LSU baseball vs Georgia Preview

Tigers face difficult road series at Georgia

Kristian Garic
March 22, 2019 - 4:01 pm
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LSU baseball steps up in class in the SEC this weekend on the road against No. 5 Georgia.  It’s a top 10 showdown in Athens, when No. 10 LSU faces the 5th ranked Bulldogs.  The Tigers are 0-4 on the road.  Both teams are coming after sweeps in the opening weekend of conference play.  Georgia went on the road and beat South Carolina in three straight.  LSU swept Kentucky at home in the first weekend of SEC play.  Let’s look inside the match up and numbers:

Georgia:  19-2 Overall / 3-0 SEC.  The Bulldogs won 10 straight games and are 13-1 at home.

Georgia offense:  Georgia is getting it done at the plate hitting .296 as a team, scoring 24 home runs as a team and 67 extra base hits.  When they get on base, the Bulldogs are a nightmare.  Georgia is 29-33 on stolen base attempts.  Maxwell Tucker is the biggest run threat; he’s 9 for 9 in attempts.  Infield, L.J. Talley leads the Bulldog offensive attack hitting .392 with 4 home runs and an on base percentage of .505.  The Bulldogs are susceptible to the strikeout, going down on K’s 144 times. 

Georgia defense:  The Bulldogs are outstanding on defense with a team fielding percentage of .979 committing 16 errors on the season.  Georgia doesn’t beat themselves on defense.  Opponents are 12 of 21 in stolen base attempts, so they can control the other team’s running game.

Georgia Pitching:  This is the strength of the Bulldogs.  Georgia has a team ERA (earned run average) of 2.52.  The Georgia staff features a ton of guys, who run the radar gun into the mid-nineties with 225 strikeouts recorded on opposing hitters.  Emerson Hancock is the Ace of the Georgia staff with a 5-0 record and ERA of 0.58 giving up just 16 hits in 31 innings on the mound.  Opponents are hitting .296 against the Bulldogs staff, but they have a bunch of power arms in their rotation and bullpen.

 

LSU:  16-5 overall / 3-0 SEC / 0-4 on the road.  LSU is riding a five game winning streak into this weekend matchup with Georgia.

LSU offense:  The Tigers are hitting .288 as a team led by outfielder Zach Watson hitting .390 and on base percentage of .435.  Antoine Duplantis’ average dipped in the last week down to .314.  Duplantis is in a bit of slump right now, but he’ll get going again.  He’s still hitting over .300, but in a slump?  Yea, think about that.  For most hitters that would be hard to stay, but Antoine is struggling a little at the plate.  Chris Reid continues to be the story of college baseball, hitting .359 and a .519 on base percentage.  LSU coach Paul Mainieri called him the MVP of the team so far this season.  Reid was cut from the LSU baseball team back in the fall, and you have to wonder where the Tigers would be without Reid.

LSU defense:  The Tigers have righted the ship on defense.  After making a few errors early in the season, they’ve settled down a bit fielding .979 as a team.

LSU pitching:  After struggling with command early in the season issuing double digit walks regularly in weekend games, the Tigers pitching staff has settled in nicely with better command.  The team ERA is still a little high at 4.32, but the strikeout numbers are starting to climb.  LSU pitchers have recorded 189 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting just .288 against the Tigers pitching staff.  Devin Fontenot is starting to emerge as “The Dude” out of the bullpen.  Fontenot has a staggering 1.69 ERA and opponents are hitting just .148 against the hard throwing right hander.

The game plan:  LSU has to find a way to play better on the road.  It’s going to be a raucous and tough environment in Athens.  Offensively, the Tigers have to get a lead early in these ball games and get momentum on the road.  Expect LSU to look for first pitch strikes; also expect them to try and jump all over those pitches. I would like to see the Tigers put some pressure on the Bulldog defense with some small ball when that’s called for, and on the base paths with some stolen base attempts and hit and run.  LSU’s pitchers have markedly improved in the last five games getting ahead of hitters early.  LSU needs to continue to challenge Georgia hitters in this series.  Don’t nibble around the zone, just go right at them and get ahead early.  It would be a huge success if the Tigers are able to get two out of three on the road against Georgia.

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