One base at a time fine with Rhymes

NOTES: LSU's right fielder leads the team in average, hits and RBIs.

Through 14 games, Raph Rhymes leads LSU in hits (26), batting average (.481) and RBIs (20), but he’s still not immune from a bit of needling from his teammates.


In particular, Mason Katz doesn’t hesitate to point out that Rhymes has a propensity for singles. Of Those 26 hits, 22 are for one base.


Late in Friday’s 6-0 victory against Michigan, Rhymes poked a hit into the left-field corner and didn’t hesitate as he rounded first base on his way to a hustle double.


“I was thinking to myself, I better get a double here or Katzy is going to be all over me,” Rhymes said with a smile.


All jabs aside, nobody affiliated with LSU is trifling with the way Rhymes is swinging the bat.


Since LSU coach Paul Mainieri flip-flopped Katz and Rhymes and inserted Rhymes in the cleanup hole, the Tigers junior right fielder is swinging at a torrid .552 clip (16-of-29) with 14 RBIs. His current eight-game hitting streak is LSU’s longest this season.


“Raph just has such tremendous bat control, and a swing that is going to produce line drives and hard ground balls all night long,” Mainieri said. “Even when he makes out, he puts the ball in play with and two strikes he hits the ball hard.”


Even if they are just singles.


“He could hit singles all day long as far as I’m concerned as long there are guys in scoring position and he’s producing runs,” Mainieri said.


Shutout streaks & power outages


LSU’s pitching staff has suffocated the last two opponents with back-to-back shutouts.


Aaron Nola and Nick Goody held Tulane in check last Wednesday and Kevin Gausman and Joey Bourgeois didn’t budge Friday night vs. Michigan.


Going back to the series finale against Dartmouth, Tigers pitching has logged 20.2 straight scoreless frames.


Michigan is on the opposite side of that equation.


The Wolverines were blanked again Saturday afternoon, 2-0 by Notre Dame. UM is on a stretch of 21.1 innings without a run and have to contend with LSU’s Ryan Eades Saturday night.


Nothing for free


A big reason runs have been so hard for foes to come by is the fact that the Tigers’ pitchers aren’t issuing walks.


The last free pass a foe got was in the seventh inning of the third game with Dartmouth and that was an intentional pass. The last actual walk was 24.2 innings ago when Kurt McCune walked the leadoff man in the Big Green’s fourth inning.


Friday night starter has recorded 25.1 consecutive innings since his last walk in the third inning of the season opener.


Around the horn

  • Seven of Grant Dozar’s nine hits this season are for extra bases – four doubles, two triples and a home run.
  • LSU ranks second nationally with 39 doubles after collecting three more Friday – two by Dozar. Stanford leads the nation with 41 two-baggers. LSU has produced at least two doubles in seven straight games.
  • After a two-game struggle against Appalachian State, the Tigers bats have been potent for seven games in a row. Since managing only seven in the two losses to the Mountaineers, LSU has whacked at least 12 hits in each of the last seven games and is hitting a collective .380 in that span.

SERIES UPDATE: LSU 6, Michigan 0

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