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Baseball Weekend Preview: #10 LSU vs #1 Florida

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Last regular season series is a real humdinger.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

LSU took care of business in a big way last weekend. LSU has struggled to play up to its competition all season, and it was refreshing to see the Tigers play up to their potential against an outmatched opponent. With 17 wins in the bag, the guys are in good shape to swipe a regional host and got themselves back into the discussion for national seed. And of course it comes down to Florida. Ugh.

The Gators own one of the best records in the country. They are 43-9 overall and 18-8 in SEC play. It's actually a testament to the quality of the rest of the SEC that a series loss at LSU could deny the Gators the SEC regular season title. I hope that happens.

Florida Gators

Record: 43-9 overall, 18-8 SEC, 12-5 Away

Rank: #1 D1baseball.com

RPI/ISR: 1st/1st

Hey lookie there, the number one rank, RPI and ISR. Yeah, this is going to be fun!

Florida Bats

Player

Yr

Pos

BA

Slg

OBP

HR

RBI

K

BB

Peter Alonso

Jr

1B

0.352

0.581

0.455

9

47

28

28

Dalton Guthrie

So

SS

0.321

0.396

0.382

1

19

22

19

Mike Rivera

So

C

0.267

0.471

0.363

8

44

21

19

Team

0.284

0.432

0.377

44

299

314

231

Florida has a good, but not great offense. They rank about mid-pack in all the SEC stats, and don't really overwhelm opponents in a lot of ways.  The Gators generate a fair bit of power though. They are third overall in the conference in slugging percentage and are fourth overall in home runs. Peter Alonso is the biggest power bat in their lineup, but he won't be in action this weekend because of a hand fracture sustained last weekend against Vanderbilt. Mike Rivera is the next power bat, and he isn't nearly as consistent at Alonso.

Florida Arms

Player

Yr

Pos

IP

ERA

K

BB

BBA

SV

Logan Shore

JR

RHP

82.2

2.29

76

12

0.22

0

A.J. Puk

JR

LHP

56.1

2.88

82

27

0.189

0

Alex Faedo

SO

RHP

72.2

3.59

99

13

0.216

0

Shaun Anderson

JR

RHP

35.1

1.02

48

5

0.211

10

Team

471.1

2.92

544

123

0.225

16

Good God can Kevin O'Sullivan put together a pitching staff. Florida has consistently put together great pitching staffs and this season is no different. The Gators lead the SEC in ERA, strikeouts, walks, and runs allowed. They've only given up 167 runs this season. For contrast, LSU has given up 243. About the only thing they don't do well is not hit batters. They actually lead the SEC in hit batters with 54. I could wax on about how great each of the individual starters has been, but I think the numbers speak for themselves.  Puk has had a bit of a down year, but don't ever count out a power throwing left handed pitcher.

The Florida pitching staff doesn't beat itself, so the Tigers will need to put the ball in play as much as possible. If the Tigers can avoid letting Florida rack up strikeouts, they should be in every game.

Should you be worried?

Duh. Florida's pitching staff is phenomenal and you can never tell which LSU lineup will show up. If LSU gets guys on base, we are in business. If we can't buy a base runner? It's going to be a long three days.

How's the weather going to be?

Saturday might be a double header. Nobody panic.

Best Logo on Google Image Search

This is like some weird take on Spaceship Earth or something? Yeah, I dunno.

Prediction

Florida takes two of three. LSU makes it interesting, but struggles to score in two of the three games. May Rally Possum strike me down for my blasphemy.