LSU impressed in all phases this weekend on their way to a relatively easy sweep of the boys from the Plains. I know one thing: Auburn wants no part of Alex Bregman...ever again. Even though LSU was hitting on all cylinders, Bregman became the talk of the weekend, racking up three hits in each game of the series. And that follows a three hit performance against Northwestern State on Wednesday night. His average is all the way up to .422.
LSU did just about everything well this weekend. They outscored Auburn 22 to 7 and racked up 34 hits in the process. LSU made just one error on the weekend, which was a booted grounder by Jacoby Jones on Sunday. On the very next batter, Jones turned a double play to wipe out his mistake. Lastly, LSU's starting pitching went a combined 21 innings and allowed a total of just five earned runs.
The only blemish...and this is nitpicking... is the bullpen on Friday night. Brent Bonvillain and Nick Rumbelow struggled and forced Paul Maineri to go to Joey Bourgeois to settle things down. Kevin Berry also had a rough ninth inning but he still finished the game with only minimal damage done.
Ryan Eades turned in his second straight one run performance. He seems to be hitting his groove. The true test for Eades will come later in the year. Remember that Eades was equally outstanding a year ago until about halfway through SEC play when he hit a wall.
Cody Glenn rebounded nicely after a rough outing against Mississippi State last weekend. Auburn hit a lot of balls hard, but Glenn gave up just six hits and two runs through 7.2 innings. Unlike a week ago, Glenn was locating the strike zone and LSU played some nice defense behind him. Glenn found a groove from the third inning through the seventh where he gave up just two hits, one of which was a bunt single. After looking a little shaky in the first two frames, Glenn was really sharp until the eighth when he just ran out of gas.
Paul Maineri continues to tinker with the lineup a bit. Jacoby Jones responded well to moving into the leadoff spot against Mississippi State but did not produce much this week. On Sunday, he was back to hitting seventh in the order. Jones was just 1 for 16 this week at the plate and that one hit was against Northwestern State. His average is back down to .215. It still seems like he is hitting a lot of balls really hard but just not dropping them in for hits. I'm frustrated for him and hopefully things come together soon. He is still walking at a much higher clip than a year ago, drawing four free passes this weekend including one with the bases loaded. Jones's on base percentage is still a respectable .385 but is trending the wrong way. He's not the right guy to leadoff right now, and it looks like Maineri recognized that.
So if Jones doesn't leadoff, then who does? That question probably goes hand in hand with who is LSU's third outfielder. We know that Raph Rhymes and Mark Laird are locked in. Chris Sciambra started the season hot but has struggled lately. Andrew Stevenson has been given opportunities but has been unable to produce at the plate. Sean McMullen and Jared Foster have not received quite as many opportunities as Sciambra and Stevenson but perhaps they will soon.
At designated hitter, Maineri continues to look for the right guy to handle the duties against left handed pitching. Chris Chinea got the nod in each game this weekend and was OK. He found his way on base three times on Saturday and had a very nice two run single on Sunday. He may be settling into this role.
Going back to Wednesday's game against Northwestern State, I thought Russell Reynolds looked excellent, allowing three hits and no runs through five innings. I expect him to start against Tulane on Tuesday.
Bregman's weekend was excellent, but Mason Katz was not far behind. Yea, he "only" hit one home run. But he had multiple hits in each game and was 7 for 13 on the weekend with five runs batted in. Katz's batting average is all the way up to .379 on the year but more impressive is his insane .809 slugging % and .486 on base %.
Next weekend, LSU travels to Missouri to face a pretty weak team. Missouri has managed to win their Sunday game against both South Carolina and Tennessee for a 2-4 conference record. LSU has a great opportunity to have seven or eight wins in their first nine conference games before the schedule really toughens up.
Paid Attendance through Sunday : 214,264
Actual Attendance through Sunday: 108,763
Unused Tickets through Sunday: 105,501
The Unused Tickets rate is hovering at 49% and has been most of the year. The Auburn series was actually the worst sold series of the year, but the best attended one since opening weekend. If anything the numbers point out that a standing room only ticket is pretty good value over any ticket someone might be selling over face value. Hopefully, as the weather warms over the next few weeks, more folks will decide to use the tickets they have already bought.
Before Saturday's game, LSU Baseball SID Bill Franques was honored for his 25 years of service to the baseball program. Since Franques is also the Alex Box PA, Tiger Stadium legend Dan Borne subbed in for a few innings, though he was much more subdued than he usually is during football games.
Bill Franques throws out the first pitch tonight. twitter.com/valleyshook/st…— Pod Katt (@valleyshook) March 23, 2013
The dancing grounds crew briefly returned for the first time in quite a while on Friday night. The routine needs work, but the crowd loved it
Because of the way the wind was blowing, there were a large amount of foul balls leaving the park on the first base line on Sunday. This was their intended target