• LSUBEAT.com • Schedules • Depth Chart • Recruits • LSU in NFL • LSU Gear

Thursday, May 21, 2009


BATON ROUGE - LSU lost its Southeastern Conference Tournament opener 4-1 on Wednesday night, but it was a good loss as far as its future in the NCAA playoffs.

The second-ranked Tigers (41-16) got a decent start out of No. 3 starter Austin Ross, who allowed eight hits and four runs through six innings with five strikeouts and three walks. Ross will likely be needed to pitch in similar fashion in the NCAA Regional next weekend in Baton Rouge and possibly in the Super Regional the next weekend. His effort was good enough to win, but LSU managed just six hits. Remember, though, that LSU was going against Vanderbilt's No. 1 starter Mike Minor, who is expected to be a first round choice in the Major League Baseball Draft next month.

Minor is also a left-hander, and like most teams, LSU struggles with lefties. It was also the first time LSU played Vanderbilt this season and was its first crack at Minor.

LSU also got another sterling relief performance from reliever Chad Jones, who threw 1.1 innings of hitless, scoreless ball and struck out one with no walks. Paul Bertuccini was also sharp out of the bullpen, allowing no runs or hits with one walk in one inning. We know LSU can hit, though it has an off game every now and then. The most important thing about this tournament for LSU, which is already assured of a top eight national seed, is how its pitching develops for the postseason that matters. Ross, Bertuccini and Jones pitching well is as important at this point as a victory.

The top-seeded Tigers will fare better this afternoon in a 1:30 elimination game against fourth-seeded Alabama (37-18), which lost 9-5 in 11 innings to South Carolina in Wednesday's late game that ended at about 1 a.m. Thursday. Alabama will throw a right-hander, Austin Hyatt (8-1, 2.96 ERA). LSU will counter with right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (7-3, 3.26 ERA). LSU took two of three at Alabama during the regular season.

Even if the Tigers lose today and are eliminated, they will still get that top seed and host the NCAA Regional and, if it advances, the Super Regional. Georgia won the SEC last season like LSU and went 0-2 in the this tournament and still hosted the two regionals and reached Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.


Post a Comment

<< Home