Let's start by clearing the air on something: bees are your bros. The last thing a bumblebee wants to do is hurt you. You should be returning these feelings, because bees are dying at an alarming rate globally and that means bad things for us humans.
Hornets, on the other hand, serve no purpose on this Earth other than be the douchebags of nature. They exist to make your life miserable, even if you can easily do a lot worse to them than they can do to you. Hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, whatever, they're all assholes.
Back in the endless summer days spent playing wiffle ball in backyards, I remember when a home run was hit off the awning of the house, directly hitting a hornet nest. It was our last ball and someone had to go get it, but the parents of the house were not home and hornet spray was nowhere to be found. So I called my dad to see if he could bring us some, and in truly Livingston Parish dad fashion, he simply told me to spray WD-40 on the nest.
That was the day the powers of WD-40 went from myth to an actuality for me. If you think I'm making this up, watch.
Sacramento State is quietly a consistently good baseball program on the upswing. They made the NCAA tournament in 2014 and just missed the cut last year. They opened the 2016 season by taking two out of three from Auburn on the Plains.
The Hornets came to Baton Rouge and promptly lost game one 6-0. As far as baseball games go, it was an incredibly by the numbers showing that featured Jared Poche' going six innings with only two hits recorded, putting away eight via strikeouts and only allowing one walk. Whiffle ball, meet hornet nest.
On Saturday, the Hornets jumped out to a one run lead in the second inning. LSU answered with four in their half of the third, and Sacramento State put up two more the following inning to keep the game within one run. For four innings, all was quiet on the western front. Down to their last three outs, Hornet lead-off batter Chris Lewis reached when his ground ball took a bad hop and clipped shortstop Cole Freeman in the groin. Lewis was advanced to second on a single from Kody Reynolds and scored on another from Matt Smith to tie the game. Reynolds moved to third on Smith's single and scored the go ahead run on a sac fly from Vinny Esposito.
Saturday was a perfect storm of bad luck baseball and Alex Lange having a terrible day...by Alex Lange standards. Lange only went five and gave up three runs off six hits, all earned. In the process he also struck out nine and was not on the hook for the loss, but it was a performance we're not used to seeing out of Alex.
It's easy to forget that you can easily inflict much more harm to a Hornet that it can to you, even though they sting like hell. On Sunday, LSU responded like anybody does when stung: by going after the whole nest. Sacramento State held LSU in check for the first two innings of the rubber match, but in the 5th the floodgates opened and LSU dropped half a decade on the Hornets. The LSU offense would not let up and scored six more runs before it was over.
John Valek III was on the other end to handcuff the Sacramento State lineup, going seven strong on four hits and one run. He only struck out one and walked two, but Valek frustrated the Hornet hitters into submission, handing a ten run lead to the bullpen combination of Bugg and Stallings who took the Tigers home to a series win.
Hornets, meet WD-40.
Despite the two losses this week, the Tigers look like a much more gelled squad than they did on the opening weekend. There is still some turnover at positions, but it's getting to the point where I can see a natural rotation coming out from it. It's still early in the season and LSU still has two weeks to work on it before SEC play begins.
It's a small sample size, but the likes of Antoine Duplantis and Kramer Robertson have been impressive. As a freshman Twonnie has managed to miss growing pangs completely, boasting the highest OBP of the team (.483) and only striking out once so far. Kramer has occasionally flashed his bat (which if you've watched LSU in the past two years, you know is surprising) but his area of progression is his plate discipline, coaxing six walks. It used to be Kramer was an offensive liability, now he's actually a plus player at the plate.
The bullpen has some concerns, and I have addressed them before, but it's still early enough in the season to believe that they will sort themselves out and find their respective grooves.
LSU is away on Wednesday when they go to Thibodaux to play GLORIOUS COMRADES OF PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF NICHOLLS STATE, then they host Fordham on a Friday-Saturday series, with games at 2:00 and 6:30 (or 30 minutes following the conclusion of game two). The fight against Communism will be broadcast on CST and the Fordham series will be on SEC Network +.