The No.8 Tigers were shutout in three consecutive games, allowing No. 16 Kentucky to sweep three games from the Tigers.
In a new low, not only were the Tigers shutout for three consecutive games for the first time since 2009, they also went an amazingly bad 1-for-40 with runners on base, leaving a total of 25 runners stranded over the series.
Credit to Beth Torina for mixing up the lineup to spark the offense when needed, but the struggles of this past weekend were not on a poor lineup card. It wasn’t as if the Tigers got completely dominated by a very good Kentucky pitching staff either. LSU had at least four hits and three walks in each game, while striking out no more than six times in any game of the series.
The unit which did its job this weekend was the pitching staff. Carley Hoover threw a one-hitter in the opener striking out ten. Allie Walljasper followed that up with a complete game performance allowing three runs and striking out four. Hoover concluded the series with another complete game, this time allowing two hits and striking out six. Torina did not use Sydney Smith at all this weekend, a somewhat understandable move considering how effective Hoover was in the opener. However, the move to start a pitcher twice in the weekend continues to add fatigue to LSU’s top starters.
On a positive, the Kentucky series wraps what should be the last really tough series of the regular season. The next three series for the Tigers include SEC-bottom feeders, Mississippi State, Arkansas and South Carolina with the final series coming against Washington. None of those three teams were ranked in the latest poll and none of those four schools received a vote.
Overall, this is a series the Tigers must put behind them quickly. This was a bad, bad sweep and the effects cannot linger going forward. Although the next few weeks might not be the toughest competition, the pitching entering the postseason will be as good if not better than some of the current staff’s the Tigers face in the SEC. Torina can adjust the lineup as much as she wants but if no one is executing, those adjustments won’t make much of a difference.
LSU hits the road for a Wednesday contest against Southeastern Louisiana and then Mississippi State beginning Friday.