Gather around everybody, have you heard the latest dance craze? It's exactly like the one we've done before, where we sweep a SEC team. Many things of the past experience a revival, and this is the latest case of such. If you have forgotten how to wriggle your body to the forbidden rhythm that constitutes this dance move, don't worry, I have you covered with step by step instructions on how to do this ancient mating ritual.
Step 1 - Clear The Fence
This is the most basic move in this order of bodily movements and is what LSU was best at this weekend. LSU put five pitches beyond the limits of the outfield wall at Taylor Stadium, three coming via the Jordan Brothers Baseball Moving Company that included a grand salami from Beau Jordan. All told, LSU racked up 40 hits this weekend in CoMo. That's forty, and that's a lot. Exactly half of them came on a 15-2 beatdown Sunday to complete the sweep, while 13 came on the back and forth contest Friday night that ended with a 7-5 Bayou Bengal victory. Despite getting outhit 10 to 7 on Saturday, LSU did more with their hits than Missouri did, and the difference ended up being Beau's four run no-doubter.
Whatever Kramer Robertson was on, he needs to remain on. During the three game set, Kramer went six for 13 and despite only two RBIs, Robertson accounted for seven of LSU's 31 runs on the weekend.
Step 2 - Throw The Ball
Some will argue this is the most important step in the chain of movements that constitute the dance we all know and love so well. What you can't argue is that this is the dance move that LSU wasn't as crisp in when compared to the others. The weekend got off to a rocky start as Jared Poche' let up a single and walk that directly lead to two runs when Zach Lavy took him for a triple in the first inning. Poche' kept everything under wraps until the sixth when Lavy once again tagged Poche', this time for a double. Another double followed before Poche' got out of the sixth, but the seventh wasn't much better. Newman was called upon after Poche' gave up a solo shot to draw the game within one. Newman continued to throw absolute junk, only giving up one hit and no walks in three innings of work to close out game one.
Game two was billed as a battle of the sophomores with a big matchup between Tanner Houck vs. Alex Lange and... a showdown it was not. Lange went for seven, giving up four runs on seven hits and as un-Alex Lange as he was, Tanner Houck was less impressive, giving up eight runs on six hits in the same workload, all earned. That support from the LSU offense was enough to coast on to win the series. Behind an offensive airstrike on Sunday, John Valek III cruised to six innings with five hits leading to only two runs.
Step 3 - Collect The Ball
The final step in our little boogie is the most overlooked part. This step is simple: be better at defense than the other team. And Missouri was bad, while LSU committed error free baseball. Mizzou wasn't given any freebies, everything they did get was earned. The outfield showed their range and the infield smothered balls. This was the final nail in the coffin for Missouri and the the last piece to this jigsaw we call a dance.
And that's how you do the SEC Sweep. Just when you think its going out of style, it comes back into the public forefront. It's funny how that goes.
This team is a far cry of the one that went to College Station and left with their tails between their legs. The pitching has always been there but Hunter Newman has really grown into a rock at the end of the bullpen. The offense has turned a complete 180, from struggling to scrape runs together against Alabama to putting on an air show in Columbia, and the defense has gelled from a rag tag group of ill-fitting pieces into a solid defensive unit with defined rotations.
This team is heating up, and that's bad news for a everybody else in a conference where the teams at the top have stumbled at the mid point of the season.
LSU's hot streak will be tested this week. They're at home all week and all against tough opponents, the first being Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday at 6:30 on SECN+, and then arch rivals Mississippi State Friday-Sunday. The State series will be on the "Upgrade" package on the ESPN family, with game one being on SECN+ at 6:30, game two on ESPNU at 7:00, and the finale showing live on ESPN2 at high noon. Maybe we'll be dancing next weekend, but let's cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, bring in the dancing lobsters.
Game 1 - LSU 7, Mizzou 5
Game 2 - LSU 9, Mizzou 5
Game 3 - LSU 15, Mizzou 2