LSU caught off guard, swept by Kansas

The weekend did not turn out quite like LSU head baseball coach Smoke Laval would have liked or expected. <br><br> By the end of a miserably cold and rainy weekend, Laval and the Tigers found themselves on the receiving end of a three-game sweep by the visiting Kansas Jayhawks.

Kansas (9-3) blew past LSU with three runs in the 10th inning Friday to steal a 9-6 win in the series opener. Saturday's game was rained out and postponed until Sunday, when the Jayhawks registered a pair of two-run victories. Kansas turned back the Tigers 6-4 in the first game and won the second 9-7 in seven innings.

 

"I am not making any excuses, I think Kansas is pretty good," Laval said, "offensively. I don't think their pitching is going to keep them in ball games, but I think they can swing it with anybody they play."

 

For the first time in three years, an opponent came into Alex Box Stadium and swept a series from the LSU Fighting Tigers, as the Kansas Jayhawks took a doubleheader from LSU on Sunday by scores of 6-4 and 9-7.   

 

The last team to sweep LSU in Baton Rouge was Houston, who did so in 2000.  The Tigers were also swept by Arkansas in Fayetteville in 2001. The sweep marked the first over a ranked opponent on the road in Kansas' history.

 

"They came out here today and came out to win," junior third baseman Aaron Hill said. "They put it to us and it was embarrassing."

 

Pitching is what was supposed to be the Tigers strong suit this season. All three starting pitchers, Jake Tompkins, Brian Wilson and Nate Bumstead, were all roughed up in their respective outings.

 

"There really wasn't anything disappointing that we can't correct," Laval said. "What is disappointing is our dominant pitching. I don't know what is wrong. That is what I am really disappointed in, from Jake, to (Brandon) Nall, to Wilson and to Bumstead."

 

Taking into consideration LSU may have been taking Kansas lightly, Hill said after watching the Jayhawks hit the ball Friday night, it was all business on Sunday.

 

"I think we kind of took them for granted at first," Hill said. "But not after Friday. When they came out Friday and really swung the bats that kind of woke us up. They came out and on Friday and hit Jake like that, we took them seriously after that."

 

From an offensive standpoint, Laval felt as if the Tigers did a good job at the plate.

 

"The first two games we swung the bats pretty good," Laval said. "We hit a lot of stingers. But not in the last game. They walked a few and then we would get an okay base hit."

 

Like Laval said at the beginning of the season, he expected veteran players to try ad carry the team in the early stages of the season until the newcomers came up to speed. He also mentioned that would come back to haunt this team.

 

"It is like I said early, (J.C.) Holt and (Blake) Gill don't look right swinging the bat," Laval said. "They are trying to do too much, too soon, too fast and I think that is the same thing with Jake (Tompkins) and with (Brian) Wilson."

 

Laval said he expected his newcomers to make mistakes and press the situations when times get tight, but he is disappointed in the fact he saw his veterans doing the same thing.

 

"The problem is that the guys that have been here acting like that thinking they have to do too much," Laval said. "They are trying to hit like 1.010 for us to win the game when all they need to do is hit ground balls and move runners around like they have been taught to do. I know they can do it because I saw they do it all of last year."

 

There were a few bright spots over the weekend including the emergence of Quinn Stewart and his hot bat. Also several inexperienced pitchers rose to the occasion and showed Laval they may be closer to being ready than expected.

 

"A guy like Jordan Faircloth, who shouldn't really do well or a guy like Greg Smith comes out and really competes like that, they act like they belong out there," Laval said.

 

Faircloth and Smith each came on in relief on Sunday and gave Laval's staff some quality innings.


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