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LSU takes 2 of 3 in Starkville to start the SEC season out on the right foot
LSU faced a pretty stiff challenge to open SEC play, traveling to Starkville to face a team ranked in the Top 15. The Tigers won Friday and Saturday to win the series and take their overall record to 18-2.
Despite Aaron Nola not having his best stuff on Friday night, Mississippi State could not overcome Mason Katz. After falling behind 4-1, Katz smashed a two run homer to bring LSU to within a run. LSU botched some opportunities in the seventh inning but still scratched a run across to the tie the game. Then in the 10th inning, Katz went yard again, leading LSU to a 6-4 victory.
As if Katz's two homer night on Friday didn't set the tone enough, he went ahead and hit another one in the second inning on Saturday night. LSU never trailed in the game and a late three run home run by Alex Bregman was the crushing blow in LSU's 7-3 win. Ryan Eades was excellent on Saturday, allowing just six hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out eight.
As good as Eades was on Saturday, it was the opposite on Sunday. Cody Glenn just didn't have his stuff and by the time he got yanked in the fourth inning, LSU was trailing 6-0. They just couldn't get any momentum going offensively to fire everyone up or spark any kind of rally. The game got away from them, and they lost 10-2.
I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet on Cody Glenn. The whole team had a bit of a let down on Sunday after knowing they had the series already won. In a big road series, winning those first two can set you up for an off day mentally on Sunday, and I think that's what happened to LSU's entire team. A year ago against this same Mississippi State squad, Aaron Nola got knocked around pretty good in his first career SEC start, and he turned out just fine.
We saw Paul Maineri tinker with his lineup a bit this weekend. On Friday, Chris Chinea got the nod as the designated hitter against the lefty pitcher but went 0 for 3. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we saw Andrew Stevenson get the start ahead of Chris Sciambra. Stevenson played in centerfield, moving Mark Laird to right. Stevenson was 1 for 4 in those two games but scored a couple of runs on Saturday. He also had a great catch early in the game on Saturday.
With Sciambra sitting down, Maineri moved Jacoby Jones up to the leadoff spot in the order, and he responded very well. In his two games at the top of the order, Jones was 4 for 7, reaching base five times in eight plate appearances. In those games, Stevenson hit 9th in the order, and I really like having that Stevenson/Jones/Laird string in the order. That's a lot of speed on the bases for Bregman/Rhymes/Katz/Ibarra.
Jared Foster came to the plate twice on Sunday and hit a home run in one of his at bats. He continues to look strong, albeit in very limited time, thus far this season. In just nine at-bats, Foster has five hits including a double and a home run.
As for Katz, he now leads the SEC in home runs (9), RBIs (32) and total bases (58). He's pretty locked in right now.
After hitting three home runs against Mississippi State on Friday and Saturday, State wasn't too happy about it and they decided to get a little silly. Whether intentional or not (pretty sure it was), State's pitcher threw a ball behind Mason Katz. Needless to say, Paul Maineri and Mason Katz were not too happy about it. They didn't really hold back when asked about it by WAFB's Jacques Doucet:
EDIT: Graveman gave his own excuse for what happened, though it's obvious even the State beat writers aren't buying it. Matt Sevens at The Dispatch got further quotes from other players and a smarmy "No Comment" from MSU's Coach Cohen
SEC Standings via D1Baseball.com
|STANDINGS||SEC Win||SEC Loss||SEC %||Games Back||Overall Win||Overall Loss||Overall %||Last 10||Streak||Next Game|
|Vanderbilt||3||0||1.000||--||19||2||0.905||9-1||W-4||at Middle Tennessee State (3/20)|
|South Carolina||2||1||0.667||1||17||3||0.850||9-1||L-1||at The Citadel (3/19)|
|Kentucky||2||1||0.667||1||16||3||0.842||8-2||W-2||Western Kentucky (3/19)|
|Tennessee||1||2||0.333||2||10||9||0.526||7-3||L-1||Western Carolina (3/20)|
|Florida||1||2||0.333||2||9||12||0.429||5-5||L-2||North Florida (3/19)|
|Missouri||1||2||0.333||2||6||9||0.400||6-4||W-1||Arkansas State (3/19)|
|Texas A&M||3||0||1.000||--||14||7||0.667||7-3||W-4||Dallas Baptist (3/19)|
|Mississippi||2||1||0.667||1||20||2||0.909||9-1||W-1||Texas A&M (3/22)|
|LSU||2||1||0.667||1||18||2||0.900||9-1||L-1||Northwestern State (3/20)|
|Alabama||2||1||0.667||1||11||9||0.550||4-6||W-1||at Samford (3/19)|
|Mississippi State||1||2||0.333||2||19||4||0.826||6-4||W-1||Alcorn State (3/19)|
|Arkansas||1||2||0.333||2||14||7||0.667||7-3||L-1||at South Carolina (3/22)|
|Auburn||0||3||0.000||3||13||6||0.684||7-3||L-3||Alabama State (3/19)
Game 1 and Game 3 "highlights" come from the Mississippi St streaming service and noticeably skip over anything positive accomplished by LSU.