After the shame of the stunning losses to Oral Roberts (who followed up their victory with a shutout loss to #9 Oklahoma St at home in the midweek to drop their record to 4-8) last weekend, LSU rebounded with stronger play in a long midweek against Texas Southern and UNO. The goal for this weekend has to be to get better outings from the pitching staff, both starters and relief, and make any lineup adjustments before the start of an SEC slate that looks more daunting by the day.
Meanwhile, football is playing baseball.
(I want LSU to play a real game in Tiger Stadium so badly, even if it’s just once, even if it would be terrible.)
The Roadrunners of UT-San Antonio (5-3) are here after Illinois canceled a scheduled trip to Baton Rouge when the Big Ten decided they’re going conference only for baseball this season. After arranging a split weekend with UTSA and Baylor, Baylor decided that they didn’t want a weekend of Kramer Robertson jokes and is now playing a home series against Xavier (the Cincinnati one, not the Nola one) Incidentally, Illinois will instead this weekend be playing a 4 game set at Minnesota at US Bank Field, the home of the Vikings football team, in it’s unique baseball configuration (and memories of the old Winn Dixie Classic in the Superdome come flooding back)
— Patrick Ebert (@PatrickEbert44) March 12, 2021
The Roadrunners have a surprisingly potent offense….when it’s working. They’ve scored 10 runs or more in 4 of their 5 wins so far this year, including a high of an 18-5 blowout of Sam Houston. But in their losses they’ve been held to 3 runs or fewer. UTSA have 10 home runs on the year, which is in the top 25% of D1 at the moment, and three in their starting lineup have 9 RBIs. Bear in mind UTSA has only played 8 games this year to LSU’s 14, but they do have a higher slugging and on-base percentage than the Tigers and a better Team ERA to boot.
From UTSA PR:
Junior Joshua Lamb leads the team with a .400 average, owning six doubles, one homer and nine RBI, stealing two bases. Senior infielder Griffin Paxton has hit .367 with two doubles, a homer and nine RBI, with Thornquist hitting .345 with two homers and seven RBI. Graduate transfer Ian Bailey has hit .333 with two homers and nine RBI. Infielder Jonathan Tapia has hit .318 with two RBI, outfielder Dylan Rock has a .303 average with a homer and four RBI and freshman third baseman Austin Ochoa has batted .231 with a bomb and five RBI.
UTSA has used six different pitchers to start its eight games to open 2021, with Luke Malone (1-1, 3.38 ERA) making both Friday starts with nine strikeouts in 10.2 innings. Reece Easterling (1-0, 1.74 ERA) has worked 10.1 innings in a pair of series-finale starts. Shane Daughety (2-0, 0.75 ERA) – the reigning C-USA Pitcher of the Week – has 12 strikeouts in 12 innings. John Chomko (0-0, 1.59 ERA) and Grant Miller (0-0, 5.68 ERA) have each made weekend starts. In relief, Daniel Garza (0-0, 0.00 ERA), Jay Ward (0-0, 6.75 ERA) and Hunter Mason (1-1, 3.52 ERA) have each worked in three games out of the bullpen.
As a team, UTSA has hit .320/.401/.489 with 66 runs scored in eight games, ripping 16 doubles, 10 homers and stealing seven bases. On the mound, UTSA has a 2.74 team ERA, striking out 72 in 69 innings, walking 29 and holding foes to a .230 average.
Given last weekend’s pasting by Oral Roberts, especially the football score on Friday afternoon, you have to assume that LSU wont take UTSA lightly and also be worried that a repeat disaster is certainly on the table. It’s the final weekend before State comes to town for the start of SEC play, and the Tigers will find no mercy in an SEC that currently has a complete lock-out on the National Top 5
Despite Baylor backing out, the Saturday night game of this series will still be LSU’s national TV premier on SEC Network, with the greats Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson on the call
Friday, 7pm, SECN+
LSU – Jr. RH Jaden Hill (2-1, 6.97 ERA, 10.1 IP, 2 BB, 9 SO)
UTSA – So. RH Luke Malone (1-1, 3.38 ERA, 10.2 IP, 2 BB, 9 SO)
Saturday, 7pm SEC Network
LSU – Jr. RH Landon Marceaux (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 17.0 IP, 0 BB, 21 SO)
UTSA – So. RH John Chomko (0-0, 1.59 ERA, 5.2, IP, 3 BB, 6 SO)
Sunday, 1pm SECN+
LSU – Jr. RH AJ Labas (0-0, 3.14 ERA, 14.1 IP, 3 BB, 20 SO)
UTSA – Jr. RH Reece Easterling (1-0, 1.74 ERA, 10.1 IP, 2 BB, 8 SO)