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LSU Baseball Weekend Review: The Right Timing

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LSU's juggernaut run through the last part of their schedule clears the biggest obstacle in their path, toppling #1 ranked Florida.

Adam Henderson

For almost three full innings Thursday night, Logan Shore-Alex Lange looked like the ace showdown it was thought to be. Both pitchers had surrendered two hits apiece before the rains came and the game was suspended. In the bottom of the third with one out and Cole Freeman on base with Antoine Duplantis facing a full count, the rain came. After a lengthy delay, the (unpopular) decision was made to pause the game and resume it Saturday at 11 and make game three of the series a seven inning affair.

With game one paused at a scoreless tie, AJ Puk and Jared Poche' looked to square off in game two of the series. Only once again, the matchup would end up getting cut short. AJ Puk would exit after two innings with a one one lead stemming from a bunt and throwing error from LSU. As soon as Puk was lifted, the dogfight began. Duplantis singled Freeman to third before Jake Fraley scored the lead runner with a single.

Things went silent in the fourth inning, but in the following inning Duplantis and Fraley would string back to back singles. Fraley fell victim to a fielder's choice induced by Kramer Robertson's bat, but the speedy Twonnie moved the third and scored on a liner to the six hole to give the Tigers the lead.

Florida would level the playing field in the next inning with a solo shot by Mike Rivera. This would be the last inning of work from Poche', who turned in about as good of a performance as you can ask for against the best team in the nation: six innings, seven hits and two walks with only one strikeout, but only two runs scored and one of them earned.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Greg Deichmann singled to right. Then Cole Freeman just barely snuck one over third base, tripling in Deichmann. Duplantis' speed once again showed huge in the game, as he beat out the throw from shortstop Dalton Guthrie to allow Deichmann to score from third base.

Florida respond by touching Russell Reynolds for two runs as well starting with a Jonathon India single to right field and steal of second. Buddy Reed walked and both advanced on a wild pitch. Nelson Maldonado would score both runs, tying the game. LSU would respond with Cole Drank reaching on a fielding error preceding a Duplantis single. Kramer Robertson singled in Freeman, and that mean that LSU had the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning.

When LSU has the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, that means Hunter Newman is called upon to pitch. And when Hunter Newman is called upon to pitch, that usually doesn't bode well for LSU's opponents.

This time was no different. Newman retired all three Gators he faced, and LSU was a game up on the number one team in the nation.

At 11 a.m. sharp on Saturday morning, Duplantis took the first pitch he saw from Brady Singer, a ball that walked Duplantis. Fraley legged out an infield single to third to load the bases for Kramer Robertson, who also beat out an infield single to the pitcher, scoring Freeman nearly 40 hours after he had singled. That's all LSU would get with the bases loaded, as Jordan Romero (who had struggled all weekend) and Chris Reid struck out.

Riley Smith took over for Lange and promptly gave up a double to JJ Scharwz. Reed advanced Scharwz on a groundout before he scored on a wild pitch. LSU put up another run in the following inning to take the lead again when Bryce Jordan singled followed by his brother reaching on a throwing error, advancing his brother to third. Deichmann singled Bryce home, but Beau would be out on the throw to second.

In the fifth inning LSU would drop a five spot on the Gators, starting with a walk from Duplantis. Fraley and Robertson singled to load the bases. However, Jordan Romero grounded into a double play where Duplantis was thrown at at home by the pitcher. However Chris Reed would draw a walk to re-load the bases and Bryce Jordan would get hit by a pitch for the 23rd time this year, a school record. His brother Beau also walked to score a run, although he did it the hard way. With the bases loaded, Greg Deichmann roped a double to left center for three runs.

Florida answered with an infield single and double followed by a single up the middle for two runs to chase Riley Smith, but Parker Bugg was able to come in and work three perfect innings to close out the game and win the series.

Due to rules and such, since there were two games* being played on Saturday, the second game would be a seven-inning affair. With the series already lost, Florida would jump out of the box with a two run lead in the first inning thanks to a walk and two errors. Jake Fraley homered in the bottom half of the first, but that was it. Outside of the first, Caleb Gilbert threw for three strong innings before falling apart in the fifth inning when he allowed runners on the corners. Gilbert was lifted for Russell Reynolds, who promptly hit a batter before giving up a three run double to Jonathon India. LSU responded with a triple from Kramer Robertson and a double from Reid that would up to a run, but that would close the scoring for the day as Florida took the finale from LSU 6-2.

LSU moves on to the SEC Tournament (also called the LSU Invitational) where they will play Tennessee Tuesday night at 8:00 on the SEC Network in a single elimination game. If LSU advances, then they will be playing in the double elimination portion of the tournament.