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Weekend Review: #1! #1! #1!

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LSU takes down the 2nd ranked Aggies

Steve Franz, LSUSports.net

The biggest regular season series in the new Alex Box was a roaring success. It's not every day #1 faces off against #2, and it's even less often that the series actually delivers. This was had it all, as the two sides took turns landing haymakers against one another. LSU walks away with the series win, but was unable to complete the sweep on Saturday. The Tigers showed their fangs, but let's be honest, this fight isn't over. The Aggies don't go back to College Station overawed.

THE RANKINGS

Polls: 1st

RPI: 5th

ISR: 2nd

The pollsters love LSU, and with good reason. LSU is the best team in the best conference in America, and just dispatched the other team in the SEC with a legitimate claim at being the best team in the nation. The computers don't care about such things, but both the RPI and Boyd World's ISR can see the Tigers' quality. LSU is comfortably a national seed by any reasonable metric.

THE PITCHING

Jared Poche' showed why he is the #1 starter this weekend. Look, he's not as talented as Lange, but he is settling into the unofficial Louis Coleman upperclassman bad-ass role (yes, I know he's a sophomore, work with me here). Poche' scattered six hits over seven, and only got one strike out in the game, but he kept LSU in the game and left Game 1 with a 3-2 lead, in line for the win. Of course, the bullpen came in and dumped gasoline everywhere and lit a match. Bugg left the bases loaded in the 8th, and Stallings wasted no time in blowing the lead in the 9th with a leadoff triple. Godfrey came in to save the lost save, and he eventually worked his way out of another bases loaded jam. When you load the bases in the last two innings of a one-run game, consider that a bad sign.

Speaking of bad signs, the ill effects of the early season overuse of Alex Lange keep popping up. Lange wasn't terrible, but he wasn't sharp either, allowing 5 walks over 5.1 innings. He's now allowed 13 walks over his last three starts, and skipped a start in the middle of that run. His control hasn't exactly abandoned him, but it's no longer at laser precision. He let up 5 runs in 5.1 innings, and worse yet, allowed a run in four of the six innings he pitched. He was always in trouble. This time, however, the bullpen looked awesome and Newman and Reynolds combined for 3.1 innings of mostly dominant ball. The bullpen decided to giveth on Friday.

Austin Bain only had one bad inning on Saturday, but it was enough. He only allowed one earned run, but the four unearned runs, all in the third, all with two outs, loom large. He just could not get out of the inning, and dug a hole that LSU just couldn't get out of. We could blame the defense, but the fielders made some great plays over the weekend, too. At the end of the day, it's the pitcher on the hook for not allowing runs, earned or not. It's not an outing that's worth panicking over, particularly when LSU already had the series wrapped up, but it wasn't one he'll put on the highlight reel.

INTERLUDE

What Lil Poseur Demanded We Watch Instead of Baseball

She caught an ad for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and started screaming at the TV for "TURTLES!" As a fan of TMNT myself and a proud owner of the original Eastman and Laird comics, I readily acquiesced to her request. Come on, let's do some turtle power.

And... oh my God. First off, Seth Green and Sean Astin! Good to see those guys slumming on cartoon voiceover work. Such is the power of the turtles. But the episode we watched was apparently The Thing for kids. Now, I love The Thing and consider it one of the finest horror movies ever made. It is also a horror movie, and now I think I've permanently scarred my child. As soon as we made it through that psychological trauma, it appeared that the next episode was an homage to Friday the Thirteenth. Come on, guys. You're killing me. I've already put a down payment for future therapy bills. She loved it, of course.

THE HITTING

I know the Tigers had about a billion hits in Game 3 (estimated and unofficial) and only eked out two runs, but it's hard to complain given Game 1's result. LSU worked its way out of consecutive bases loaded jams and then Danny Zardon, of all people, came through with the clutch game winning hit. At that moment, LSU lost all rights to complain about timely hitting in the series. Game 1 was decided by LSU's timely hitting and A&M's lack thereof.

However, the most fun we had was the final three innings of Game 2. I was ready to turn off the game in frustration, and the Posette did go to bed early. So, of course, she took full credit for the rally the next morning. But that 7-run explosion in two innings, down 5-2, was the kind of thing we just expect out of LSU baseball. That was the #1 team in the nation coming alive and asserting its dominance. The most encouraging thing about the rally was just how relentless it was. It wasn't just one big hit, it was hit after hit after hit. Just about everyone contributed, and that's what the best team in the nation is supposed to do. It was a tour de force.

NEXT UP

Tuesday against Alcorn and then a trip to those bastards in Starkville. A&M might be the #2 team in the country, but they will never be as hated by LSU as State in baseball. I don't want to sweep them, I want to wipe them off the face of the earth. State's in dead last in the SEC West, and I don't want that to change. Sweep the leg, Johnny.