BATON ROUGE, La. — No. 2 LSU was on the ropes twice Thursday night against BYU’s baseball team, but escaped with a 6-5 victory.
Raph Rhymes’ walk-off, one-out single to deep left field snared the Tiger lead for the third time against BYU at Alex Box Stadium. The Cougars (2-3) were two outs away from the victory with reliever Matt Milke on the mound seeking his first save of the season. LSU improves to 5-0.
Jaycob Brugman had the big bat for BYU with an RBI-double in the eighth to reclaim the lead at 5-4. That left-field double with one out scored Hayden Nielsen who had two singles in the game.
Brugman also belted the first pitch to him from Aaron Nola in the third, delivering a three-run homer over the right-centerfield fence for a 4-1 lead. Jacob Hannemann scored BYU’s first run that inning off a single by Adam Law.
“I tweaked the lineup a bit, moving Brugman to the four-hole where he did a great job,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. "Give LSU credit, they stepped up when they needed to, but the way we were playing tonight we could have beaten anyone in the country.”
LSU jumped out to an initial 1-0 advantage from a lead-off homer by Mason Katz in the second inning.
The Tigers closed that margin to 4-3 from a pair of runs in the bottom of the third frame.
Cougar right-hander Desmond Poulson was replaced by submariner Derek Speigner, who started the sixth inning with a 4-3 lead. Poulson threw five complete innings, surrendering six hits, three walks and striking out a pair of Tigers.
Speigner and company came to Poulson’s defense in that sixth inning when Dakota Hernandez threw out JaCoby Jones trying to steal third. Poulson was removed as the pitcher of record when LSU tied the game at four-all in the seventh when the ball barely dropped fair on the left-field line for an RBI-double.
“We put pressure on them all night and came out aggressively,” Littlewood said. “I felt good with our mentality and was happy with our approach, but we need to find a way to finish games and do a better job putting the pressure on every single inning. We are taking baby steps to be where we want to be and are trying to find ourselves on the pitching side.”
The Cougars next play Southeastern Louisiana in a pair of games Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. CST before a rematch at LSU on Saturday evening at 6 p.m CST.
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.