The LSU baseball team wanted to start conference play on a high note when they went to Starkville this weekend. Mission accomplished. Mason Katz’s two homers Friday gave LSU the victory in 10 innings, while his second inning homer started the scoring in a rout Saturday.
The Tigers fell behind early on Friday night. Aaron Nola gave up two runs in the first inning and two in the fifth. When he exited in the sixth, LSU trailed 4-3. The bullpen combined for four and one thirds innings of one hit, shutout ball. Saturday saw Ryan Eades shut down the Bulldogs for seven innings for the series victory. While Sunday didn’t go LSU’s way, they’re still leaving Starkville with an in conference series win over a ranked team, which is never a bad thing. Some other thoughts from this weekend:
Pitching: Coming into the season, one of my biggest questions about this team was starting pitching. They lost Kevin Gausman to the draft, and Eades seemed to have trouble avoiding the big inning. Eades did a good job of that Saturday, working around base runners in the first three innings and only allowing one run in the sixth inning. Aaron Nola struggled again against Mississippi State, but we’ve seen what he’s capable of and shouldn’t read too much into it.
Sunday starter Cody Glenn struggled in his first SEC start. LSU came into the season with no Sunday starter, and coach Paul Mainieri has auditioned a few players in that spot. Glenn won’t lose his spot based on one start, but it’ll be interesting to see how he responds next week at home against Auburn.
One thing to keep an eye on is Glenn’s stamina. He threw 16 innings last year and is already up to 28 this season. Eades seemed to wear down late last season, and it’ll be interesting to see if Glenn avoids the same fate.
Jacoby Jones: Jones hit two doubles Saturday night, one of those drove in two runs. The junior second baseman has improved his discipline at the plate this season. He already more walks this season (16) as he did last season (15). His walk to strikeout ratio this season is even (16:16) compared to a basically three to one ratio last year (15:47). If he’s going, LSU will be hard to stop. Jones’ speed makes him a threat to steal at any time or score from any base. With Katz hitting the way he is right now, Jones should have a lot of opportunities to score.
Alex Bregman: Bregman hit a moonshot in the ninth inning Saturday night, his second of the year. That power is what Mainieri talked about during the pre-season when he spoke about Bregman. Bregman leads the team with a .380 average. If he gets on a tear, it’ll make facing LSU, Katz in particular, that much more difficult for the SEC.
This week’s schedule:
Wednesday: Northwestern State, 6:30 p.m.
Friday: Auburn, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: Auburn, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: Auburn, 1:00 p.m., CST