This offensive malaise for LSU reached a critical point over the weekend in the sweep loss at Florida and the Tigers need to get out of it before the weekend or risk falling painfully behind the pack in the SEC West. The hitting was better on Sunday, granted, but the whole gameplan is still dependent on the light coming on for Alex Bregman. On the mound, the story is about finding stability in the bullpen. Originally Fr reliever Alden Cartwright was going to get the start tonight, but Mainieri changed his mind and will instead send out Jr. LHP Cody Glenn (1-1, 4.39 ERA, 26.2 IP, 5 BB, 15 SO) for a brief start. It appears that Kyle Bouman has been able to hold on to the 3rd weekend starting gig even after missing two weeks with a sprained ankle (and will hopefully be returning to action this weekend) and CPM wants to prevent Cartwright from getting out of his routine as a reliever, so Glenn gets the call. I dont expect to see anyone having a long outing.
McNeese St. (16-10, 6-3 in Southland) is off to a decent start under first year head coach Justin Hill. A pitcher for LSU in 2001 and 2002, Hill has been bouncing around college baseball coaching staffs around the gulf coast for more than a decade, with stops at ULM, SELA, Sam Houston under current A&M coach Rob Childress, LSU under Smoke Laval, and NW St. under current Bama coach Mitch Gaspard. The Cowboys' record has a few good wins over Mizzou and Southern Miss to hang it's hat on, but there are some head scratching losses to Southern and Chicago St that tarnish the resume. Not surprisingly, McNeese is hitting better than LSU, with a team BA of .301 and 5 regular starters at .340 or better. They are led by Sr. 1B Chayse Marion (374/468/505, 2 HR, 22 RBI) and Sr. RF Matt Williams (368/486/448).
It's more than likely that the Tigers are going to have to break out of their slump at the plate to win this one, but McNeese's pitching staff isn't quite so impressive. The Cowboys have a staff ERA of 4.15 and many of the arms sitting north of 6.00. Their starter tonight is Sr. RHP Michael Desabrais (0-0, 3.38 ERA, 16.0 IP, 8 BB, 7 SO) who saw brief action this past Sunday vs Lamar. McNeese has a clear priority to keep up their winning in conference over the weekend, but if things stay close, look out for an appearance by Jr. LHP Tyler Erickson (2-0, 1.69 ERA, 10.2 IP, 7 BB, 7K)