LSU sweeps Washington behind some steady production from the bats over the weekend
LSU did not do much worrying over the weekend. LSU essentially cruised in all three games against Washington. The Tigers jumped out to early leads and answered any rally by Washington with one of their own. LSU was in control in all three games.
Aaron Nola set the tone for the weekend by pitching six perfect innings on Friday night to start things off. Once Nola's bid for perfection got busted up in the seventh, the floodgates opened. One hit turned into two...and before you know it, Nola had surrendered five hits and four earned runs before the bullpen took over. It's a shame that such a great outing got blemished with an inning like that, but Nola was sure fun to watch on Friday night.
Ryan Eades had a similar outing on Saturday. He allowed zero runs except in the fourth inning where he gave up four. He also walked three through 6.2 innings pitched. The story on Saturday; however, was Mason Katz who hit two home runs in his first two plate appearances helping LSU get out to a 5-0 lead. After closing the gap to 5-4, LSU responded by scoring the games final three runs.
Cody Glenn was not as sharp on Sunday as he has been during his last few outings. Washington manged two hits off Glenn in the first, second, and third innings each. Glenn then settled in and gave up zero hits over the next two innings before leaving the game in the sixth inning. Mason Katz and Ty Ross both homered and Mark Laird had four hits to lead the way at the plate.
Alex Bregman was ridiculous this weekend, going 7 for 12 with three doubles and a triple. He also added a stolen base. His average is all the way up to .391 and he leads the team with 25 hits. He's got a very healthy slugging percentage (.578) and on base percentage (.467) and is a perfect 5 for 5 on stolen base attempts. He did make his first two errors of the season this weekend but he sure looks as good as advertised thus far.
Mark Laird, LSU's other star freshman, also had seven hits on the weekend including four on Sunday. He's now leading the team with a .411 batting average and a .484 on base percentage. The two freshmen are tied for the team lead in runs scored.
Jacoby Jones continues to struggle swinging the bat. He managed a hit on Saturday, his only hit in his last 16 at bats, going all the way back to the Saturday contest against Brown last weekend. Despite having just 10 hits on the season, Jones is getting on base. He leads the team with 16 walks and has a solid .424 on base percentage. A year ago, Jones had 15 walks for the entire season so it's obvious that his approach at the plate is much improved. For two weeks now, it seems that Jones has been hitting a lot balls very hard. But they're going juuussstt foul or he's lining them right to someone. If Jones can keep his head up and continue having some patience at the plate, those balls will eventually start falling in for hits, and he'll go back to being a real asset in the lineup.
The bullpen was solid for the most part this weekend. Chris Cotton earned two saves and Joey Bourgeois pitched two perfect innings. Nick Rumbelow looked quite good on Friday night but struggled in his outing on Sunday.
Mark Laird appears to have taken over for Chris Sciambra as the every day center fielder. Sciambra played in right on both Friday and Saturday with Laird in center. For much of the season, that had been reversed. It looks like the smart play. Laird is a natural out there and can cover a bit more ground than Sciambra. Laird once again made several outstanding plays on defense this weekend.
Andrew Stevenson got a start on Sunday to try and show he deserves to be in the everyday lineup but he unfortunately went 0 for 4 at the plate. I really like Stevenson and think he has a big future at LSU, and it could be this year.
LSU's weekend starters (Nola, Eades, Glenn) have given up just six extra base hits combined all season. That's really good.
LSU will face Nicholls on Wednesday before heading to Starkville to kick off SEC play.