The No.4 Tigers dropped two out of three to No.11 Texas A&M in College Station, marking the first time this season the Tigers have dropped a weekend series, which saw the Aggies offense, pitching and defense outperform the Tigers.
Of those three areas the most alarming was the poor performance of the LSU pitching staff. It started with Carly Hoover having an off performance Friday, going the distance but surrendering six runs on seven hits and five walks in a 6-2 defeat. Then on Sunday, both Hoover and Allie Walljasper surrendered four earned runs in the rubber game, a 9-5 Aggie win. Although Walljasper struggled in the finale, she did pitch a complete game on Saturday, allowing one run on four hits, striking out two and walking none.
The LSU offense was stifled throughout the series. Friday’s game saw the Tigers limited to just three hits and two runs. In the series finale LSU scored just one run through five innings and had it not been for a four run outburst in the sixth, the final tally would have been even more lopsided. It wasn’t as if the Aggie pitching staff was pitching particularly lights out as the Tigers drew five walks in each of the five games, but LSU just generally failed to capitalize. Sahvanna Jaquish and Kellsi Kloss in particular had a bad weekend, combining to go 4-of-20 in the series with zero RBI. Emily Griggs failed to record a hit over the series. If there was a positive of the weekend it was Elyse Thornhill going 4-of-7 with five RBI.
The Tiger defense added six more errors on the weekend, including four in the 6-1 victory on Saturday. The 39 errors committed by LSU is the second worst total in the SEC behind the 40 committed by Arkansas.
Understanding this weekend’s outcome is acknowledging Texas A&M being one of the better SEC teams. They have been steadily moving up the rankings and even in the pre-season it was clear A&M was not a bottom feeder team. Still, this series showed why pitching depth is so important for the Tigers long term success. When Hoover struggled on Friday, it put the Tigers behind the mark for the rest of the weekend, even after Walljasper pitched so well on Saturday.
Offensively, the lack of output this weekend is disappointing but not concerning considering that the Tigers have won low scoring games this season and have had success off of better pitching staffs.
What can’t happen now is dwelling on this past performance. This was just the second series in SEC play and just two games back of first, the Tigers are still very well situated to win the conference regular season.
A more immediate reason why the Tigers can’t dwell on the a&M series is that No.1 Florida is coming to Tiger Park for three games this Friday in what is for now, and probably will be, the most important series of the regular season.