Needing a win to guarantee us the SEC regular season championship (by tie-breaker with Ole Miss, who technically is co-champion), LSU exploded for 15 runs, including a 5-run second inning, from which Mississippi State never recovered. The offensive star of the game was little-used Leon Landry, who burst out of the doghouse with three home runs and two singles.
Austin Ross pitched a good two innings, but then when there was a 2-hour rain delay during LSU's half of the 3rd, Paul Mainieri decided not to bring Ross out with a cold arm. Nolan Cain then pitched a nice, conservative three innings where he threw strikes and allowed the Mississippi State hitteCreate Story: SB Nation: And The Valley Shookrs to hit their way into outs. He gave up a good number of base hits, but he kept the ball in the yard, which given LSU's big lead, was fine strategy.
LSU put the game away with a 3-run 5th inning, including a 2-run Leon Landry home run.
MSU came back with 2 runs in its half of the 5th, but it was clear that the rout was on.
Nolan Cain gave way to Daniel Bradshaw, and at this point we were just guarding against big innings. Bradshaw didn't allow a baserunner in 3 innings, and it really is starting to appear that the LSU bullpen is peaking.
Meanwhile, LSU added 5 more in the top of the 8th just for good measure, as LSU would go on to pound out 23 hits on the day including 4 homers (Landry x3, Dean), a triple (Mitchell) and 2 doubles (Schimpf, Dean). Landry had 5 hits and Schimpf had 4. When your #1 and #2 men in the batting order combine for 9 hits in the game, you are going to score runs.
Buzzy Haydel made another appearance in relief to close out the game, as Mississippi State really never put up a fight in this one. As of this writing, it was still not decided if LSU would face Vandy or Kentucky in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. I've done a little checking up on Vandy, and they are a team that could definitely beat us. They have a very good left-handed starting pitcher and some good hitters. Kentucky also has a nice left-handed starter, but Vandy's has been just a bit better statistically. Either way, we cannot presume that our first round game will be an easy one.
Either way, the tournament starts at 5:00pm on Wednesday for us. More on it later.