I started to watch this one on the computer, as we don't get CSS where I'm at, but then my fatherly duties interfered and I wasn't able to watch much of the last few innings. When I stopped watching, Ryan Bird had replaced Austin Ross and gave up a couple runs to make it 6-2 in favor of Bama.
The story of last night was a common story in college baseball. In any given game, each team has only a few good pitchers available. If you can get to the other team to take out its starter ahead of schedule and force them to put in a pitcher who is not in the list of good pitchers available, your chances of winning increase dramatically.
Last night, LSU had Ross and Ott available, and we were going to have to find an inning or so of pitching from other sources to hold Bama at bay. Instead, because Ross had a long and difficult 5th inning, we had to replace him in the 6th and hope to find 3 innings worth of pitchers to get us to Ott in the 9th. We weren't able to do it.
Ryan Bird, Ben Alsup, and Chris Matulis combined to allow 10 runs in 3 innings, with 8 of the runs earned.
Ross didn't pitch a bad game, but he did pitch a bad inning. In the 5th, he only gave up two runs, but he walked 3 batters and threw a ton of pitches. I counted 34 pitches thrown that inning in the box score. That's enough pitches for 3 innings sometimes.
Ross left with us behind 3-2, but Bama lefty Del Howell was able to keep our bats at bay. By the time Howell gave up another run to us, Bama was ahead by 7 and we were pretty much out of it. Closer Tyler White came in and finished off the last two innings.
Going forward, it is clear this team is going to have to get some production out of its bullpen arms. Has anyone seen Daniel Bradshaw lately? He was supposed to be a weekend starter, and now he's not even being used in long relief. In tournament play, you need 4 starters, a closer, and at least 3 or 4 decent relief pitchers. Right now, we have 3 starters, a closer, and a bunch of question marks and inconsistency at other spots.
Our left-handed hitting is clearly going to struggle against left-handed pitching. Jared Mitchell struck out 4 times last night. Mitchell is a catalyst for the team and him not even getting a chance to run at all really hurt our offense.
Blake Dean actually had a nice game, with 2 hits including a home run and 4 RBI. Maybe he's finally broken out a bit.
With the series tied at 1-1, you have to like our chances today. We come back with the best pitcher in the conference, Louis Coleman. He'll be going against Adam Scott, whose ERA is not bad at all, but is only 1-0. One wonders how much he has pitched.