Another opening weekend, another sweep. LSU has not lost a game in its season opening series since Indiana took the getaway game back in 2008. When the lights turn on, LSU comes out of the Box swinging.
This year was no different, though it was very much an opening series. The pitchers were on a strict pitch count, the bullpen was rusty, the baserunners did LSU-type things, and the gloves were less than stellar. Nobody is perfect, particularly not in the first weekend.
Kansas was a game opponent, and they have a decent shot at making the tournament this year if things break right, but they were largely outmatched for the weekend. LSU is simply a more talented team, and they got a focused team trying to give the restless fans a good show after the long, dismal offseason (or as most people call it, basketball season).
We're trying something new this year, as instead of giving you a weekend preview, I'll do a weekend review. Instead of focusing on the other guys, we're going to spend more time talking about the boys in purple and garish yellow.
9th d1baseball.com, 2nd Baseball America, 4th Collegiate Baseball
U/R RPI, U/R ISR
LSU stayed pretty much where it was in all of the polls, as everyone else largely took care of business as well. No one is panicking too much over Vandy's loss, and there's just not much room to move when you're already in the top 10. Boyd World hasn't started his RPI simulations or his ISR rankings yet. We'll add those as the season goes on. By the way, if you haven't checked out the new d1baseball.com site, you totally should. It's amazing, and easily the best site dedicated to college baseball. No, I'm not on their payroll.
Starting pitching good, bullpen bad.
OK, it's not exactly that simple, and we flipped the script on Sunday in which the bullpen gutted out the win. But boy, was it great to see that one-two punch on the mound. Poche' was great in his debut as the Friday night starter. Kansas never even got a runner to second base against him, and by the time he went to the bunch due to a strict pitch count, LSU already had what seemed like an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
Lange wasn't quite as dominant, but his stuff was so much more electric. He struck out 7 in 5 innings of work, and allowed only four baserunners. Kansas did manage to get a runner to 2nd on two occasions, but only once with less than two outs. If there was any complaint about Lange's evening, it was that he let up a baserunner with less than two outs in every inning save the first. Still, the kid has the goods. It's only a matter of time before he flips his spot with Poche'.
Godfrey struggled more than his freshman counterpart, getting chased in the fourth, down 4-1. In his defense, Godfrey was victimized by some pretty horrific defense and only one of those four runs were earned. He was the first starter to struggle, but his job seems secure if only because Bouman was even worse in relief on Saturday, giving up four runs in just one inning of work (well, he came out for a second, but never recorded an out before giving up a three run bomb).
The bullpen, which had been shaky all weekend, then came through with style on Sunday, recording the last 16 outs by giving up only one run and one hit. Jesse Stallings nailed down his second save of the season and solidified himself as the closer after just one weekend. He looked in control. The bullpen's good work gave the bats a chance to come alive...
What Lil Poseur Demanded We Watch Instead of Baseball
Thank God for the SECN+, so I can watch games on my laptop, which frees up the big screen for the Lil Poseur to watch whatever she wishes. However, she does get mad at me for paying attention to the baseball game, and demands that I pay attention to her show at some point. This week: Peppa Pig
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Honestly, not that bad. I rather like the mundane nature of the plots, and how every episode is something that happens in our own home, like going grocery shopping. It finds delight in simply being a happy family. The British accents don't hurt.
Kade Scivicque went 3 for 7 with 2 runs and 3 RBI, so naturally, he was benched for Sunday's game. Now, it makes sense to rotate the catchers, and it gave Papierski a shot, but that's a bat you have to have in the order.
The bats were largely silent on Firday save for Scivicque's three run homer in the second. But staked to an early lead, and Kansas showing no signs of life, the bats went into cruise control as it seemed we were just trying to get to the next game.
LSU struggled again, but blew things open in the 5th inning with a 7-run outburst. Aside from Hale leaving the bases loaded, it was an almost perfect inning. I won't even complain about the sac bunt with one on and nobody out. It was the kind of inning that just showed the depth of talent the order has, and how a string of singles can kill a pitcher's night. It happened so fast. One moment it was 1-0, then suddenly it was 8-0 and I was checking emails.
I'll give Mainieri a pass for the Sunday lineup because that's what he should be doing: trying stuff out. It's not his fault pretty much every move failed. Jordan was a disaster at third, Hale was even worse at second, and there was Scivicque-sized hole in the middle of the lineup (Andrew Stevenson should never hit 5th). After 4 errors by the infield, Kramer Robertson and Danny Zardon found themselves both back in the field. Teams that commit 4 errors usually don't win.
Wednesday against Nicholls (Whatever happened to the State?) and a weekend series at the Box against Boston College.