BATON ROUGE — Landon Marceaux is done pretending to be something that he’s not.
The LSU right-handed freshman pitcher began the season penciled in as the rotation’s Saturday starter. The former Destrehan High star though struggled with inconsistency and arm soreness. Marceaux entered Friday night’s contest against Auburn at Alex Box Stadium with an ERA of 6.56 and his longest outing of the season being only five and two thirds.
That all changed on Friday.
“I am not trying to be somebody I am not anymore,” Marceaux said afterwards. “The first half this year I was trying to be a big strikeout guy and impress people you know? Maybe a little selfish maybe if that’s what you want to call it. I am just trying to pitch to contact and go deep into ball games.”
Marceaux had his best, and longest performance of the season, as he gave up only one run on two hits while striking out seven in seven innings of work. With Marceaux’s dominant performance on the mound, LSU easily picked up its fourth-straight victory with the 5-1 win.
“Obviously the key to the game tonight and the most thrilling thing maybe in a long time was the effort of Landon Marceaux,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “To see a young kid under these conditions tonight with a lot of pressure on him — he went out and absolutely dominated and it was phenomenal.”
“I was trying to command the zone and get deep into the ball game,” Marceaux said. “You know we’re down a couple of starters and we need to go deep in the bullpen tomorrow.”
With Marceaux dealing, LSU (34-21, 17-12 SEC) would break through at the plate in the fourth inning as the Tigers plated four runs.
Former Lafayette High star Antoine Duplantis led off the frame with a single to left field, and then was joined on the base paths by Daniel Cabrera who drew a walk. Two batters later, Hal Hughes loaded the bases with a single which brought Cade Beloso to the plate.
The Tigers designated hitter was hit by a pitch on his elbow which brought Duplantis home.
Cabrera then scored on a wild pitch, Hughes scored on an infield single by Saul Garza, then a single to left by Josh Smith pushed Beloso across home plate.
Auburn’s Jack Owens (4-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on eight hits in seven innings of work.
“That guy was throwing us a mix of things,” said Beloso who went 2-for-3 with two RBI. “We did a good job of staying confident and sticking to our approach — hammering some good pitches we saw and take advantage of the opportunities we saw. I think we did a good job of that.”
Auburn (31-23, 13-16 SEC) got its lone run in the fifth when Holland lifted a pitch by Marceaux over the center field wall. That proved be Marceaux lone mistake of the night.
LSU tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fifth but the insurance run wasn’t needed as Marceaux didn’t give up another hit, before Zack Hess took the mound in the eighth for the six-out save.
LSU will wrap up its regular season on Saturday with game three of the series against Auburn. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
After having losing four straight games, the Tigers have responded with four straight wins as the team gears up for the SEC Tournament next week in Hoover, Alabama.
“It gives us a lot of confidence,” Marceaux said. “Just going out and doing that against a SEC team — it is a big confidence booster.”