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Baseball Weekend Preview: LSU vs Sacramento St

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The Sacramento St. Hornets buzz into Alex Box Stadium for the second weekend series of the year.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Hello! Welcome to another edition of the LSU Baseball Weekend Preview!

Yes, you can insult me for that intro blurb. It was truly terrible.

After sweeping Cincinnati last weekend and a crushing loss against Lamar in Beaumont on Wednesday, LSU welcomes Sacramento State to Alex Box Stadium Skip Bertman Field. I wasn't fully aware of this, but apparently the WAC is somehow still a thing, just without football. Which is a bit pointless. Honestly, after Louisiana Tech left the WAC it was pretty much dead to me, so whatever. Good for the WAC. Let's take a look at the...uhhh...(looks up Sac St. mascot)...Hornets!

Sacramento State Hornets

Record: 4-1

Recent Record: 2-1 series win at Auburn (ed. note HAHAHAHAHA AUBURN), Win at Northwestern State

2015 Record: 33-27, 16-11 WAC

Hornetzzzzzz Bats (all stats from 2015, 2016 is still cooking)

Player

Yr

Pos

BA

HR

RBI

Slg%

OB%

Chris Lewis

Sr

UTL

0.275

5

32

0.407

0.335

Brandon Hunley

Jr

INF

0.243

4

25

0.383

0.332

Vinny Esposito

So

INF

0.251

8

28

0.423

0.314

I know the first thought that runs through my mind every time I see a team from the west coast is "small-ball," which I hate. Well, thankfully, it doesn't appear that Sacramento St. play a whole lot of small-ball. They only had 33 bunts last year.

The Hornets do take some risks on the bases. They were 79-109 in stolen bases last year, but their top two base runners from last year are gone. However, they are off to a good start in this department, haven stolen 11 bases in their first four games.

None of the returning players had a batting average above 0.300 last season, so I wouldn't expect them to be spraying the ball all over the Box either. Just make contact and hope to get on base as much as possible so they can steal bases to get guys in scoring position.

Esposito and Lewis are the biggest power threats for the Horents, but neither are overwhelming. They had the third and fourth highest slugging % for Sac St. last year, and Esposito lead the team in home runs. We saw in the Lamar game that LSU is capable of giving up big hits, so LSU needs to be on guard with these guys.

Hornets Arms

Player

Yr

Pos

IP

ERA

K

BB

BAA

Sam Long

So

RHP

89.2

2.81

63

28

0.198

Grant Kukuk

Sr

RHP

25.1

4.97

17

6

0.283

Max Karnos

Jr

RHP

3.0

15.00

2

3

0.444

Where Sacramento State really shines is on the mound. Sam Long is a legit Friday starter who will probably give the Tigers fits. Long has had a great career at Sac St. He boasts a career 2.96 ERA and was an All-WAC Preseason team selection last year. He doesn't walk many batters, so LSU is going to have to earn those runs on Friday.

I know the rest of this list looks weird, and that's because Sacramento St has drastically altered their rotation this weekend. Justin Dillion, their Saturday starter at Auburn and a pitcher with 10 starts last season, was injured on the fifth pitch of the game. Kukuk came on for Dillion and pitched really well considering the circumstances, going 4.2 innings and only surrendering two runs (one earned run). Karnos, a JUCO transfer, was a bit more erratic in his first start, going three innings and surrendering 6 runs, five of them earned.

Should you be worried?

Moderate alert. Sacramento St lacks the lineup quality of Lamar, but they have a pretty darn good pitching staff. Sam Long will be another good early season test like Andrew Zellner was last weekend. Please God don't let there be extra innings again.

What's the weather going to be like?

weather

sunshine2

Best Logo I Found on Google Image Search

SAC

What the? It's like they took the hornet, slapped Joe Pesci's face on it, and gave it a sweatshirt. Also note the cartoon font for the logo on the sweatshirt. This thing is freaking hilarious. D+

Prediction?

LSU takes two out of three, losing one in either infuriating or hilarious fashion. Infuriating or hilarious depends on your personal level of nihilism.