Vanderbilt sweeps LSU baseball for series win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — LSU’s relief pitching and hitters didn’t look so bad during the first month of the season.

Vanderbilt made sure that changed.

The Commodores swept a doubleheader Saturday to win the three-game Southeastern Conference series, exposing the Tigers’ relievers and stifling their hitters in 5-3 and 9-3 wins at Hawkins Field.

LSU (17-4, 1-2) had just nine hits in Saturday’s pair of games, and Vanderbilt (18-3, 2-1) scored seven runs off relievers to shake off a series-opening loss Friday.

“Obviously,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said, “a long, tough day for us.”

LSU starting pitchers Jared Poché and Kyle Bouman, both making their SEC debuts, allowed nine hits and seven runs and walked seven while striking out just four.

The starting pitching’s struggles, though, paled in comparison to the hitting and a collapse by the bullpen in Game 2.

The teams played a twin bill Saturday because of the high likelihood of rain Sunday. The day started at 2:15 p.m. and didn’t end until 8:36 — six hours LSU would like to forget, especially the rubber match.

An opponent scored nine runs or more for just the third time in the past 144 games, a span dating to early in the 2012 season.

In the late game, LSU trailed 4-2 entering the sixth. It was a nightmarish inning for a pair of LSU relievers. Vanderbilt batted 11 in the inning and scored four runs.

Kurt McCune and Cody Glenn combined to allow four hits, walk two and hit one. McCune walked the leadoff batter in the sixth and later allowed four straight hits.

Three runs scored before Glenn replaced him. Glenn hit his first batter on a full count to load the bases. He walked the second on four pitches to score a run.

“Cody — once again, when he elevates the ball, he gets in trouble,” Mainieri said. “We can pitch a lot better than we did today, certainly. We’ll need to. We have to find somebody who can win a game besides Aaron Nola on the weekend — that’s for sure.”

Mainieri pulled Poché after facing the first batter in the fifth. The Commodores got five hits off the freshman from Lutcher. He walked five batters, one intentionally, struck out three and allowed five hits.

LSU had a chance in the sixth to cut its deficit from two to one run. Conner Hale led off the inning with a single and then moved to second on a passed ball. A fly out advanced him to third with one out.

He never moved. Christian Ibarra struck out, and Andrew Stevenson grounded out to the pitcher.

It was a common theme during the three-game series.

Outside of Sean McMullen, LSU had zero extra-base hits over the three-game series against a pitching staff Mainieri calls the best in the nation.

“They ran a pitching staff out there that some major league teams would like to have, quite frankly,” he said.

LSU had just five hits in the game after having four in the first game of the doubleheader.

In Game 1 Saturday, Vanderbilt welcomed Bouman into the SEC rather rudely.

The Commodores knocked around LSU’s starter in a three-run first inning, and the Tigers bats were muted against Vandy starter Jared Miller. The Dores got two runs and four hits off relievers Nate Fury and Henri Faucheux.

“We ran into some really good pitching,” said Stevenson, who had a 17-game hitting streak snapped in Saturday’s nightcap. “Kept us off-balance. We weren’t used to seeing that. We’ll come out and get them next time.”