It didn't have a blow away inning we usually see in early season LSU games, but the Tigers methodically worked over Sacramento St. last night for a 6-0 shutout victory.
Jared Poché continues to improve ever so incrementally into his place as LSU's number 2 starter. With the right management and some more of the good defense and hitting behind him that he had last night, Poché could really rack up a lot of wins this season. He zoomed thorough most of his 6.0 IP, only allowing a base runner or two at a time, and recording 8 Ks to 3 walks. There were a few times he had to battle through an at-bat, which ballooned his pitch count up to 95 by the end of the 6th, but Mainieri was smart to not let him go back out for the 7th and turned the night over to the bullpen who only allowed one more on base the rest of the night. Despite losing a fight with glassware earlier in the week, Jesse Stallings was the same fireball he was earlier in the season last year and might be earning his way back to the closer role. Russel Reynolds' and Doug Norman's outings were uneventful with 1 K each, and that's exactly what you'd want to see. Seeing how this bullpen performs the rest of the weekend is probably what Tiger fans are looking forward to most after what happened at Lamar.
Behind the hurlers, LSU fielding and batting continue to solidify into something that might be a little ahead of schedule from what was expected from the young lineup. O'Neal Lochridge had a particularly good night, going 2 for 3 and showing some versatility with a single, double, and a sac fly RBI. The only thing bad to say about the 3rd baseman is that I think he might be playing his position a little too wide. I don't know if he's being instructed this way or if there's just not as much confidence in our SS play, but I've noticed a few times he goes after some balls that are too far to his left. It nearly caused a fielding error last night on a seemingly routine ground ball that he almost ran over trying to catch in front of the SS. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but it's something to watch for the rest of the weekend. Kramer Robertson continues to flash the leather at 2B and show zero fear, making some great diving stops and catches all over the right side. Combined with his 2 hit, 2 RBI night at the plate and we might be seeing the beginning of a great year for the junior. Overall, LSU just kept needling the Hornets all night until it became a lost cause. Never recording more than 2 hits or 2 runs in an inning, LSU dinked and dunked their way home, making sure to take full advantage of the 4 Sacramento St errors on the night.
Expect some more experimentation today as Mainieri announced he's going to add a few more lefties to the lineup to face Sac St.'s Sr RHP Grant Kukuk.