LSU faced a daunting uphill challenge against Vanderbilt and Jack Leiter Friday night, but any hope of the Tigers submitting an upset bid was cut short.
LSU starting pitcher Jaden Hill had to be pulled in the second inning after suffering what appeared to be either a forearm or elbow injury. After being pulled from the the game the wheels promptly fell off and LSU lost the series with another blowout loss to Vanderbilt, 11-2.
“When I got to the mound, he said he felt something in his elbow,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “He wanted to try to throw another ball and when he released it, he felt some pain again. We didn’t want to chance it again. We’re going to get it examined again on Monday.”
Hill had to sit out for the majority of the 2019 season after suffering an arm injury as well.
“It’s heartbreaking to see something like that,” Mainieri said. “It’s hard to put into words what you feel.”
“I was really numb after that.”
LSU (17-10) did what other teams have failed to do against Jack Leiter, recording not only one but three hits off the future top five draft pick, but also scoring two runs off him including a home run from Cade Doughty.
Leiter finished with six innings pitched where he allowed two runs (one earned) off just three hits and three walks while striking out 12, including the first nine outs in the game.
“He’s fabulous, what can I say,” Mainieri said. “That kid should be pitching in the major leagues right now instead of Alex Box Stadium. Just tremendous, we couldn’t do much with him. We got some hits and scored some runs, but a five run deficit against him is a big deficit to overcome.”
LSU had a golden chance against Leiter in the first inning when they loaded the bases with one out after an error and two walks, but Cade Doughty and Cade Beloso both struck out to let their chance slip away.
But it wasn’t anywhere near enough as the Commodores pounced on Hill’s departure from the game for five runs in the second, two in the fifth, one in the sixth, and three in the seventh.
Blake Money deserves some credit for eating 4.2 innings once the game was out of hand, allowing three runs (all earned) off five hits with five strikeouts and one walk allowed.
It’s too early to consider any replacements for Hill, but Mainieri did state that he kept Money in for longer to see how well suited he would be for a starting role.
“I thought Blake Money came in and did a really nice job for us and kept us in the game,” Mainieri said.
LSU will wrap the Vanderbilt series Saturday ay 2:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast online on the SECN+.