This was the last breather of the season. Every game from here on out will be meaningful, including the South Carolina series. We feel like, at this point we know who and what this team is. We know which starters will show up, and who we can rely on off the bench.
But that doesn't mean we couldn't learn something. With so many starters graduating or expected to leave for pro ball, last night gave us our last and best opportunity to see what this team will look like next season.
The Tigers didn't disappoint.
On the mound, it was a typical midweek game for LSU pitching. The starter (Hunter Devall) pitches three innings, and isn't perfect, but doesn't give up any runs.The bull pen then parades out one inning at a time, and each hurler performs exactly like they have the rest of the season.
Norman looks good. Stallings and Reynolds show some solid stuff. So does Godfrey, but he still gives up a walk. Strall gives up a few hits, but gets out of the inning unscathed. And Alden Cartwright once again gets the ball with a hefty lead and proceeds to give up the only run of the game for the Privateers.
Nothing out of the ordinary. That may not seem very exciting, but it shows consistency, which is exactly what we want. Consistency can be improved upon.
The usual suspects contributed tonight, but the real excitement came from the freshmen that earned a midweek start. Grayson Byrd made a case, not just for next season, but possibly for the postseason this year. Two timely hits for the second generation Tiger produced four RBIs, which lead the team. Michael Papierski also managed a start, and in the seventh inning hit his first career homer for the ninth and final score of the game for LSU.
In all, nine of the 14 players who had official at bats for LSU combined for 12 hits. Overall, it was a steady night at the plate with the Tigers scoring runs in five of nine innings.
Grayson Byrd would get the start at second, and then move to short after Alex Bregman took the last few innings off. Zardon then came in at second, and promptly booted a hot grounder for the only error of the night for LSU. One mistake doesn't immediately bury Zardon's chances, but I'm sure Byrd was feeling pretty good about his prospects of getting another start at that point. Too bad for him (and great for the rest of us) that was also about the time that word got out Jared Foster would be reinstated to the team after his academic eligibility was reviewed.
Michael Papierski also served in his usual midweek catcher role, and showed a little progress since his struggles earlier in the year. This may have been his last start until next season, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the nod early in regional play.
LSU wraps up the regular season at South Carolina starting this Thursday at 6 pm. All three games will be on actual television, with the first and last on SEC Network, and the middle game airing on ESPNU. The Tigers need at least two wins to guarantee first place heading into the tournament.