In a doubleheader, especially one that occurs on a 3rd straight day of games, pitching is your most precious commodity. It was clear early on in game 1 that, especially with the nice lead the offense was building, Jake Godfrey was going to have to get himself out of whatever mess he found himself in and eat up some innings. Despite giving up 6 hits and 3 walks on the night, including 2 walks that led to 2 runs scoring on a bases loaded single in the 2nd, Godfrey was left alone to figure it out. With the nice cushion of a 5 run lead, Godfrey stayed in for 5.2 IP and ended his day right at 90 pitches. Behind him, the returning Hunter Newman had a great display, giving up 1 hit and stirking out 3 over 2.1 IP, with Kyle Bouman finishing up the win in a quiet 9th.
At the plate, it was an exceptional afternoon for Jake Fraley, who had gotten the starting nod in left field. Back-to-back triples in the 1st and 2nd innings, the later combining with a wide throw to 3rd turning the play into an inside-the-park grand slam of sorts, set the tone for the day. In his return from injury to center field, Andrew Stevenson went 2 for 4 with a RBI, but was held out from the night cap in an abundance of caution. I expect he'll be back to regular appearances this week.
In the nightcap, the bottom fell out for Princeton and LSU pounced on the opportunity. 15 runs on 21 hits distributed between the 3rd and 7th innings as things just got ridiculous. The highlight of the night came in the 5th when Jared Foster and Alex Bregman knocked multi-run HRs to left. mainieri emptied his bench completely, leading to two of the oddest sights we'll likely see from LSU baseball this season. Alex Bregman was put on the bench for Grayson Byrd in the 6th, a move that has happened maybe once previously in Bregman's career. We also saw relief pitcher Kyle Bouman inserted to pinch hit in the bottom of the 8th. The result was one for the history books.
Elsewhere on the mound, we saw what the bottom end of the LSU bullpen looks like at the moment. After a great 3 hit, 6 strikeout, 6 IP outing from Alex Lange and a quite inning from Austin Bain, Russell Reynolds relief efforts in the 8th let the game drag on much longer than it should. Princeton wasn't about to quit early in their 3rd game of the year, no matter the score, and the Ivy Tigers roughed Reynolds up for 4 runs on 4 hits. He would not get out of the inning as walk-on Ryan May came in to end the late rally. Hunter Devall would pitch a quiet 9th for the 15-4 victory and season sweep.
It's one of those weekends where you have to make a judgement call and it's hard to tell what any of it really means. LSU's 22 run on 31 hits on Saturday is great, but was it more a product of the competition given by Princeton than any actual improvement at the plate? Will Godfrey's performance still be what's needed to win when there isn't a nice lead behind him? The stiff competition in Houston will surely answer those question and more, just in time for the SEC season only 2 weeks away.