A little unexpectedly, LSU faces a significant hurdle to it's unblemished season tonight as the Lions from Southeastern come to The Box for the 1st of 2 midweek games this week.
(Note: There appears to be some discrepancy as to what Southeastern's initials are these days. ESPN uses SELA, The university itself uses SELU, and their fans seem to prefer to use SLU. Since I've always been partial to the Lions outside of their LSU games and I'm a fan of old school logos like the one above, we will use SLU. Southeastern Alumni feel free to sound off in the comments about this.)
SLU has a bit of chip on it's shoulder lately after missing NCAA post-season play the last 2 years despite 37 and 40 win seasons. After the disappointment, HC Jay Artigues decided to beef up the non-conf schedule and it's paying dividends with early upsets of FIU, Bama, and Tulane. They'll still have to finish at or near the top of the Southland conference and avoid early exits in their conference tourney (not to mention hope that Bama and Tulane can turn around some lackluster starts) to get consideration, but as of today they are one of the best mid-major teams in the country and well deserving of a bid.
Southeastern does it with an offensive output not too dis-similar to our own. They have 88 hits, 17 doubles, 8 HRs as a staff, which is comparable to LSU and against easily superior competition (compared to what we've faced). The big differences (Runs: SLU-52, LSU-82; RBIs: SLU-44, LSU-75) might also be explained away by the difference in competition. A full 2/3rds of the SLU starting lineup is slugging over .500. A big weakness I see is strikeouts, 51 for their starters vs 22 for ours (this also might be another dubious comparison as SLU's starters have seen an order of magnitude more ABs than ours have thanks to our mass substitutions and their limited roster of just 24 players, 10 of whom are pitchers.) SLU currently has the #3 RPI in the country by some accounts, though this early into the season it's hard to judge that accurately. I've basically told you nothing in the last paragraph, but that's kind of how it goes early in the year.
SLU will be throwing LHP Jordan Hymel at us, who gave up just 3 hits, 1 earned run and 0Ks in his lone 5 inning appearance last week in SLU's 13-1 bombing of Tulane. In the pen, the Lions have Jacob Ott, Matty's older brother and teammate from Holy Cross in Chalmette. Matty is also likely to come in for us tonight, so we could see some fantastic pitching in the later innings tonight.
No TV, sadly. LSU's Geaux Zone will have it's usual HD video and audio for a fee, or you can listen to the SLU radio broadcast for free online from KSLU.
Weather in BR (and all of LA really) took a steep dive in temperatures yesterday and it is expected to get down into the 40s tonight. Otherwise a clear night with just the usual slight breeze off the river.
PITCHING MATCHUP from LSUSports.net
LSU - Jr. RHP Tyler Jones, (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 0 BB, 6 SO)
SLU - So. LHP Jordan Hymel (1-0, 1.80 ERA, 5.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO)