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BASEBALL WEEKEND RECAP: Freshmen Arms Have Stellar Debut

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Brandon Gallego /LSUSports.net

FRIDAY

Duplantis, Cabrera Lead LSU to 12-7 victory over ULM in opener

SATURDAY

Freshmen Shine In 6-5 Walkoff Of Army

SUNDAY

Not much to write home about in a blowout. 12 Tigers combined for 20 hits and 16 RBIs off of Air Force, the team that had the worst of the three in The Box this weekend. Offensively the only thing concerning was that Bianco had 3Ks. He got the start at 1B specifically to face Air Force’s lefty, but the game got so out of hand so quickly that the Falcons changed pitchers in the 2nd inning, though not before Bianco got in a 2 RBI bomb off of him to left. Like I said, not much to pull from this game. Was nice to see Chris Reid get some time off the bench, and the acknowledgement from the crowd. He even scored a sac fly. We did get to see a great debut from FR RHP Jaden Hill. 8Ks, 1 BB, and 4 hits, 1 ER over 5.0 IP. He was hitting low-mid 90s on the gun and had a great offspeed breaking ball. His outing earned him SEC Freshman of the Week.


Landon Marceaux had a great premier outing as well, even if he called his own 5.2 IP appearance with 5Ks and 2 hits “shaky.” But lets talk about what we all want to argue about. Zach Hess had a bad start on Friday (6 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 2 home runs over just 3.2 IP) and immediately everyone wants to put him back in the bullpen. You could almost see this coming the moment Mainieri started the preseason presser saying there was no chance Hess would be a relief arm this year. With Hilliard unavailable, there’s not yet a standout in the bullpen I would try in Hess’ place. Mainieri will give him plenty of time to right the ship, but he won’t be able to hold on to the Friday gig much longer if Marceaux and Hill are able to be more than opening weekend flashes. In any case, it’s waaaay too early to make a call on any of this and the non-con exists so that these things can be worked out. Let the process work.

Honestly, the worst news from the weekend is that Ma’Khail Hilliard is still down with shoulder soreness. We can only hope it’s not something more serious. FR Easton McMurray, LSU’s only lefty, is also still out and will be seeing a doctor this week.

LSU has 2 in-state mid-week games, including a road trip, and then a home weekend vs Bryant University from Rhode Island. Gotta get those warmup hacks in now before the trip to Austin the following weekend.

EDIT: Tomorrow’s game vs Southeastern has been moved up to 4pm due to a rain threat.

FUN WITH STATS

It’s been 3 games, let’s make sweeping conclusions based on small sample sizes.

  • Welcome back Josh Smith. .667 on the weekend and a pair of doubles.
  • Daniel Cabrera really needs to step it up. His 2 homers and 6 RBI give him a 1.200 slugging percentage, but that’s only good for second place on this team
  • ALL HAIL CADE BELOSO, WALKOFF HERO, SLUGGING 1.250!
  • No true replacement has been found for the Jordan Brothers walking bruise HBP routine. So far Brock Mathis leads the lineup with 2
  • Chasing History: Eddy Furniss 352 Hits, Mississippi St.’s Jake Mangum 279 (+4), Duplantis 273(+5)

OTHER NEWS

  • It’s been a relatively mild winter, and it really helped bring out the fans. LSU’s reporting 35,463 attendance for the weekend, an LSU opening weekend record. As we’ve chronicled before on this website, LSU’s baseball attendance stats are vastly over inflated due to the no-shows in the gold seats and elsewhere, but the park looked full most of the weekend. The Friday paid crowd of 12,404 was the 4th highest ever. A great way to start the 10th year in the New Box
  • To my complete surprise, Moving the student section to the RF bleachers turned out to be a HUGE success. Student attendance at baseball has never really been a thing for LSU baseball outside of a few diehards who end up working for the Tarp Crew, but this could finally be a sign of that turning around.
  • I’ll be checking it out for myself soon enough, but early reports are that the beer tents at the foul polls were a huge success. Unfortunately, they have a big problem with having no view of the field. That’s a problem with the design of Alex Box, but at least they’ve got TVs in there, apparently. In any case, it’s a good stop-gap until the SEC gets it’s head out of it’s ass, and then LSU can just sell beer in the stands, just like every other college baseball team in Louisiana.
  • PRAISE BE! LSU finally practiced restraint and didn’t put static image ads on a new video board.

WORLD OF COLLEGE BASEBALL

  • SEC OOC Blunders: SCar falls 6-5 to Liberty in 11 innings on opening night; Bama drops 1 of 3 to Presbyterian; Ole Miss splits rain shortened weekend vs Wright St.; Mizzou drops 2 of 3 at North Florida;
  • In the only SEC OOC action worth discussing, Florida comfortably swept a home series with perennial power Long Beach St and Vandy took 2 of 3 at a showcase series at Salt River Fields (Diamondbacks and Rockies Spring Training facility), dismantling UVA 15-9 and #24 CS Fullerton 14-9, but getting beat back by #17 TCU in a 10-2 loss
  • The Top 25 is mostly unchanged this week thanks to chalky results. The only upset was Top 5 Louisville dropping a series 1-2 to UConn (who is also ranked in some polls) at a neutral site weekend in Lakeland Fl. (Detroit Tigers Spring Training facility)
  • In-State Action: USL hosted Texas in Lafayette, dropping 2 of 3 to the Longhorns in some very tight games; UNO took 2 of 3 from Michigan St; Northwestern St dropped 2 of 3 at Houston; Southern swept 3 games against other HBCUs at the Andre Dawson Classic in New Orleans, and at Southeastern...
  • Best Unis I Saw this weekend: ULM’s faux-ish throwback, Air Force’s Bomber helmets, Hawai’i’s island helmets