From the outside it appears that Stony Brook dominated LSU all weekend, but if you look closer LSU was possible one base running error away from winning the series on Saturday.
Earlier Saturday, LSU capped off an improbable game one victory that because of poor weather took nearly a day to complete. The Tigers won game one off pure emotion and looked as though that momentum would carry over into game two. Not only did LSU have momentum, but arguable the best pitcher in the country, Kevin Gausman taking the mound.
The offense went cold thanks to Stony Brook’s starter Tyler Johnson, who held LSU hitless the first four innings. The Seawolves were able to scratch two runs early off LSU, but the Tigers had chance to make some noise in the fifth.
Jordy Snikeris started the inning off with a single. Tyler Moore followed with a walk, but when ball four was called Snikeris was trying to steal second and was picked off when he came off the bag. The next batter, Alex Edward, was hit by a pitch. Instead on having the bases loaded with no outs, LSU only had runners on first and second with one out and the next two batters grounded out with no runs scoring, if only Snikeris stays on the base…
If Tyler Hanover hits the same ball to second, Snikeris scores and there are runners on the corners with one out. Austin Nola instead of trying to hit a base hit wisely hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Moore. The inning could have ended with the score being tied, but instead left the Box feeling empty.
The Tigers lost not only the game Saturday, but momentum and with LSU’s aces out of they way few thought the Tigers could pull off the win.
Sunday’s game went according to plan, unfortunately. Ryan Eades struggled on the mound and Stony Brook jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. Usually the LSU bullpen is bulletproof, but because of poor fielding by LSU, Stony Brook scratched out three more runs against LSU and won the game 7-2.
LSU had to make defensive changes to give the offense a chance to produce more runs. Mason Katz replaced Arby Fields in center field and with that move alone the overall speed of the outfield became none. Too many balls feel in the outfield and that was a difference in the series.
The other difference was the LSU bats going cold all weekend. LSU only hit .153 during the series. Some of this was due to Frank Vanderka and Tyler Johnson pitching complete games, but most of it was poor execution by LSU’s batters. Instead if putting the ball on the ground and forcing Stony Brook to make a play, LSU hit 32 fly outs.
It seems that the home runs hit Friday that brought the Tigers back, gave them the sense they were a power hitting team. Usually, I give props to an outstanding batter, but LSU didn’t have any. Take a look at the batting stats from the weekend.
Everyone had a bad weekend, only a few produced solid at-bats. After Game one 9 hits, LSU only had six hits in 18 innings. The Tigers could never gain momentum offensively. It seems their plate approach was to aggressively attack Stony Brook Pitchers early in the count, but they were never able to impact either starter. Because of the offensive meltdown, the pitching staff suffered. Here are the stats of the pitchers broken down by starters and bullpen production.
Nola and Gausman had solid outings and for the most part the bullpen did their job. The offense’s woes put more pressure on the pitching staff to produce. Stony Brook hit .316 over the weekend, but that was slightly below their season average of .336. With exception to Gausman and Cotton, all pitchers had a much higher WHIP than their season average and that was largely due to extended pitch count.
The Seawolves put constant pressure on the LSU pitcher and defense and LSU couldn’t be perfect and possibly because of one mis-handled offense, LSU lost.