaginable.
Cartwright threw just 11 pitches — two for strikes — in his rocky starting stint in LSU’s game Monday against Houston in the Baton Rouge regional championship game.
The former Runnels standout hit his first batter on a 1-2 count and walked the next two, loading the bases without recording an out.
Coach Paul Mainieri pulled Cartwright after the third batter, replacing him with another freshman, Parker Bugg.
Cartwright ran into the dugout, head down, and disappeared. He was spotted moments later pacing in the dugout, his hat pulled low.
After Sunday night’s 5-4 loss to Houston forced a deciding game, Cartwright, referring to Monday’s game, said, “I can promise you we’re going to win that game.”
Cartwright’s counterpart had a short stay, too. Houston starter Andrew Lantrip went 2.2 innings, allowed four hits and two runs. He walked two.
Cartwright’s appearance was the worst of his 21 this season.
Cartwright started in LSU’s win over Florida in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game. He walked four in the game, but got out of some messy jams, allowing just one run in four innings.
He couldn’t shake the rough start in this one.
Pitching coach Alan Dunn visited the mound after his four-pitch walk of the second batter. Cartwright then walked Casey Grayson on four pitches before Mainieri came with the hook.
A forgettable frame
Houston put up a seven spot.
The Cougars scored seven runs in the third inning, the most in one frame that LSU has allowed this season. Houston had five hits and batted 12 in the inning, and the Tigers used three pitchers in what was a 30-minute half-inning.
Bugg, Brady Domangue and Nate Fury all pitched.
LSU carried an impressive record at home in NCAA regionals into Monday night’s Baton Rouge regional championship.
The Tigers have hosted 21 regionals, losing just three of those (1992, 1995, 2005). They’re 19-3 in elimination games in home regionals. LSU has never lost a home regional after winning the first two games.
-- Saints quarterback Drew Brees was at Monday night’s game. He was spotted sitting in the balconies in front of one of the Alex Box suites.
-- Alex Bregman’s first-inning single extended his hitting streak to five games. He’s batting over .400 in LSU’s past 12 games.
-- Jake Fraley pushed his hitting streak to six games in the first inning.