The LSU offense struggled with inconsistency over the weekend, but still found a way to sweep the series. Although the Tigers averaged seven runs over the series, getting those totals was not always done in the most pleasing manner.
Perhaps no game epitomized this more than Saturday’s game against Central Arkansas, a game which LSU won 9-2, but trailed 2-0 entering the 4th inning. A double from Amanda Doyle and a single from Elyse Thornhill coupled with an error gave the Tigers runners on second and third with no outs. The next batter, Allie Walljasper put down a sacrifice, allowing Michal Cunningham, who pinch ran for Doyle to score. Next, a sacrifice from Amber Serrett scored Thornhill to tie the game. After LSU tacked on a run in the 5th on a Bailey Landry double, the Tiger offense exploded for six runs pushing the total to nine.
What’s missed in the final score was how seemingly inept the LSU offense looked. For each of the first three innings, LSU had at least one runner in scoring position, perhaps the most notable instance was when Landry failed to score off a one-out triple.
If there was some consistency on offense this weekend it came in the form of Landry. After posting a solid opening weekend, Landry exploded, going 10-for-12 with 10 RBI’s, four runs scored, a triple and a home run en route to being named SEC Player of the Week. Another player with a good weekend was Serrett who went 3-for-9 and hit her second home run of the season. Serrett’s performance in particular is good news since she is one of those critical bottom-half hitters who adds depth to the offense.
On the pitching end, the only real bit of news involved Maribeth Gorsuch. The freshman logged just an inning and a third, facing ten batters and left with the bases loaded having allowed three runs in the second inning of Sunday’s game against Georgia Southern. Walljasper came in and allowed just one run on a sacrifice fly, before ending the Georgia Southern threat. After these last two outings, Gorsuch’s opportunity to make an impact this season is running out. Maybe she gets one more start after this one but not many, if any, for the rest of the season.
Gorsuch aside, everyone else was awesome. Sydney Smith allowed three hits and a walk while striking out six. Walljasper pitched a combined 12.2 innings over the weekend, allowing eight hits, striking out 8 and and letting just one earned run scored. Carley Hoover did her usual magic in the form of a complete game one-hitter, striking out 12 in the process.
Something else that made an appearance this weekend, and not the welcome type, was LSU’s defensive problems with five errors in four games. LSU still only has seven errors, well back of the SEC’s worst defender, Georgia, which has 17.
Ultimately this weekend was about finding some closure regarding the offense, specifically that the bottom part of the lineup could come through. It was good to see Serrett have a solid weekend at the plate but that still doesn't appear to be enough. Second base in particular seems to be a an offensive void as Nicky Dawson is hitting .143 and Connie Quinn is hitting .118. The freshman Dawson posting such a disappointing line is perhaps acceptable given her inexperience, but for a veteran in Quinn to be posting those numbers is very concerning. Aliyah Andrews is serviceable but needs more at bats to figure out her true offensive value while Shemiah Sanchez had just an okay weekend at the plate.
Going into the Mary Nutter Classic, it’s hard to be very confident about this offense. Ideally, against some inferior competition, the unit should have been better, even if the final totals were strong. However, the absolute necessity for this weekend was to come out with four wins and LSU did just that. Maybe next weekends series will reveal LSU’s championship form.