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GAMETHREAD: Baseball vs La Tech, 6:30pm, SECN+

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Another week of inscrutable LSU baseball has come and gone and it’s pretty clear that the current state of starting pitching, whether due to injury, failed experiments, or overly optimistic predictions, is the ongoing problem that may doom the Tiger’s season. While Tiger hitting certainly struggles like a normal team against prime SEC pitching, they've shown time and again that they can decimate one they get past a team’s top arms. But if LSU’s starters continue to put them in 5-10 run holes before the 5th inning, even a 6-run, 3 home run 9th inning sometimes wont be enough to prevent failure.

And it’s really that simple. LSU’s season remains on the knife edge, where it’s been for nearly a month. If LSU can split the last 6 SEC games and survive to Friday in Hoover, they’re probably a shoe-in for at least regional hosting. If pitchers start returning from injury and LSU does better than that, a top 8 seed is still within reach. If someone else gets hurt, LSU could spiral out to a postseason on the road, likely with a very unfavorable location and matchup.

We’re going to have to wait another week (or, gulp, even longer) on improved pitching, as Mainieri announced Monday that Cole Henry still can’t return yet and will not make the trip to Arkansas for the Thursday weekend series. That LSU will once again need to cobble together a function pitching staff in yet another crucial SEC weekend is probably the reason why Chase Costello, with his 10+ ERA, is getting his first career start tonight against La Tech.

Louisiana Tech (29-19, 13-11 in CUSA) is having a decent year, in a tight race for 3rd place in their league. They’ve done very well against in-state opponents. Their starter Logan Robbins has been mostly doing weekend work this season, including 5 innings in a win at Arkansas back in early March. From LSU’s release:

• Louisiana Tech is 29-19 overall and 13-11 in Conference USA … the Bulldogs are in fourth place in the C-USA league standings behind Southern Miss, Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky

• The Bulldogs are hitting .278 as a team with 47 home runs and 54 steals in 74 attempts … the Louisiana Tech pitching staff has a 4.58 team ERA

• Louisiana Tech is led at the plate by senior outfielder Mason Mallard, who is hitting .361 on the year with seven doubles, one triple, seven homers and 28 RBI … sophomore outfielder Steele Netterville has 16 doubles, one triple, seven homers and 36 RBI, and junior outfielder Parker Bates has 11 doubles, six homers and 44 RBI

• Louisiana Tech senior right-hander Braxton Smith is the Bulldogs’ closer, and he has nine saves and 50 strikeouts in 33 innings

PITCHING MATCHUP

LSU – Fr. RH Chase Costello (0-0, 10.80 ERA, 13.1 IP, 11 BB, 9 SO)

La. Tech – Sr. LH Logan Robbins (3-3, 5.30 ERA, 54.1 IP, 25 BB, 45 SO)