WEEKEND RECAP: Starting Pitching Leads Tigers To Sweep

Crystal Logiudice-US PRESSWIRE

LSU gets three outstanding performances from their starting pitchers on the way to a sweep of Brown and Nicholls St.

Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades both dominated in their starts against Brown. Both guys struck out 11 while walking nobody. Eades notched his 11 Ks in six innings while Nola went seven. Unfortunately, Nola could not get the victory since the game on Friday was in doubt until the very end. Both guys are off to excellent starts on the season and even though that was expected, it's still a great sign.

After consecutive scoreless starts in mid-week contests, Paul Maineri promoted lefty Cody Glenn to the Sunday starter. Glenn responded by throwing a gem against Nicholls St., allowing just three hits and no runs through seven innings. In three starts and 19 innings this year, Glenn has yet to allow an earned run. Batters are hitting under .150 against Glenn on the year.

I'll admit that I'm a little surprised at Glenn's early season success. Highly regarded out of high school, Glenn struggled as a freshman. He just couldn't get anyone out. He also got knocked around pretty good in summer ball. Even in his first start this season, I thought that Glenn struggled with his command. But his last two starts have been superb, and he looks like a totally different, very confident guy on the mound. If he can keep pitching this well, then LSU may have answered one of the biggest questions they had coming into the season, which was whether someone would emerge as a legitimate Sunday starter.

As a whole, LSU's bats were pretty timid this weekend. After blasting Southeastern and ULL last Sunday and Tuesday respectively, I was hoping to see the hot hitting continue. Instead, LSU scored just 13 runs combined. The Tigers trailed Brown 3-2 heading into the eighth inning on Friday and managed to scratch across a run in each of the last two innings for the walk off victory. LSU controlled Saturday's game from the start but then struggled again on Sunday where they were hitless through four innings and finished with just seven hits in a 2-0 win.

On Friday, LSU routinely had runners all over the bases but just couldn't find that one hit to break the game open. But at least they hit the ball hard for the most part. On Sunday, LSU just couldn't get much of anything going aside from one inning.

After really struggling over the last 10 days or so, Chris Sciambra sat down on Sunday while Sean McMullen took his place in the lineup. McMullen led off but played in right field while Mark Laird played center. McMullen was 1 for 4 on Sunday but his one hit was a big one, setting up LSU with runners at the corners and nobody out. Paul Maineri said after the game Sunday that he just wanted to get McMullen a game, and that this move had nothing to do with Sciambra's recent struggles. But it will be interesting to see if McMullen continues to get the opportunity to win that job. Andrew Stevenson continues to be an option there, too.

After a shaky outing by the bullpen on Friday where both Nick Rumbelow and Will Lamarche struggled, they were otherwise solid. Chris Cotton earned a win on Friday and a save on Sunday. Lamarche rebounded to pitch well on Saturday, as did Hunter Devall and Kevin Berry. We haven't seen Nate Fury since he got knocked around last weekend. But with two mid-week games coming up, I suspect he'll get a chance to redeem himself.

Some Other Observations:

Mark Laird had another outstanding weekend. After going 8 for 13 last weekend, Laird was 5 for 9 this weekend while reaching base 10 times in 14 plate appearances. His batting average is all the way up to .385, and his on base percentage is .489. Laird was also outstanding defensively once again. He has probably made a dozen plays this season where I've thought to myself, "that's a play we just don't make last year.". He looked very good in centerfield on Sunday.

Tyler Moore had a big week. He started against ULL and against Brown twice and was 7 for 13 in those three games. His batting average is up to .346 now. On the other side of the righty / lefty platoon at DH, Alex Edward played on Sunday and was 0 for 2. He's all the way down to .176.

Jacoby Jones has not been tearing the cover off the ball. In fact, his .257 batting average is almost identical to his .253 mark from a year ago. But after walking only 15 times a season ago, Jones already has nine walks this year. The more patient Jones has a .435 on base % as opposed to a meager .308 in 2012.

Joey Bourgeois has recorded 11 strikeouts in just 5.1 innings of work. In case you're not sure, that is REALLY GOOD. While I love Bourgeois as a setup guy who can bridge the gap between the starting pitcher and the closer, those numbers suggest he'd be quite good at getting LSU out of some jams, too. We shouldn't be that surprised though, since Bourgeois struck out 45 in 41 innings in 2012.

LSU hosts Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday and Sacred Heart on Wednesday. I'm curious to see how Maineri handles the pitching duties. Brent Bonvillain will start Tuesday and probably won't go more than four or five innings so that he will still be plenty fresh for the weekend. After that, it could be a deal where we see "Johnny Allstaff" with plenty of guys getting an inning or two of work.

HIGHLIGHTS

Brown Game 1

Brown Game 2

Nicholls St.

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