Looking back on this series, it's very hard to judge if anything useful can be determined from the Tiger's sweep of Holy Cross. The Crusaders weren't just starting the season a week late, they were playing outdoors for the first time all year against a team that had already spent a month scrimmaging. It was easy to see that disadvantage affecting them on the field as they spent the weekend miss-judging fly balls and making fielding mistakes. The 8 errors they committed, especially the 3 in the LSU 4th on Sunday, were directly responsible for turning somewhat competitive games into blowouts.
Not that LSU was trying to run up the score. For most of the weekend, Mainieri was content to play the dreaded small ball, and to great effect. We can safely say that about half the starting lineup can lay down a successful bunt and that we aren't afraid to do it. The four stolen bases on the weekend are also going to go a long way towards keeping the opposing pitchers honest. The Long Ball didn't disappear either, with 4 for the weekend and keeping alive a streak of at least one every game for the season. Mainieri's mantra through most of the preseason was that we will have to "Manufacture offense" this year instead of relying on the long ball to bail us out. From what we've seen so far, LSU has that ability.
The pitching felt a little uneventful despite the lopsided scores. Gausman looked fine to start on Friday, then gave up a 2 run homer in the 2nd. He settled down for a good night though, with 7Ks through 6 and his first win. McCune wasn't as stellar as his pitcher of the week premier, but he still gave a great performance of 3Ks, 4 hits, and 2 runs (both off a homer in the 2nd) through 6. Alsup was fine on Sunday, but he did have to work himself out of a bases loaded jam again. The overriding theme of the weekend seemed to be good pitching, backed up by great fielding defense (with a small exception behind the plate, more on that below.)
The relief pitching got the job done despite the complete lack of pressure. Berry and Rumbelow were lock-down on Friday while the rest of the pen gave up just a run or two in junk time on Sat. and Sun. The only worry I have is that no one but Ott has faced anything even remotely close to a pressure situation. It's a great problem to have, but forgive me for being nervous when everyone's first save opportunity comes against Fullerton in a few weeks.
NOTES OF INTEREST
- Hanover's continued immunity to the 3rd base VOID curse is impressive. He is doing excellent fielding work and while he's low in the slugging % ranks, he's 2nd on the team in OBP.
- LSU's JV squad has seen sufficient playing time to get their own spot in the SEC standings. We've seen mass substitutions of 5 or more players by the 7th inning in 6 of LSU's 7 games, including a complete roster flip this past Saturday. This will be great down the line as the injuries that always seem to happen start to mount. *knocks on wood*
- To quote commenter 4.0 Point Stance: "Story of the season might be how we miss Micah Gibbs." Both Ross and Snickeris had major problems throwing out steal attempts at 2nd base, Snickeris especially. Mainieri doesn't seem to be platooning the battery as much as just trying to find someone who will stick at C. Hopefully this won't turn into this season's 3rd base VOID.
- SPENCER WARE had a quite weekend, though he remains a crowd favorite. He's shown to be good enough to sub in the outfield if there is an injury, but we have to hope that doesn't happen. This will be his last week with the team before heading off to spring football which starts the same weekend as the Fullerton series.
- Tyler Jones, Ryan Eades, and Matty Ott did not pitch this weekend. Expect to see them all on Tuesday.
- Is it just me, or is Mainieri developing a Miles-like hat stance?
- For those of you making the argument that Baseball is the second sport of LSU, the reported paid attendance figures for both sports show basketball at 121892 with only the home finale to go, while baseball is at 76878. Based on averages, baseball will pass basketball during next week's series against Princeton. Sure both numbers are bloated, but anybody who glanced at the Vandy game this weekend knows there is no way there were 7,000+ people in the PMAC.
- Also on attendance: Stats for the whole country come out on Monday, but It's pretty safe to say the 76,878 will be about 15-20K higher than anyone else in the country. Time for some more outfield bleachers, Alleva.
OTHER ACTION OF NOTE
- Southeastern swept the mini-tourney in Mobile over the weekend, which included a 6-2 win over Bama
- Bama got swept out of that same tourney, with losses to UCF and South Alabama
- 2 SEC games were under 2 hours this weekend, including a 1:49 game between SCar and Southern Illinois
- In one of the big non-conf matches of the weekend, #12 CS Fullerton took 2 of 3 at #4 TCU, giving the Horned Frogs their first series loss in more than a year.
- Wake Forrest went 3-1 last week with wins over Western Carolina, Minnesota, and Georgetown, and a 10-3 loss to Northwestern
- In the rest of the SEC, # 3 Vandy took 2 of 3 from #13 Stanford; Florida, South Carolina, and Arkansas remain perfect with LSU; Ole Miss took 2 of 3 at Houston; and UGA continues to slide, losing 2 of 3 to Baylor.
Tuesday: Southeastern, 6:30pm
Wednesday: Miss. Valley St., 6:30pm
Weekend: Princeton (3GMS)
GM1 v Holy Cross
GM2 v Holy Cross
GM3 v Holy Cross