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LSU Baseball

Can LSU complete the task

May 20, 2024
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LSU put itself in a huge hole in the first half of the Southeastern Conference schedule.

 

After five weekends of league play, the Tigers had a 3-12 record. With its backs to the wall, LSU needed to win multiple series. The Tigers responded by claiming four SEC series, including one against Texas A&M – currently the No. 1 RPI team in the country.

 

LSU completed the regular season with a 36-20 overall record. The Tigers bounced back to finish with a 13-17 SEC record, which placed them in a five-way tie for seventh place. LSU ended up being seeded 11th for the SEC tournament.

 

The Tigers will open the league tournament in Hoover (Ala.) on Tuesday morning with a play-in game against Georgia. A victory will send LSU into the double-elimination portion of the tournament. A loss will send the Tigers back to Baton Rouge for six anxious days.

 

LSU put together a 10-5 record over the second half of the conference schedule – an average of two victories per weekend. Tigers coach Jay Johnson expressed confidence that his team has done enough to reach the NCAA tournament.

 

There remains a question as to how many SEC teams will be awarded berths by the selection committee. One negative for LSU is its record against the other SEC teams in a similar situation. The Tigers lost series to Alabama, Vanderbilt and Florida.

 

Depending upon the results of other conference tournaments, LSU may have done enough to receive an at-large bid to one of the 16 NCAA regionals. Remember, the key number is 38.

 

Since the super-regional format was adopted in 1999, just one SEC team with 38 victories after the league tournament failed to reach the NCAA tourney. That team was Kentucky in 2000.

 

The last time the Tigers did not make a regional was 2011. LSU won 36 games and had a RPI of 28. The 2024 Tigers team has 36 victories with a RPI of 30. For that reason, LSU can reduce a few days of anxiety by having another week of two victories.

 

So, the Tigers need to pick up two more victories at the SEC tournament to feel confident about their chances of playing in June. At least, LSU will be entering Tuesday morning’s game against Georgia coming off its most complete weekend of the season.

 

In their sweep of Ole Miss, the Tigers had a .300 batting average and a 2.00 earned run average. Tommy White led the offensive attack with eight hits and seven runs batted in. Michael Braswell, Ashton Larson, Josh Pearson, Steven Milam also had hits in each game.

 

Gage Jump and Luke Holman have developed into a solid one-two starting pitching duo. Against the Rebels, Jump and Holman allowed three runs and ten hits with two walks and 17 strikeouts in a combined 12.2 innings.

 

The LSU bullpen worked 14.1 innings against Ole Miss. Tigers relievers gave up three runs and nine hits. The relief pitchers did issue too many walks with ten.

 

A victory over Georgia on Tuesday may clinch a NCAA tournament berth for LSU. Certainly the Tigers will be headed for their 13th consecutive regional if they are still in Hoover when Friday arrives.

 

 

 

Tags: Baseball
 
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