How many times can you play with fire before you finally get burned?
This LSU team has spent long stretches of this weekend playing like absolutely garbage, only to bail themselves out with some late inning heroics. And let’s face it, that makes for some great television.
But you know what? It’s not a very good long term strategy for sustained success. You keep handing teams large leads, it’s only a matter of time before they actually hang on to one of them. The problem with needing a miracle is that miracles are, by definition, rare.
To its credit, LSU tried not to dig itself a hole tonight. The offense staked the team to a 2-0 lead with a first inning home run by Cade Doughty. And when USM tied the game up in the second, LSU struck back in the top of the third, loading the bases and scoring two runs.
However, it was in that inning that the cracks began to show. LSU had already taken the lead when it loaded the bases with one out, and the hitters did not come through. Jordan Thompson weakly popped out to short and Brayden Jobert grounded out to first. Had it not been for a passed ball, LSU wouldn’t have gotten anything out of a bases loaded situation.
That would be the theme. LSU wasted its chance while USM made the most of their bases loaded situations. USM responded right away to LSU’s runs, and loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, and plated two runs on two hits in that situation.
But the roof caved in the sixth. Eric Reyzelman, clearly rattled by the crowd, allowed the game to get away from him, and he loaded the bases with only one out. The box score bears out the horror: wild pitch, walk, single, balk. When you let up a run by both balk and wild pitch, it just wasn’t your night.
LSU’s hitters never could get that rally going in the late innings. One of the biggest issues was the back half of the order simply had a terrible night. The back half of the order, hitter six through nine, combined to go 0 for 15 with 8 strikeouts. That’s downright terrible.
To give USM credit, they stumbled upon the hot arm in the bullpen. After the Golden Eagles went through three pitchers in the four innings, they only needed one guy the rest of the way. Justin Storm went five innings and only allowed two hits and zero runs.
It was a dominant outing right when they needed it most. Tonight, there will no heroics. Which means that they were saving them for Monday, right?