After dropping their first series of the year a week ago, LSU stormed back to sweep a Florida team that had been rolling lately. LSU played extremely well this weekend, highlighted by excellent starting pitching on each day. LSU's starting pitchers pitched 21.2 innings and allowed just 12 hits.
With Thursday night's game threatened by rain, Paul Maineri decided to go with Cody Glenn as the starting pitcher. The rationale was to not use up your best pitcher on a night that might get cut short after a couple of innings due to weather. Plus, it allowed Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades to stay in their usual Friday and Saturday spots whereas Cody Glenn did not pitch the previous weekend. If LSU could get a win against Florida's best on Thursday with Glenn on the hill, then they'd be set up very well for the remainder of the weekend. And that's exactly what happened.
Cody Glenn was excellent on Thursday night and going back to the Arkansas series, that's his second straight quality start. LSU needed Glenn to be excellent, too as they won a one-run game. Jacoby Jones had a big home run to give LSU a lead in the fourth inning and Ty Ross came through with a clutch sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to give LSU the lead for good. Chris Cotton looked like his old self in the ninth inning, sitting down Florida quickly with two strikeouts.
On Saturday, Aaron Nola pitched another complete game...this time allowing zero runs. No big deal. It's Nola's fourth straight complete game. LSU was good enough at the plate, scoring five runs on nine hits.
Then on Sunday, LSU quickly fell behind 2-0 in the first inning but quickly re-took the lead with three runs in the second. Then, they just beat Florida's pitching senseless. LSU had the bases loaded four times in the game and each time, they came through with a big-time hit. Jacoby Jones doubled in two runs. Bregman doubled in three. Jones hit a grand slam. And then Chris Chinea cleared the bases with a double. For the last few weeks, it seems that LSU routinely failed to get the timely hit, and they took all their frustrations out on Florida on Saturday.
Jacoby Jones had a weekend full of big hits. His home run on Thursday night to give LSU the lead was a big one. He had two his Friday including a key RBI. And then he came through twice with the bases loaded on Saturday. When he makes contact, he's hitting the ball very hard. But he's still having an awful lot of at bats where you think "geez, that was bad." He struck out six times this weekend. Jones was piling up walks earlier in the season, but that has not continued. But at the end of the day, his production is SO much better than it was a month ago that you've got to be pleased with where he's at heading towards the post season.
Alex Bregman did Alex Bregman things this weekend. Six hits. Two doubles. A stolen base. No big deal.
Christian Ibarra remains one of LSU's most consistent hitters and if anything, he's improving. He was 5 for 8 on the weekend and reached base 9 times in 12 appearances. His bases clearing double on Saturday was the hit that really opened the flood gates. He's all the way up to .363 and is second on the team with a .458 on base percentage.
I can't say enough about the job that Sean McMullen continues to do at the top of LSU's order. He had another nice weekend with four hits and a pair of walks and his leadoff double helped spark the big fifth inning on Saturday. McMullen hasn't been in the starting lineup all year but comparatively, his numbers are excellent. His .424 on base percentage is one of the best on the team. If you take his numbers and extend them over what would be a complete season to this point, he'd have 19 doubles, 27 BBs and just 19 strikeouts.
For the second straight start, Ryan Eades struggled in the first inning, only to settle down and really find a groove after that. On Saturday, Eades allowed two hits in the first inning and didn't allow another one until the sixth inning. His start against South Carolina was pretty similar.
Paul Maineri is still trying to find the outfield/lineup combination he's most comfortable with. Andrew Stevenson, Jared Foster and Tyler Moore all get opportunities from time to time. When Stevenson is in there, LSU's speed in the outfield is just insane. He also showed off how valuable his speed can be on the base paths by beating out a fairly routine grounder to short which caught the Gators off guard, allowing two LSU runs to score. It's not often you see a 2 RBI infield single, but that's the kind of stuff that Stevenson can bring to the table that the others can't.
LSU is off this week before heading to College Station for their last road trip of the season. The Aggies aren't very good, but they're fresh off a sweep of Missouri so they may have a bit of renewed confidence. This will be another Thursday-Friday-Saturday series as will the last weekend against Ole Miss. So I expect Paul Maineri to bump everyone up a spot with Nola going on Thursday, Eades on Friday and Glenn on Saturday.
At 43-6 overall and 19-5 in the conference, LSU is all but assured a national seed at this point.
|Vanderbilt||21 - 2||.913||41 - 6||.872||27-3||14-3||0-0||W8|
|South Carolina||13 - 10||.565||33 - 14||.702||23-6||10-6||0-2||L2|
|Florida||12 - 12||.500||25 - 23||.521||17-14||8-8||0-1||L4|
|Kentucky||10 - 14||.417||27 - 19||.587||17-8||7-10||3-1||W1|
|Missouri||7 - 17||.292||15 - 28||.349||11-12||4-15||0-1||L4|
|Tennessee||6 - 16||.273||18 - 26||.409||10-12||6-12||2-2||L2|
|Georgia||5 - 16||.238||17 - 28||.378||10-18||6-10||1-0||W1|
|LSU||19 - 5||.792||43 - 6||.878||31-3||11-3||1-0||W4|
|Arkansas||15 - 8||.652||32 - 16||.667||22-8||9-4||0-4||L1|
|Mississippi St.||13 - 11||.542||36 - 13||.735||27-6||7-7||2-0||W3|
|Ole Miss||12 - 12||.500||33 - 16||.673||20-8||13-6||0-2||L2|
|Alabama||11 - 12||.478||27 - 21||.562||18-8||9-11||0-2||L3|
|Texas A&M||10 - 13||.435||26 - 22||.542||20-8||4-12||1-2||W4|
|Auburn||9 - 15||.375||27 - 19||.587||19-10||6-9||2-0||W2|
Game 1 Highlights
Game 2 Highlights
Game 3 Highlights