LSU did what they needed to do this weekend, which was to win the series. Any time you go on the road in this conference, winning two games is a big deal. When you get a poor start from one of your team's ace pitchers and uncharacteristically make three errors in a game but still manage to win the series, then you count your blessings and move on.
LSU outclassed Alabama on Friday night. Aaron Nola was excellent, pitching a complete game shutout while allowing just three hits and striking out 10. At the plate, LSU rapped out 11 hits. When LSU put two runs on the board in the top of the first inning, that game was over.
Saturday was quite different. For the second straight week, Ryan Eades did not have his stuff. He got roughed up pretty good, allowing eight hits and five earned runs in just four innings of work. Luckily, LSU had some clutch hits, highlighted by a pair of three-run bombs...one each from Alex Bregman and Ty Ross. After Nick Rumbelow gave LSU a solid two innings of work, Joey Bourgeois came in to pitch the seventh with LSU leading 8-5. For some reason, Paul Maineri did not stick to the usual script and lifted Bourgeois in favor of Chris Cotton in the eighth inning. Cotton was not sharp in the eighth but he got through the inning unscatched. The ninth was a different story though. After a single and an error by Jacoby Jones, Cotton gave up a game tying 3-run blast.
That started an extra innings affair that would go on well into the night. LSU's bullpen during this stretch was fantastic. Cotton exited the game after the 10th inning, and LSU turned to Matt Fury who pitched four scoreless innings. Is was a pretty high pressure situation since any Bama run would have ended the game, but Fury did not flinch. He was excellent. After getting abused by BYU earlier in the year in LSU's lone non-conference loss, his innings decreased drastically...certainly his weekend innings. But in my book, he earned another hard look as someone they can count on. Kurt McCune was equally as impressive pitching the 15th and 16th inning.
Tyler Moore's big two out double in the 16th inning deserves mention. His playing time has decreased quite a bit lately, though I'm not really sure why. After sitting in the dugout for about five hours, he grabs a bat and smacks a crucial double that really got the Tigers' two-out rally going. I'll point this out again....through 53 official at bats on the season, Tyler Moore strikeout total remains....ZERO.
I'm not sounding the alarm bells or anything just yet, but I will say that I am concerned about Ryan Eades. Every pitcher will have a shaky start from time to time, but he's had two in a row and we've seen this before. Last year at almost the exact same point in the season, Eades started to lose his stuff and he was grossly unreliable down the stretch. A solid Ryan Eades-like start next weekend would be awfully nice to see.
On the flip side, Cody Glenn was excellent on Sunday, allowing just four hits and one earned run in eight innings. It's a shame that LSU's bats had an off day and could not capitalize on Glenn's performance. Since SEC play has started, Glenn has fallen into a pattern of alternating a very good performance with a pretty bad one. I've got no real explanation for it, but hopefully he can find some consistency, especially with Eades struggling.
Sunday's game had an unusual feel to it. The team seemed out of sorts for the first time in a while. The 16 inning marathon the night before almost certainly had something to do with it, but they had very little energy. They also made three errors, which ultimately proved to be the difference in another close game. The little things make such a huge difference in close games, and LSU has been insanely good at those little things this year. Sunday's contest serves as a great reminder of just how important they are.
It was odd that in a series that features two extra inning games, we didn't see Brent Bonvillain at all. Maineri was obviously saving him for Sunday, to relieve Cody Glenn. But Glenn was so good that Bonvillain wasn't needed.
Jacoby Jones had an interesting weekend. He missed Friday's game due to a stomach illness. On Saturday, he made an error in the ninth inning which helped keep Alabama's rally alive. He also failed to deliver in a bases loaded, no outs situation. But he did redeem himself a bit in the 16th with a big double to add to LSU's lead. Then on Sunday, another error got him quickly yanked from the game. It will be interesting to see how his situation unfolds moving forward.
LSU hosts Tulane at The Box on Wednesday before hosting a huge series against South Carolina next weekend.
|STANDINGS||SEC Win||SEC Loss||SEC %||Games Back||Overall Win||Overall Loss||Overall %||Last 10||Streak||Next Game|
|Vanderbilt||16||2||0.889||--||35||6||0.854||8-2||W-2||at Louisville (4/23)|
|South Carolina||11||7||0.611||5||31||10||0.756||7-3||W-4||vs Gardner-Webb (4/23)|
|Florida||10||8||0.556||6||22||19||0.537||8-2||L-1||South Florida (4/23)|
|Kentucky||7||11||0.389||9||24||15||0.615||2-8||L-6||at Western Kentucky (4/23)|
|Tennessee||5||13||0.278||11||17||21||0.447||4-6||L-3||at Middle Tennessee State (4/23)|
|Missouri||5||13||0.278||11||13||22||0.371||4-6||W-1||Murray State (4/23)|
|Georgia||4||14||0.222||12||15||26||0.366||4-6||L-2||vs Georgia Tech (4/23)|
|Mississippi State||10||8||0.556||5||32||10||0.762||8-2||W-2||vs Memphis (4/23)|
|Mississippi||10||8||0.556||5||29||12||0.707||6-4||W-3||at Arkansas State (4/23)|
|Alabama||9||9||0.500||6||24||18||0.571||5-5||W-1||at Southern Mississippi (4/24)|
|Texas A&M||7||11||0.389||8||22||19||0.537||3-7||L-2||at Texas State (4/23)|
|Auburn||6||12||0.333||9||24||16||0.600||6-4||L-2||at Missouri (4/26)|
Game 1 Highlights
Game 2 Highlights