LSU dropped two of three to Auburn over the weekend, with some familiar issues emerging in the two losses.
Defense was the main problem on the weekend as both of LSU’s losses came by one run in which the deciding run came in on a LSU error. In Friday’s game, an error by Connie Quinn in the fifth plated the go-ahead run. On Sunday, a throwing error by Shemiah Sanchez allowed Auburn to walk-off in the bottom of the seventh.
Additionally, the LSU pitching did not have it’s typically strong form. Aside from Carley Hoover’s shutout in the first game on Sunday, neither Allie Walljasper nor Sydney Smith were particularly effective in their outting. Smith allowed four runs in her four innings of work, walking four and surrendering five hits. Walljasper was a bit better, logging three earned on five hits and a walk in four and a third innings. While Hoover had a strong outing in the early, she blew the lead in her relief appearance in the late game.
It wasn’t all bad news on the weekend as the LSU offense was solid over the three game stretch. Game two’s run rule victory will stand out. Rightly so given LSU’s struggles offensively, Auburn’s elite pitching staff, and the fact that run-ruling a ranked team, especially one ranked as high as Auburn, is very difficult. Additionally, the Tigers were able to score early in Friday’s game, something which was an area of struggle. Sunday’s loss saw the bottom of the Tiger lineup go 5-of-8 with three runs scored. The top performers of the weekend were Bailey Landry (6-12), Quinn (3-8, 2 R) and Sahvanna Jaquish (3-for-7, 5 RBI, 2 HR) who became the all-time LSU RBI leader on Saturday.
To be clear, losing two games this weekend is not good and in the big picture, this weekend didn’t aid LSU’s status as national title contender. Strategy says that if you hit well and pitch well, which LSU did given the competition, you’ll put yourself in a position to win. LSU was successful in implementing that philosophy. Basically, the two games LSU lost came down to one play. It’s okay if the other team out executes in that situation, it is not okay if those are self-inflicted issues, which was the case for LSU.
LSU continues on the road with a Thursday game against Wichita State before a 4 game OOC tournament in Lawrence, Kansas.