From the outside looking in it looks as if LSU had a nice weekend from the plate. In all three games, the Tigers were able to plate at least four runs or more, matching their season average. As fans, we overlook a teams struggles just as long as they win. Moving forward, if LSU continues to struggle from the plate as they did last weekend, their season will end sooner than we would like.
As a team, the Tigers only batted .216 on the weekend and had a low .299 on-base percentage. The performance to Oregon State’s Scott Schultz has been well documented, but their .184 batting average against him wasn’t what killed their numbers. LSU only batted .214 against ULM. The team’s best performance was batting .258 Saturday in their seven run out-burst.
Lets take a look at the individual numbers…
After reviewing the numbers, it is easy to see why Austin Nola and Ty Ross were names to the all-tournament team. Nola had such a good weekend he earned the most outstanding player with his .400 batting average and it didn’t hurt he scored the game winning run to win the tournament.
After those two the numbers aren’t pedestrian; they are bad. Excluding Nola, Ross and Raph Rhymes stats, the rest of the team batter .169 (14 of 65) and the blame has to begin with Mason Katz.
Has Katz allowed his 11 homeruns to go to his head? His seven strike outs over the course of the regional was largely due to him chasing bad pitches out of the zone, as opposed to watching the third strike go by. The goal of Katz is to simply put the ball in play and try to plate runs. It sounds simple, but if the number three hitter can’t put the ball in play, it puts even more pressure on the rest of the lineup to come through.
Besides Katz the only other alarming problem is with the bottom of the lineup. Since Jacoby Jones was moved back up into the top-third of the lineup the bottom third has struggled. Arby Fields’ batting average continues to fall faster than potential jury candidates in the Jerry Sandusky trial. Alex Edward and Tyler Hanover made big contributions over the weekend, but as a whole struggled.
The road to Omaha only gets more challenging for LSU. For the Tigers to have a chance to make the CWS, the offense can not continue to rely on dominant performances from Aaron Nola and Kevin Gasuman. Eventually the offense is going to have to carry the team, whether it is this weekend or in Omaha (I know they have to beat Stony Brook).