Former Alabama offensive tackle Barrett Jones made a comment about “restoring order” just before the January 9th national championship game, but it was LSU baseball that restored order this past weekend.
Last year LSU won the first game in its annual series with Alabama, but then dropped the next two games by a combined score of 13-0. LSU dominated last weekend’s series, winning by a combined scored of 22-4. The Tigers pitching staff dominated and over-powered the Alabama offense and the Tigers’ offense continues to swing a hot bat.
LSU won on Friday night 10-2, thanks for a Mason Katz home run and a Austin Nola grand-slam. A Ty Ross triple helped break a close 3-1 score on Saturday into a four run eight inning that LSU eventually won 7-1. LSU won one Sunday, 5-1, thanks to great awareness running the bases and timely hitting.
The series win was dominate, but you don’t realize just how dominate they were until you look at the weekend stats. Lets start off with pitching:
Last week the starters were roughed up a bit, but luckily not every lineup is as talented as Florida’s. Which pitchers had the best outing? Ryan Eades pitched a two hitter, but had a higher WHIP than Aaron Nola. Do we discount Gausman’s performance just because it seems like he does this every weekend? What say you?
It is time for me to go all in with this bullpen. I have had my reservations. Either they are too young (Bonvillain, Goody and Rumbelow) or they are guys who have been in the program for a few years, but haven’t wowed me (Cotton, Bourgeois and McCune). Heading into each weekend I keep expecting them to let the starters down, but it is time to stop expecting that.
The bullpen doesn’t throw smoke right by the batters, but each contributor brings his own unique flavor to the mound keeping the batters guessing. The bullpen only struck out four ‘Bama batters, but only allowed two to reach base over the three day period. The Tigers’ didn’t give the Tide any free passes on base and made them earned it, just what you want.
The lineup is starting to round itself into shape. Paul Maineri’s insertion of both Arby Fields and Tyler Moore might be his mid-season genius move he has had success with in recent years. Fields continues to pound the ball as only Raph Rhymes had a more productive weekend from the plates. Tyler Moore cooled off from last weekend, but the fact he started two of the three games at first shows that the Grant Dozar project might be over.
Just look at how productive the 1-6 hitters were. With how hot Fields is hitting from the plate, it now becomes difficult to pitch around any of these hitters. Austin Nola continues to show improvement at the plate in conference play. Nola had a terrible start the first two weekend, but the last two weekends he has put together a high on-base percentage, and has shown some pop in his bat.
The series win is exactly what LSU is supposed to do against inferior opponents. Another series win only continues to improve the Tiger’s confidence as the continue their climb to the top of the SEC standings. Following the sweep, LSU improves its overall record to 30-7 and 11-4 in SEC play. LSU is tied with Kentucky for first in the SEC and has a three game lead over Arkansas in the SEC west.