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GAMETHREAD: Baseball @ Southern, 6:30pm, ESPN+

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Josh Smith
Gus Stark \ LSUSports.net

This LSU (23-10, 8-4 SEC) team continues to puzzle me. LSU went into it’s weekend against A&M with even more players on the shelf and facing a very strong group of left handed pitching from the Aggies. Somehow they managed to pull off another series win against a top 10 opponent and stay in the race for what is turning into a very tight SEC West fight. And that’s despite a weekend where the Tigers looked very sloppy on defense (even more than the generous home scoring accounted for).

It was a weekend where Eric Walker came back down to earth, but Cole Henry shined in a near complete game outing in Saturday’s 9-3 finale. Where Antoine Duplantis was 0-12 on the series at one point, but Josh Smith went 6-12 with 2 home runs. Where 3 starters were (and still are) hitting under .200, but they all got hits or scored runs anyway. There are still going to be some frustrating, low scoring losses in this team’s future on night’s when they just can’t get the bats off their shoulders, but as long as someone new keeps stepping up and as that bullpen starts to heal, the ceiling for this team continues to climb.

Speaking of that healing, tonight will see the return to action of Landon Marceaux and Chase Costello, with Marceaux getting the start in his first action in almost a month as the Tigers head up river to face the Jaguars.

Southern (17-15, 10-2 SWAC) is having a pretty good year in SWAC competition, having just 2 losses in 4 conference weekends, and another 2 wins that count as OOC from a season opening weekend tournament. Head Coach Kerrick Jackson, who took over for the legendary Roger Cador, has put together a terrific turnaround after going 9-33 in his first season at the helm. While they certainly look to be the favorite to get the SWAC’s NCAA bid, this is also a Jaguars team that LSU trounced back in February, 17-4. From LSU’s release about the game:

Southern is 10-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the Jaguars are in first place in the Western Division

The Jaguars are hitting .303 as a team with 57 doubles, 13 triples, 19 homers and 87 steals in 104 attempts

Southern is led at the plate by junior catcher/first baseman Hunter David, who is batting .425 with six doubles, one homer and 28 RBI … senior outfielder Jayvean Williams is hitting .394 with 27 RBI, senior infielder Tyler Laporte is hitting .357 with three homers and a team-high 39 RBI, and junior infielder Coby Taylor has a team-leading six home runs

Game time is 6:30 on the ESPN+ subscription service.

Pitching Matchup

LSU – Fr. RH Landon Marceaux (1-1, 6.75 ERA, 18.2 IP, 9 BB, 17 SO)

SU – Jr. RH Eli Finney (1-2, 6.99 ERA, 28.1 IP, 13 BB, 21 SO)