While this game was never really circled as being very competitive, Grambling came into Alex Box Stadium during the midweek and provided a quality game against LSU.
The main story coming into the game was whether Brent Bonvillain or Kurt McCune could separate themselves enough to see who should get the Sunday start if Cody Glenn cannot pitch. Both guys worked two innings and both looked very good. Bonvillain faced seven batters and did not give up a hit. Bonvillain did walk two batters and struggled with his control, only throwing half of his 26 pitches for strikes. McCune faced eight batters and gave up two hits. McCune showed better control than Bonvillain, throwing 20 of his 28 pitches for strikes and allowing the Grambling batters to put the ball in play (3 groundouts and 3 fly outs). Based on their performances, I think McCune gets the nod on Sunday if Glenn can't go. McCune pitches to contact, has experience as an SEC starter, and had the better outing tonight in my opinion. Bonvillain has been very valuable in middle relief, so he should continue in that spot.
The rest of the night was pitch by committee for the Tigers. LSU would have 10 different guys face batters before the end of the game. Everyone got at least some work in before the weekend series mainly so they could remember what it feels like to pitch in a game. The starting pitching on Friday and Saturday has been so strong that the bullpen has really only been called upon on Sundays. The bullpen performed well, giving up only one hit and hitting two Grambling batters. The pitching was very solid and should be well prepared going into the weekend series against Alabama.
The biggest shock was how off the LSU bats were tonight. LSU was limited to only three hits on the evening, which is LSU's lowest hit total for a game this season. The Tigers scored two of their four runs on a fielding error by Grambling right fielder Kris Minter in the third inning. The other two runs came off a Christian Ibarra home run in the sixth inning. Grambling starter Cory Jordan was very impressive, and really pitched well against one of the best hitting teams in the country. Jordan surrendered the three hits, walked two, hit two, struck out three, and only gave up two earned runs. The most potent part of the LSU lineup, the 3 through 6 spots (Bregman-Rhymes-Katz-Ibarra), went a combined 2/10. Overall, it was just a lackluster night for the offense.
LSU is now an astonishing 35-3 on the season, and avoided the midweek upset bug that seems to have bitten some of the top SEC teams with Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky all losing. Up next for the Tigers is a second straight SEC road series against a surprising Alabama team, who is tied for third in the SEC west at 8-7 and 23-16 overall.
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