LSU started the 2023 campaign strong with a sweep over Western Michigan this past weekend. The Tigers did not trail in any of the games played this weekend.
“I thought the entire weekend was great, a really good model for what we want to establish going forward,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “We had really good starting pitching, really good defense and we were excellent in situational hitting. I really liked the amount of guys that contributed to winning as well.”
Here are some of the takeaways from opening weekend.
Skenes strikes out 12 on Opening Night
There was a lot of hype surrounding Air Force transfer junior right-hander Paul Skenes, who was the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year last season. On opening night, he showed everyone why he is one of the best pitchers in the country.
Skenes did not allow a single run in the six innings he pitched, allowing just three hits with one walk. He also struck out 12 batters, the most since April 15, 2021, when Landon Marceaux fanned 12 batters against South Carolina.
Skenes’ performance also marked the most strikeouts by an LSU pitcher in a season opener in 28 years, when Scott Schultz struck out 12 batters in 1995 in the Winn-Dixie Showdown at the Superdome in New Orleans in a victory over Lamar.
The Return of Dugas
After missing most of last season due to nagging injuries, graduate second baseman Gavin Dugas reminded us of how good he can really be. Dugas, who led LSU in home runs with 19 in 2021, batted .750 (6-for-8) with two homers, two RBIs and three runs over the weekend against Western Michigan. Dugas also recorded a .778 on-base percentage and 1.500 slugging percentage.
Dugas’ best overall performance during the weekend came on Sunday, where he went 3-for-3 on the day with a home run and two runs scored to help lead LSU to victory over Western Michigan 9-1 on Sunday
LSU has found its next big star slugger
LSU may have found its next big thing in designated hitter Jared Jones. Jones, the 6-4, 230 pound true freshman, batted .500 (4-for-8) with two doubles, three RBIs, four runs scored and a .750 slugging percentage in LSU’s opening weekend sweep over Western Michigan. Jones did a great job getting on-base as he was able to get walked three times and achieved a .636 on-base percentage.