LSU played three very tight games at Auburn this weekend, but managed to only win one of them. All three games were decided by just one run. Saturday's game went to extra innings and Friday's game should have if not for a blown call at the plate in the ninth inning. Any of the games could have gone either way.
Looking back to last weekend, two of the three games were decided by one run with one going to extra innings. So five of LSU's six conference games were decided by a single run, and two have gone to extra innings. LSU has failed to score more than four runs in a SEC game. Such is life in the BBCOR bat era of college baseball...at least with this LSU team. With an offensively challenged lineup, we might as well all get used to low scoring games. With that being the case, the details really matter. If LSU wants to succeed, they need to do a much better job of doing the little things right.
On Friday, LSU did a good job of battling back from a 2-0 deficit. With the game tied in the eighth inning, Nick Goody gave up a single which put Auburn ahead. On Saturday, LSU had multiple scoring opportunities with a runner on third and only one out. In both the 9th and 10th inning, LSU found themselves in that situation but grounded into a double play each time. That absolutely can't happen. Goody again struggled in the 10th by throwing a wild pitch before Auburn won the game on a sacrifice fly.
On Sunday, LSU was on the right end of the good fortune. Jacoby Jones had a clutch hit in the top of the ninth inning to give LSU the lead for good. After struggling on Friday and Saturday, closer Nick Goody did not get the call on Sunday. Instead, Kurt McCune pitched the ninth and recorded the save. I thought the Tigers showed some pretty strong resolve by coming back Sunday to avoid the sweep.
LSU now finds themselves at 3-3 in the conference. I was hopeful they would have four or five wins at this point because Arkansas and Florida are the next two teams on the schedule. These next two weekends will go a long way to deciding the kind of sesaon this LSU team will have.
Here are a few other thoughts:
- Late in the game Sunday, centerfielder Chris Sciambra was injured while diving for a ball and had to come out of the game. Paul Maineri sent Mason Katz out to play center. Katz then misplayed a ball which allowed Auburn to tie the game. I thought it odd that Katz went out there rather than Jacoby Jones who played all last summer, and practiced all fall, at center field. Depending on how long Sciambra is out, it will be interesting to see how Maineri handles it. Does Jones go back to CF with Yocum at 2B? Or does he simply plug in someone like Jared Foster or Arby Fields in center?
- LSU is still pretty unsettled when it comes to their lineup. Maineri keeps trying different combinations of left fielders and designated hitters. Everything else is pretty settled; although, the batting order changes quite a bit.
- Mason Katz has struck out a team high 21 times in 86 at bats but is still hitting for a healthy .360 average. That means that when Katz makes contact, he is batting .446 on the year.
- Jacoby Jones is starting to hit the ball a bit better. His average is up to .272 and he had two big-time, clutch hits this weekend.
- Raph Rhymes continues to hit the heck out of the baseball. His batting average is now .473 which leads the SEC. It makes you wonder what Rhymes' numbers would look like if he played a few years ago before the BBCOR bats were in place.