LSU baseball: Why Friday’s loss to Stony Brook isn’t surprising or a big deal

LSU baseball lost their first game of the season on Friday, 5-2, to Stony Brook. It’s disappointing but nothing Tiger fans should worry about, and here’s why.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

Almost a year from the day the 2023 LSU baseball team lost to Iowa 4-12, the 2024 squad dropped a game to Stoney Brook 5-2. One can argue the February 2023 loss was on the road and to a more formidable opponent. However, that doesn’t change the point that an early season loss in college baseball is almost inevitable.

Baseball is a game loaded with nuances. Indeed, there are pivotal moments in any contest in which an inning, a hit, or a single pitch determines the outcome. Such was the case on Friday when LSU baseball was retired in the bottom of the third inning on nine pitches.

“…our pitcher had to go right back out there, and they scored a run to take the lead,” explained Tigers’ head coach Jay Johnson.

The third inning was the worst of a bad day for LSU’s offense. The Tigers amassed only six hits via three batters and left eight runners on base. Mac Bingham and Paxton Kling were the only LSU hitters with plus days at the plate. Indeed, eight of Johnson’s batters combined to strike out nine times.

"We need to do a better job offensively for our pitchers, and that’s something we’re typically good at, but we didn’t get it done today. We did get some lead-off hitters on later in the game, but we weren’t able to produce multiple good at-bats in a row."

Jay Johnson, LSU baseball head coach

It is not uncommon for good baseball teams to experience cold days at the plate. The 2023 LSU baseball team were offensive juggernauts but not immune to occasional offensive clunker. And much like Iowa in February 2023, Stony Brook took advantage on Friday by playing what is likely their best win of the 2024 season.

A silver lining for the Tigers was a good day on the mound. Starter Thatcher Hurd allowed three runs on six hits over 4.1 innings, but as his coach indicated, he lacked offensive support. Hurd (0-1) took the loss but showed better control in his second start and struck out eight Stony Brook hitters.

LSU baseball will take the mound at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday for a matinee game against Northern Illinois. On Sunday, the Tigers will get the opportunity to avenge Friday’s loss with another game against Stony Brook.

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Hopefully, Johnson’s lineup returns to their usual run-producing selves before the Tigers hit the road for a four-game stint in Houston next week.