The second weekend of the season didn’t go as planned for LSU. First the Friday night game againstSoutheastern Louisianawas suspended due to severe weather and wasn’t completed until Sunday afternoon. Then the No. 3 Tigers played poorly in a 9-4 loss to BYU on Saturday.
When all was said and done LSU had won two out of three to improve to 6-1. The loss Saturday was ugly, but the 13-1 victory against SLU in Sunday’s resumption mitigated that.
Some observations from week No. 2:
–The breakout performances by Raph Rhymes and Mason Katz on Sunday were inevitable and figured to come sooner rather than later. They showed that when those two are hitting, the Tigers have a more productive lineup than they did a year ago. But it remains to be seen who, if anyone, is going to pick up the slack when one or both of those two go through the inevitable lulls. The starts by Chris Sciambra and JaCoby Jones are encouraging, but the one by Ty Ross isn’t.
–Freshman OF Mark Laird made great strides from the first week to the second. He had a total of eight hits over the weekend after having just two before that.
–Sean McMullen didn’t get into a game over the weekend, not even Sunday when coach Paul Mainieri emptied the bench and played every other position player. Stay tuned.
–The Tigers’ next game – at Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday – figures to be more revealing than typical mid-week game especially in February. It’s the team’s first road game of the young season and will come in a hostile environment. It will be useful to see how the first-year players respond.
–It will also be useful to see how left-hander Cody Glenn handles the environment as well. Glenn pitched very well in his first start against Lamar, giving up one run in five innings.
–Tuesday’s game also will bring the season debut of right-handed reliever Nick Rumbelow, who has been sidelined because of a muscle strain in his side. Rumbelow is a key member of the bullpen and if he proves to be another dependable veteran to complement Joey Bourgeois and Chris Cotton, Mainieri won’t have lean as much on newcomers.
–Speaking of the necomers, the bullpen came back to earth after a strong start to the weekend. Nate Fury, Hunter Devall and Will LaMarche all had uneven performances after good debuts. It’s still a ways until Southeastern Conference play starts March 15, but between now and then a couple of newcomers need to demonstrate that they can be counted on.
–By the time SEC play starts, either Glenn or Brent Bonvillain, who has had two solid starts, will move to the bullpen.