The LSU baseball team probably could have added a few dollars to the price of admission to this weekend’s games after putting on a defensive clinic against Georgia.
“They’re great,” freshman pitcher Eric Walker said. “I don’t even know what other adjective to use.”
The Tigers did not commit an error in the series, giving them 12 error-free games this season. They raised their season fielding percentage to .981, which is .001 better than the school record set a few seasons ago.
“I think we’ve got a good defensive team,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “It’s something we place a premium on. We expect players to play good defense at LSU. They answered the call this weekend.”
The LSU defense wasn’t just making the easy play, either.
LSU turned five double plays in the series, the last of which may have been the most important: Freshman third baseman Josh Smith speared a line drive by Georgia cleanup hitter Michael Curry, then flipped to second base to complete the double play.
Smith said Curry’s swing had been late on a few pitches, so he took a step or two toward second base, which may have made the difference.
“That’s what wins games in this league: pitching and defense,” shortstop Kramer Robertson said. “If you do those consistently, you’re always going to have a chance to win.”
Georgia tried to use a defensive shift against LSU left-handed slugger Greg Deichmann, moving all but two of its defensive players to the right side of second base.
It failed miserably. Deichmann had four opposite-field base hits this weekend, beating the shift each time.
“They started pitching me away, and I didn’t understand why they were shifting and throwing me away,” Deichmann said. “I don’t know if they’re trying to play mind games or if they really believe I’m going to pull everything. But if they’re pitching me away, my plan is to go that way with it.”
Ouch times five
Georgia pitchers hit LSU hitters with pitches 13 times this weekend, nearly doubling their season total in just three games.
Freshman first baseman Jake Slaughter was a magnet for balls thrown by Georgia pitchers. He was hit in his first at-bat of each game, and he finished the series having been beaned a team-high five times.