Zack Hess didn’t have his best stuff as No. 15 LSU lost to No. 5 Vanderbilt 4-2 in Nashville on Friday.

Hess struggled to find command of his breaking ball early and steadily saw his pitch count rise, reaching 96 pitches by the time he departed after 3.1 innings pitched. Vanderbilt racked up damage on Hess with a couple of home runs, pushing two pitches over the left field wall. The sophomore right-hander finished with 3 strikeouts, allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.

Sophomore Todd Peterson had his strongest outing of 2018 in relief of Hess, throwing 4 shutout innings of relief, allowing 3 hits with 7 strikeouts. The outing stabilized LSU’s pitching, paving the way for the offense to make grounds against Vanderbilt’s bullpen.

But for as good as Peterson was, Vanderbilt relief pitcher Zach King was just as effective. Coming in for starter Drake Fellows to start the sixth inning, King threw 4 shutout innings of his own, stranding three LSU base runners to preserve the Vanderbilt lead.

LSU scored its two runs off Fellows in the first inning. Centerfielder Zach Watson led off the game with a triple and scored two batters later on an RBI single from Antoine Duplantis. Later in the inning, designated hitter Beau Jordan singled Austin Bain home to give the Tigers their early lead.

Box score

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What’s next for LSU baseball?

LSU baseball returns to action on Saturday night in Nashville. Action is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU. The game will be available to watch online through the stream on WatchESPN.