BATON ROUGE, La. - The No. 9 LSU baseball team split a doubleheader against California, dropping the first seven-inning game to the Bears, 5-2, before rebounding with a 5-4 win to capture the series Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
"We've played 15 games now, and I think we're moving in the right direction," coach Paul Mainieri said after Saturday's Game 2 victory. "We still have a lot of work to do and must continue to get better with the SEC schedule starting in less than a week. We haven't answered all the questions we need to address about our team, but I like the way our players compete and find ways to win."
Saturday's Game 1 Recap
In his first career weekend start, freshman Cole Henry delivered in a four-inning performance, but it was not enough as No. 9 LSU dropped game two of the series, 5-2, to Cal Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The Tigers dropped to 10-4 on the season, while Cal moved to 6-6 after the first seven-inning game of the doubleheader.
Henry worked four innings of scoreless baseball and only allowed two hits.
Cal freshman Grant Holman moved to 2-0 on the year after allowing two runs and five hits in six innings of work.
LSU catcher Brock Mathis broke the scoreless game open in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run to left field. The homer was Mathis' third of the season.
Cal erupted for five runs in the sixth off of LSU's Todd Peterson. The Bears tied the game with a single through the right side by catcher Korey Lee. With the bases loaded, second baseman Darren Baker singled to plate Andrew Vaughn. Cal then scored a run on an RBI ground out by shortstop Sam Wezniak and two-RBI single by center fielder Brandon Mcllwain.
Saturday's Game 2 Recap
Freshman first baseman Cade Beloso blasted two home runs and sophomore Devin Fontenot pitched phenomenally Saturday to lift the No. 9 LSU baseball team to a 5-4 win against California to capture the series Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the win, LSU improved to 11-4 on the year while Cal drops to 7-6.
LSU will travel to Natchitoches, Louisiana, to face Northwestern State Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT in Brown-Stroud Field. The game will be aired online only through ESPN+, which is accessible at WatchESPN.com and through the Watch ESPN app. The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Live audio is available online at LSUsports.net/live.
Fontenot (2-0) was brilliant on the mound for the Tigers firing four innings in relief on his way to earning the win. The right-hander blanked the Bears and allowed two hits, walked one and struck out three.
"I'm so proud of Devin Fontenot and the outing he gave us today," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "He's a young man with a tremendous amount of ability, and I think he has a very bright future at the next level. He was outstanding today against a very tough Cal lineup."
Eric Walker started the game for the Tigers and worked three innings. The right-hander allowed four runs on five hits, walked three and struck out one.
Jack Delmore (1-1) suffered the loss after giving up two runs on two hits and striking out one. Lucas Gather started the game for Cal and threw one inning. He walked one batter.
To lead off the bottom of the second inning, third baseman Chris Reid hit a solo home run to right field, his second career home run, which lifted LSU to the 1-0 lead.
With two outs in the top of the third inning and two on after designated hitter John Lagattuta walked and left fielder Cameron Eden singled up the middle, first baseman Andrew Vaughn ripped a RBI single to shortstop and moved to second on the throw home. After catcher Korey Lee was intentionally walked to load the bases, right fielder Max Flower drew a bases loaded walk to drive in Eden. In the next at-bat second baseman Darren Baker singled to left field to score Vaughn and put Cal up 4-1.
In the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs, Beloso blasted his first home run of the day over the right-center field wall to cut the Bears' lead to 4-2.
The Tigers cut the Bears' lead to one run in the bottom of the fifth inning when shortstop Josh Smith scored on center fielder Zach Watson's double down the left field line.
Reid led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single up the middle, and Beloso followed with his second home run of the day and fourth career bomb to propel the Tigers to the 5-4 win.
"Before Cade's second homer, I challenged him a little bit because, with the exception of his first homer, he was having a rough series at the plate. I yelled to him, 'Do you want to bunt, or do you want to hit?' He yelled back, 'I want to hit,' and I'm very glad he did."