I don't know if it's because my little brother went to UNO, or just knowing all that the school has gone through before and after Hurricane Katrina, but it's hard to pull against the Privateers. That's not to say I didn't want LSU to beat them soundly, but you hope to see a good game; especially when your coach is facing his mentor.
But while the contest against UNO was pretty much a blowout, Wednesday's game against the 2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Central Regional Champion Northwestern State Demons did provide a little bit of intrigue, as Natchitoches' finest managed to keep the game relatively close until the late innings.
Oh, and Tuesday was military appreciation night, which LSU always does pretty well.
Against UNO, Bouman got the start, but Reynolds got the win, and that's pretty indicative of how the two have performed lately. While Reynolds isn't perfect, he's definitely making his case as reliable long reliever/midweek starter. Before the game, the talk was that Mainieri didn't want to use much more than two pitchers, and despite bringing Devall in to close out the final inning, he managed to stick to his plan. All told, the three gave up nine hits, but only Bouman sacrificed a pair of runs.
The Northwestern State game was a different story entirely. Godfrey plugged the first batter on the first pitch, and continued to struggle early before settling in for a full five innings. Despite giving up three earned runs, Godfrey earned his sixth win and is undefeated on the year, which doesn't sound right when you think about it. He's struggled at times against lesser opponents, but somehow has managed to survive.
From the sixth inning on it felt like LSU almost had to empty the bullpen as relievers would vary wildly from competent to less than. Norman seemed to struggle the most, issuing a walk and a hit-by-pitch, while also giving up two hits and a pair of runs. He didn't start out great, but seemed more flustered after the third base umpire accosted him for something having to do with rubbing dirt on his leg.
This wouldn't have stood out to me much if it wouldn't have been for an official (from a completely different crew) challenging a UNO pitcher about something similar the night before. I doubt much comes of it, but there may have been an emphasis placed on watching for scuffing or otherwise doctoring a ball or grip.
In total we saw Godfrey, Strall, Norman, Newman, Person, and Bugg combine to give up eight hits and six runs. Not ideal.
Streaks! I love hitting streaks because they just feel self perpetuating, and can carry over from minor games into big time series. Currently the Tigers are riding an insane 12 game streak of double-digit hits, adding 14 and 15 respectively this week. Chinea has been absolutely lights out at the plate lately, with four consecutive three-hit games under his belt. Schambra also managed back-to-back three hit games, each featuring a solo home run. That makes for three homers on the season for him.
Bregman also continued to dominate on the base paths against the Demons, reaching base four times, and earning four stolen bases while he was in the neighborhood. Fraley and Foster would also add solo home runs against Northwestern State, helping to keep the game out of reach.
While the game against UNO didn't see too many notable plays and no errors, there were a few web gems against the Demons. The biggest was a 1-4-6-3 double play that ricocheted off Collin Strall's glove and was scooped by Foster at second who managed to make the throw to Bregman while nearly laying on his side. Bregman then unleashed an absolute rocket to get the runner at first. It was beautiful, I could watch it for days (2:41 mark below).
Zardon would commit the only error for the tigers between the two games, dropping a short hopper to third in the ninth inning against the Demons. Zardon was in for Connor Hale who injured his elbow against UNO. Hale is considered day-to-day.
At home against the Barners. 7 PM Friday first pitch with all three games on SEC Network+.