Conner Hale’s hitting approach pays off

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNONLSU's Conner Hale bunts against Tulane last month. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNONLSU's Conner Hale bunts against Tulane last month.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas —Conner Hale claims that his key at the plate in the series at Texas A&M was “not to do too much.”

He should relax more often.

Hale hammered a solo home run halfway up the 50-plus foot scoreboard beyond Blue Bell Park’s left-center field wall Sunday. The ball soared over the 375-foot sign and banged off the brick trim on the scoreboard.

LSU (35-13-10-1 Southeastern Conference) lost the game and the series in a 4-3 defeat Sunday, but Hale continued his hot streak at the plate, a good sign as the postseason approaches.

Hale finished the series 5-for-12 and drove in four runs in the three games. Hale has had at least one hit in nine of the last 11 games, and he’s had five multiple-hit games since that run started in a win over Southern Miss on April 15.

Hale went 2-for-4 and scored two of LSU’s three runs Sunday.

“I was just going up there with a good approach, trying to relax and drive the ball up the middle and not do too much,” Hale said of his homer.

The fifth-inning homer gave LSU a 2-1 lead. It was his third home run of the season. All three have come in the past two weeks.

Cartwright starts again

Talk about rookie pressure.

For a third straight week, LSU freshman and Runnels grad Alden Cartwright started a third rubber match in a Southeastern Conference series.

On Sunday at Texas A&M, Cartwright threw four innings of three-hit ball, but felt somewhat disappointed afterward.

“I don’t think I pitched that well,” he said. “Allowed three of four leadoff hitters get on. That was a key point today, getting the leadoff man out. I pitched big in big situations, but I feel like I could have done a lot more.”

Texas A&M’s leadoff man reached base in six of eight innings Sunday. The Aggies did it in six of nine innings Saturday.

Cartwright, though, worked out of a key jam in the third.

Texas A&M had runners on the corners with no outs before Cartwright got a strikeout and Kade Scivicque threw out Cole Lankford at third on a failed squeeze play. A fly out ended the inning and kept the game tied.

So close

LSU stranded two runners on third base Sunday. Both nearly scored as the speedy Mark Laird almost beat out throws on short choppers.

With two outs, Laird came up in the third and seventh inning with Tyler Moore and Christian Ibarra at third base, respectively.

He hit a pair of choppers to first baseman Cole Lankford. Lankford flipped both grounders to the pitcher just in time.

Coach Paul Mainieri went out to argue the seventh-inning play.

Lagniappe

LSU players will have the early part of this week off. It’s finals week. It’ll be a good time to rest for a group of LSU pitchers. The Tigers used all but one available arm over the weekend. “It’s good for our pitching staff. I think they’re going to get a little break for their arms,” shortstop Alex Bregman said. “Think they’re going to take a few days off of throwing.” … Scivicque’s struggles at the plate continued on Sunday. He went 1-for-7 in two games at A&M and is now two for his last 29.