Kevin Gausman’s outing Friday was cause for a lot of optimism.
|Ryan Eades: Saturday outing was not a positive step|
Ryan Eades’ performance Saturday was again shaky and may force Mainieri to start thinking about different options as the postseason gets closer.
Eades allowed four runs on eight hits in four innings, the third time in five starts he hasn’t gotten to the fifth inning. He has also surrendered four runs or more in four of those five starts.
“He’s just been struggling on getting the ball down in the zone and putting guys away,” Mainieri said.
That has not been an issue for Gausman, who bounced back from back-to-back outings when he allowed 10 hits by stymying the Rebels.
In 7.2 innings, Gausman gave up six hits and three runs. He wasn’t around for the decision in a 13-inning marathon win for the Tigers, but he certainly made an impact.
“I thought Gausman was outstanding, absolutely outstanding,” Mainieri said.
“Anything short of the performance he gives us, we don’t win because their kid (Bobby Wahl) was really outstanding.”
LSU has struggled at times with losing runners on the base paths this season and twice in this series a runner has been thrown out because of what might be construed as a base-running blunder.
Mainieri isn’t ready to say base running is a weakness, though.
Because the Tigers don’t possess great team speed, they have to manufacture runs more than usual – especially since home runs are also not as prominent in college baseball as they have been in the past.
It’s also painfully obvious that LSU has a propensity for hitting into double plays because so many of their hitters are ground-ball oriented and the two best batters – Mason Katz and Raph Rhymes – tend to make solid contact, which often facilitates made-to-order twin killings.
|Raph Rhymes: Aggressive base running cost him Friday, but Mainieri wants his team taking chances|
Saturday was the fourth time this season LSU the Tigers have grounded into three double plays in a game. They have done so 36 times this season.
What that means I that there will be more hitting-and-running to try and get runners in motion and veteran players are encouraged to try and claim extra bases whenever and wherever they can.
On Friday, that backfired when Rhymes thought he had a good read on a ball in the dirt and was gunned down trying to advance to second base.
Then on Saturday, freshman Tyler Moore never turned back and looked on a hit-and-run when Tyler Hanover lined out to right field. Moore was an easy out at second base to end an LSU scoring threat with JaCoby Jones on deck.
Mainieri said he didn’t fault Rhymes because it was an aggressive play but a bad read. He called Moore’s play a snafu.
“There’s a difference between being aggressive and running the bases out of control,” Mainieri said. “If you’re too tentative to make sure you’re doing nothing wrong, then you never make anything happen.
“I don’t mind us being an aggressive team on the base paths and when you’re like that, there are going to be times when you gamble and lose. Sometimes we need to be a little smarter.”
Around the horn
With Saturday’s loss, LSU is now 10-9 in day games this season, 27-2 in night games.
The Tigers have played three rubber games in SEC play this season – both on the road – and have split them. LSU came back to clip Florida 8-7 to take that series and lost at Kentucky 7-6 to drop that set.
Two of the last three series against Ole Miss have gone to a decisive third game, with the Tigers winning each time.
LSU is looking to win a series in Oxford for the first time since 2002.
Rhymes extended his hitting streak to a season-best 14 games with an 8th-inning single. He finished 1-for-3, just the third game in the last 14 when he hasn’t collected multiple hits. Rhymes’ national best batting average is at .497 after Saturday.
Moore has two hits in each of the games against the Rebels, the first time this season he has produced consecutive games with more than one hit. Those four hits have also elevated his average to .286, his highest mark since April 10.
After going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position Friday, Ole Miss produced four hits in nine chances Saturday, which accounted for six of the Rebels’ seven runs.
Carson BaranikThe Tigers had had as many runners wiped out on double plays Saturday as they left stranded – four apiece.
Freshman Carson Baranik will leave the program after this season, Mainieri said Saturday. The coach said it was his suggestion that Baranik transfer after a tumultuous 2012 season that began with a suspension when he was suspended after being charged with driving under the influence right before the season began. In three appearances, Baranik has logged 3.2 innings with three hits allowed, no runs, 5 strikeouts and 2 walks.