LSU vs. McNeese

LSU baseball redshirt junior infielder Gavin Dugas (8) prepares for his at bat Wednesday, March 9, 2022 before LSU's 6-3 win against McNeese at Alex Box Stadium on Gourrier Avenue in Baton Rouge, La.

To say this season has been one of ups and downs for LSU is an understatement.

The Tigers opened the year with the most runs scored in an opening series by any team in LSU’s illustrious history. Then, they struggled on the road at Louisiana Tech and in the Shriners’ Classic, pulling just one win out of those four games.

They dropped their first home SEC series to Texas A&M. The next weekend, they gutted a serious road series win at Florida and followed it up with another home series loss to Auburn.

It seemed like a corner might have finally been turned after last weekend. LSU swept Mississippi State in one of the toughest venues in college baseball in Dudy Noble Field. This weekend series at Arkansas would be a great chance to build on the momentum they finally had in their favor.

That didn’t exactly go to plan for the Tigers. They limp back to Baton Rouge without a win to show for their efforts after a 6-2 loss that put the nail in their coffin for the weekend.

Surprisingly, it was the offense who had the most trouble in Fayetteville. Friday’s 4-0 loss was the first time the lineup had been shut out all year, and they managed just six runs and 16 hits over the entire weekend. In Saturday’s loss, they stranded 13 runners, a sickening number for a team that desperately needed a win.

“We had opportunities to score today, we just didn’t get them in,” Jay Johnson said. “We’ve got to go to work on Monday and improve. We’re halfway through the SEC schedule, and we need to get better in order to beat the teams at the top of the league.”

While the pitching was not perfect, the staff did its job at holding Arkansas within striking distance for most of the weekend. Ma’Khail Hilliard pitched a wonderful five innings with just two runs and three hits given up that put LSU in a position to succeed on Thursday. Blake Money put together a nice 6.2 innings and gave up four runs on Friday. Samuel Dutton opened Saturday off with a four inning, two hit, one run outing.

LSU committed four errors on the weekend, with three coming in the ugly Thursday loss. The team continues to search for answers defensively from their talented but struggling fielding players.

The silver lining for LSU is they won’t be leaving the state for any games until May 6. The Tigers will host UL-Lafayette for the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic on Tuesday night, Missouri this upcoming weekend, travel to UNO for an away game in New Orleans and then come back to face a strong Georgia squad in the Box. Maybe this home stand will help LSU find its footing.

LSU has shown the flashes of a team that could make some noise in the postseason. Unfortunately, the Tigers also showcased the chinks in their armor that could lead to an early tournament exit from teams willing to take advantage of the mistakes LSU keeps making. The next two weeks will be crucial for the team’s development with great chances to improve their confidence and overall play at home.

But it may be best to hold on to the lap bar holding you into your seat. This team is a rollercoaster.

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