LSU got its second straight SEC series sweep this weekend on the road against Missouri, but the real Tigers did not get victories in their normal fashion. Instead of dominating with offense, LSU relied on its pitching staff to hold slight leads in two games and to limit Mizzou's chances to score.
For the series, LSU hit a season low 0.243 (26/107) and struck out a season high 22 times. On the flipside, the team hit a season high six home runs for the series. Outside of Saturday and one inning on Sunday, the LSU offense was held mostly in check by Mizzou. LSU had season lows in just about every statistical category except home runs.
Mason Katz blasted three more home runs, two of them huge spots. On Friday he blasted a solo home run in the fourth inning, which proved to be the deciding run in that contest. He then hit a three run bomb on Sunday, which got the Tigers back in the game after falling behind 5-1. Katz went 8-14 on the weekend with 3 HR, a triple and 8 RBI. He improved his season averages to 0.419/0.504/0.886, which is just sick. He still leads the country in RBI with 49. Katz has been mister clutch for LSU all season. He always seems to nail a home run when the Tigers need it the most.
Alex Bregman and Christian Ibarra continue to impress at the plate. Bregman went 6-14 on the weekend with a home run, two stolen bases, four runs scored, and an RBI. Ibarra blasted two home runs on Saturday and went 4-12 on the weekend with three runs scored and 3 RBI. Bregman is now 0.442/0.489/0.617 for the season and Ibarra is 0.337/0.442/0.489.
Sean McMullen got the nod twice at DH this weekend and was solid in his two games. He went 3-8 at the plate and hit the game winning 2 RBI single on Sunday. He also walked twice, which gave him a series OBP of 0.500. If he continues to produce like this, he could be LSU's answer at DH against right handed pitching.
Outside of the guys above, it was a dead zone at the plate. Raph Rhymes had a terrible series, going 1-11 at the plate with two walks and one RBI. Jacoby Jones and Ty Ross continue to have issues at the plate, going 1-22 between them with a walk a piece. Andrew Stevenson started all three games this weekend and struggled at the plate. Stevenson went 0-9 with three walks and a run scored. Mark Laird also had a quiet series, going 2-12 with two walks and a run scored.
The starting pitching on Friday and Saturday was excellent. Aaron Nola worked 7.2 innings, striking out ten (again) and walking only one. Nola surrendered only five hits and gave up no runs. Ryan Eades got himself into some tough spots on Saturday, but was clutch with runners on base. Mizzou went 1/10 against Eades with runners in scoring position, and failed to score on the lone hit because of excellent defense from the LSU outfield. Eades also got Mizzou to ground into three double plays.
As good as the starting pitching was on Friday and Saturday, it was equally bad on Sunday for Cody Glenn. Glenn worked only 1.2 innings. Glenn gave up two hits and an earned run in the first inning before the wheels fell off in the second. He retired the first two batters before giving up a walk and a hit. Then he hit three straight batters to give Mizzou a 3-1 lead. Kevin Berry would relieve Glenn and give up a two run single that finally closed the book on Glenn. This is the second bad road outing for Glenn, this time against less than strong competition. One cannot help but wonder if Coach Mainieri may try another pitcher as the Sunday starter. With two midweek games coming up, I think Glenn gets the nod against Kentucky because of logistics. If Glenn pitches well, he may get another chance on the road. If he struggles, we could see him replaced against Arkansas.
The bullpen had another good weekend and is continuing to gel as the season rolls on. Chris Cotton picked up his seventh and eight saves of the season and continues to impress as the closer. Brent Bonvillain worked 4.2 innings on Sunday, gave up no hits, walked two batters, and had three strikeouts. Bonvillain was called on in to protect the one run lead the Tigers had, and did not falter in such a big spot. Nick Rumbelow closed game two and had no trouble, striking out two batters.
The Tigers face a tough five game stretch this week. LSU faces Alcorn St. at home on Tuesday, then travels to Metairie for the Pontiff Classic against Southern Miss on Wednesday, then has a three game series at The Box against top 25 SEC opponent Kentucky. LSU gets its first top 25 opponent at The Box this season, which should provide great drama and excitement as two good programs go at it. LSU is 9-0 in games decided by two runs or less and will have to continue that high level of play in tight spots if they want to take the series against Kentucky.
Stat Note: Saturday's game was attended by 945 people, the smallest crowd to see an LSU SEC baseball game since only 548 showed up to a game at Kentucky in 2004.
|Vanderbilt||7 - 1||.875||24 - 4||.857||18-2||6-2||0-0||W5|
|Kentucky||5 - 3||.625||20 - 6||.769||13-4||4-1||3-1||L1|
|South Carolina||5 - 4||.556||22 - 6||.786||17-4||5-1||0-1||W4|
|Florida||3 - 5||.375||12 - 16||.429||9-13||3-3||0-0||W1|
|Tennessee||3 - 5||.375||13 - 12||.520||10-3||2-7||1-2||L3|
|Missouri||2 - 6||.250||9 - 14||.391||8-6||1-8||0-0||L2|
|Georgia||1 - 7||.125||10 - 18||.357||7-11||3-7||0-0||W1|
|LSU||7 - 1||.875||25 - 2||.926||19-1||6-1||0-0||W7|
|Alabama||7 - 2||.778||18 - 11||.621||10-4||8-5||0-2||W1|
|Arkansas||5 - 3||.625||20 - 8||.714||16-4||3-0||0-4||L1|
|Texas A&M||5 - 4||.556||18 - 11||.621||14-3||3-6||1-2||L3|
|Ole Miss||4 - 4||.500||23 - 5||.821||15-3||8-2||0-0||L1|
|Mississippi St.||3 - 5||.375||23 - 7||.767||20-4||2-3||1-0||W1|
|Auburn||1 - 8||.111||16 - 12||.571||13-8||1-4||2-0||L1|
(From Mizzou's site. The Highlights are mostly of Mizzou's plays, but do include a few of Katz's bombs)