It turns out the only weather delay for baseball this weekend was not for the games, but for this weekend wrap. A beautiful, clear sky suddenly turned into ice and snow showers, and I was locked in a house with a toddler, rendering accomplishing even the most simple task impossible. So your weekend review gets delayed. Sorry about that.
LSU, unlike me, planned ahead for the inclement weather, and re-arranged the schedule to play a doubleheader on Friday to avoid playing on Sunday, when the heavy stuff was supposed to come down. Despite some ugly looking clouds and the occasional splatter, the games went off without a hitch, and LSU was able to squeeze in a sweep against the outmatched BC Eagles by suppertime on Saturday.
POLLS: 2nd (Baseball America), 3rd (Collegiate Baseball), 8th (d1baseball.com)
Boyd World still hasn't started tracking the computer rankings yet, as it's too early. LSU's horrible, terrible, no-good, midweek loss has already been forgotten in the haze of a weekend sweep. Essentially, it's baseball, and everyone is expected to drop a game they aren't supposed to here and there. There was never any reason to panic, and LSU took care of business in the weekend set to make sure of it.
It was the opposite of last weekend. While the opening week was anchored by a dominant turn by the first two starters and a shaky bullpen, this weekend saw those roles get flipped. Poche' never really seemed in command in game one on Friday, walking as many as he struck out (three), and giving up 7 hits and 3 runs. Actually, almost all of the damage was done in the first three innings, but by the time he settled down, Poche's pitch count was getting up near 100 and he was pulled at the first sign of trouble in the 6th.
Lage's nightcap went just about the opposite. He dominated for four innings, allowing just two hits and zero runs, before the wheels came off in the 5th. He loaded the bases and then allowed three runs to plate, needing a double play to limit any further damage. Lange still had 9 strikeouts and managed to squeak out the win, but he looked like a freshman. An immensely talented freshman, but still one prone to losing his focus.
This meant Jake Godfrey had the most dominant start of the weekend. His BB/K ratio was still upside down, which is a concern, but he only allowed 1 run in 5 innings of work. He left the game with a 9-1 lead, so it's hard to quibble with a few extra baserunners.
But the big story was the bullpen, which combined for a line of 11.1 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 6 BB, and 13 K. Throw out Saturday's less focused effort protecting a mammoth lead, and the pen allowed 0 runs in 7.1 IP with a K/BB ratio of 9/2. The only pitcher to allow a run was poor snakebit Bouman, who moved further down the pecking order in the pen by giving up a home run on Saturday. Still, very little to complain about a pen that put its opening week struggles behind them with style.
Or What the Lil Poseur Demanded We Watch Instead of Baseball
I'd like to state for the record that I'm not making this part up. This section is literally the thing she asks for so she doesn't have to watch baseball. She wanted to watch "Puppies!" which I thought meant watching adorable puppy videos on YouTube, but no. She was not interested. Instead, she was demanding the remake of Pound Puppies, bringing back a cartoon from my youth in a bit of nostalgia no one asked for. I know of no human being that was misty eyed for the Pound Puppies cartoon. But here we are, and it's back and as lame as ever.
It's hard to be critical of anyone on a weekend the offense banged out 42 hits and scored 31 runs. Kade Scivicque earned SEC Player of the Week honors for generally smacking the crap out of the ball, and hitting two home runs on Saturday. He went 4 for 6 on the weekend with 4 RBI, the only real knock being the fact he didn't play in Game Two.
Look, Paul. I know we don't want Scivicque catching both ends of a doubleheader, and we have a hotshot freshman catcher who demands playing time. I get that, and have no problem with the catching tandem. But for the love of God, Scivicque is the team's best power hitter. On the nights he is not catching, you have to find a place in the order for him. I'm hoping this was just early season roster tinkering, and giving Bryce Jordan a shot. But this is two straight weekends that Scivicque has only played two games. He needs more playing time.
The big story though was Danny Zardon strangling the life out of whatever was left of the third base competition. This ticks me off, as he's depriving me of a month's worth of Vortex of Suck jokes, but Zardon flashed the leather and then also belted a home run. Given the struggles of the backups in the midweek game, Zardon has left his competition in the dust, just two weeks into the season. 4 for 10 with 4 RBI with plus defense is the way you lock down the starter's position. Well done.
After LSU's ineptitude with hitting with runners on earlier in the week, it was good to see LSU respond the one time all weekend the team was in trouble. After Lange's difficult 5th inning, LSU was down 4-2. The bats came alive, and scratched out 3 runs on just two hits (both doubles), aided by a leadoff hit by pitch. Crisis averted, and the team would go on to a 7-4 win. I'm not a huge believer in clutch hitting as a skill, but I do believe in hitting funks, so it was huge for this team to respond at the first sign of adversity.
Tomorrow against SE Louisiana, then a weekend set against Princeton. Incidentally, I'm trying to get my daughter to root for all Tigers, and then bait and switch her and have her go to Princeton. It's still a plan in its infancy.