Terill Weil, Tiger Rag

Grading LSU baseball vs. Cal

Kristian Garic
March 11, 2019 - 1:02 pm

That’s more like it! LSU played much better in the series against Cal and even had a flare for dramatics with a walk off 4-3 victory in game one. The Tigers improved in all aspects of the game.

Friday night starting pitching: Zack Hess didn’t dominate, but he looked much better in his fourth start of the season. Hess went 5.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks and 5 strike outs. I still don’t think Hess is a legitimate Friday night starting pitcher. He pitches deep into counts, throws a lot of pitches in outings and rarely has an efficient inning or two. With that said, Hess looked better in the win over California.

  • Starting Pitching Grade: B

Friday night relief pitching: The Tigers relief pitchers issued five walks and a total of eight when you throw in Hess’ three walks. Aaron George pitched just 1/3rd of an inning, issuing 2 walks. Landon Marceaux threw a complete innings also issuing a walk, but looked pretty sharp. Devin Fontenot was yanked after 1/3rd of an inning after getting an out, and Fontenot proceeded to walk the next hitter after getting ahead in the count 0-2. Mathew Beck finished the game and recorded the win going 1.2 innings pitched, giving up 1 hit, issuing one walk, and not allowing a run.

  • Relief pitching grade: C

Friday offense: The Tigers pounded out 8 hits in the win over Cal. Short stop Josh Smith went hitless until the 9th inning, when he slapped the game winning hit to left center field, driving in two base runners for the 4-3 walk off win. Saul Garza started the rally with a clutch 1 out single to right field as a pinch hitter. The top four hitters in the LSU lineup went a combined 2 for 17. Thankfully, the bottom of the lineup bailed them out, going 6 for 16 in the victory over Cal.

  • Friday offensive grade: B

Friday defense: I love the decision to slide Hal Hughes over to second base. Hughes was replaced at 3rd by Chris Reid in the Texas series for offensive reasons, but Hughes took over for second base from Brandt Broussard, who isn’t producing at the plate. With Hughes at second base (a natural short stop) the double play ball has started clicking for the Tigers, turning two double plays in the win.

  • Friday defensive grade: A+

Saturday game 1 starting pitching: Cole Henry was outstanding, getting his first weekend start; tossing four innings of 2 hit shutout baseball. The only blemish to Henry’s line was a hit batter. Henry baffled the Golden Bears lineup with a plus fastball, that averaged 94 MPH and exploding breaking pitches. Henry was down in the zone rolling several ground balls. I think LSU has found their guy for Saturday night on the mound.

  • Saturday game 1 starting pitching grade: A+

Saturday game 1 relief pitching: Ma’Khail Hilliard was outstanding in his one inning of relief, striking out two hitters without giving up a hit. Todd Peterson came on for a six out close situation and flat out bombed. California exploded for five runs on five singles and an intentional walk of Andrew Vaughn. Peterson was lifted after 2/3rd’s of an inning. Now you have to wonder if Peterson is truly the guy to close out games for LSU. The blown save opportunity against California is his second blown save in a week. Trent Vietmeier came on in relief of Peterson to close out the sixth inning and squash the rally. He went three up and down in the Cal half of the seventh inning.

  • Saturday game 1 relief pitching grade: D

Saturday game 1 defense: Another rinse and repeat from game one of the series Friday. Hal Hughes and Josh Smith continued their fine defense, turning over a double play. Chris Reid continued to flash the leather at 3rd base, getting through another game without an error.

  • Saturday game 1 defensive grade: A+

Saturday game 1 offense: The Tigers mustard five hits in the shortened game of 7 innings. Brock Mathis is starting to really heat up, hitting his second home run of the week to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Josh Smith struck his first home run of the season in the top of sixth. Smith had two of the Tigers five hits in the loss to California.

  • Saturday game 1 offense: C

Saturday game 2 starting pitching: Erik Walker cruised through 2 and 2/3rd innings until issuing a two out walk, an intentional walk and another base on balls. California capitalized on the Walks with a two run single and exploded for 4 runs in the top of the third inning. Walker looked surgical before imploding in the third.

  • Saturday game 2 starting pitching grade: C

Saturday game 2 relief pitching: Devon Fontenot was outstanding in four innings of relief allowing 0 runs and 1 hit, striking out 3 California hitters to record the win for the Tigers.

  • Saturday game 2 relief pitching grade: A+

Saturday game 2 offense: LSU literally lived and almost died by the HR ball. Chris Reid smashed a solo homerun, and so did Cade Beloso. However, it was Beloso’s 2 run shot in the sixth inning that gave LSU the 5-4 lead; his second big fly of the game. Beloso has freakish power; it was on display in game 3 of the series. The Tigers once again had solid production from the middle to bottom of the lineup.

  • Saturday game 2 offensive grade: B+

Saturday game 2 defense: Chris Reid continued to flash the leather at third base. LSU didn’t commit an error in three games this weekend. The fielding percentage is starting to climb. This is the Tiger defense we’re used to seeing.

  • Saturday game 2 defensive grade: A+

Coaching Grade: Paul Mainieiri can be second guessed for deciding to extend Todd Peterson in game two. Peterson was called upon to get six outs with a 1-0 lead and promptly gave up five hits and five runs. You can browbeat Mainieri if you want, but it’s silly. You give the ball to your closer every time in that situation. Simply put, Peterson has to execute! He didn’t! The series was on the line. If the Tigers won that game, they clinched the series. That’s why Mainieri decided to give the ball to Peterson. Once again, it was the absolute right move.

  • Coaching Grade: A

Lagniappe: LSU righted the ship so to speak! While LSU doesn’t look perfect and ready to go next weekend in SEC play, the win over Cal went a long way for the confidence of a team that might have started doubting themselves. LSU isn’t a national championship caliber team right now, that much is clear. However, the LSU baseball Tigers don’t have to be…its March. Conference play starts against Kentucky. This is where the road to Omaha starts!




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