clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Weekend Preview: #1 LSU @ SCAR

New, 10 comments

The SEC is on the line as LSU travels to Columbia for the final series of the SEC regular season.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina Gamecocks - 31-22 Overall, 12-15 SEC
Rank - N/A
RPI - 56
ISR - 56

LSU firmly controls its own destiny as it heads to South Carolina for the final SEC regular season series of the year. All the Tigers need to do is win two games and the SEC West and regular season crown comes home to Baton Rouge. Also at stake is the overall #1 seed in the SEC tournament and cementing a stronger grip on the overall #1 national seed in the NCAA tournament. Basically, this weekend means a hell of a lot. Of course, you already knew that unless you've been living under a rock the past month or so.

Standing in the way is an opponent looking to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament and coming off a big win at Texas A&M last weekend. South Carolina's season has been inconsistent and well off the mark for a program of their caliber, but getting that big win last weekend has greatly improved their tourney chances. Take 2 of 3 from the consensus #1 team in the nation and they are practically a shoe in for the tournament. Coupling the pressure of making the NCAA tournament with a good home crowd should make Carolina a really tough opponent this weekend.

The Bats

Stat Category

Scar

LSU

Batting Average

0.262

0.319

On Base %

0.356

0.385

Slugging %

0.381

0.467

Runs Scored

301

371

Walks

241

190

Strikeouts

343

269

Home Runs

40

43

Doubles

60

116

Triples

15

21

Steals/Attempts

63-77

101-129

LSU leads South Carolina in every major category except walks. While South Carolina's batting average is fairly unimpressive, they do get on base a lot because they are very patient at the plate. I don't expect the Gamecocks will get cheated much and will work our pitchers hard. The home run numbers are good for Carolina, but they don't get many extra base hits in general. The doubles number seems really low to me. They are a very efficient bunch on the base paths, but aren't nearly as gung ho as the Tigers. Overall, Carolina is a solid but not very flashy offense.

The Arms

Stat Category

Scar

LSU

ERA

4.00

2.84

Opponent BA

0.260

0.232

Innings Pitched

472.1

497.1

Runs Allowed

249

184

Home Runs

31

23

Strikeouts

388

440

Walks

195

181

Wild Pitches

47

26

Saves

17

17

LSU also leads the way in pitching against Carolina. Even though our bullpen has a nack for giving up a lead late in games, the LSU pitching staff is tremendously solid overall.

South Carolina boasts a decent staff as well. The biggest issue for them has been starting pitching. So far, only the Thursday starter, LHP Jack Wynkoop, has been named for the series. Wynkoop has electric stuff. He boasts a 2.83 ERA and an insane 80/13 K/BB ratio on the year. LSU has its work cut out for them in game one. The other potential starters for the weekend have between a 3.02 to 4.91 ERA. Those are pretty good to decent numbers, but nobody in the Carolina staff has the stuff that Wynkoop has. LSU will be in good shape if it can grind a win out against Wynkoop.

Keys to the Weekend

Beat Wynkoop: This is going to be a really tough challenge for the lineup, but beating Wynkoop and taking the first game of the series would be huge for the Tigers. If the bats can get to him, they can probably get to anybody on the Carolina staff.

Minimize extra base hits: The Gamecocks don't hit a lot of doubles, so the more LSU can keep the ball in front of them the better they will be against this Carolina lineup.

Horrible Prediction

LSU wins two of three and takes the SEC regular season. I mean, how could I not predict that?  The Delusional Optimism is strong, and it's backed up by a fair amount of stats. The Gamecocks will be fired up for this series, but so will LSU because so much is on the line for the Tigers.  Honestly, this series should be a lot of fun.