1. Kentucky sour mashed
The Southeastern Conference’s top hitting team flexed its offensive muscle against LSU this weekend. Kentucky put up some truly absurd numbers against some talented pitchers, hitting almost .400 as a team (42 for 107). The stats accrued by the top five hitters in the order are borderline obscene: 33 for 64 (an astronomical .516 average), 21 runs scored and 18 driven in. Second baseman Riley Mahan was the king of kings, turning in the type of weekend that video game enthusiasts would dream of. He went 9 fir 12 with a pair of doubles, a home run, three runs and five RBIs. He was also intentionally walked twice and hit by a pitch, meaning he reached base in 12 of 15 plate appearances.
2. Ineffectively wild
What compounded problems for the LSU pitching staff this weekend was its difficulty throwing strikes. Only 54.4 percent of the pitches LSU threw went for strikes (271 of 498), and 15 percent of those strikes resulted in Kentucky hits. LSU walked 22 batters and hit six more, meaning it gave away 28 free passes. To put that in perspective, LSU had issued 17 free passes in the six games leading up to the Kentucky series. “You feel like you can almost spit over that right-field fence, and the pitchers were just very tentative to throw the ball over the plate because they knew how easy it was to hit in this park,” coach Paul Mainieri said.
3. Where they stand
LSU will go into the final four weekends of the SEC season needing to make up three games in the conference standings. The good news is the Tigers have a chance to face two teams that are currently ahead of them in the standings, but that also means they will have to beat some good teams to make up ground. All of which is to say that, at some point soon, LSU is going to have to put it together. At this juncture, it has felt as though every time LSU has built some forward momentum, it has taken a step back. As the season nears the home stretch, the Tigers can’t stay on the course they’ve been on if they are to play the meaningful games they’re accustomed to in May — and, for that matter, June.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — In its 17th inning of Friday baseball, LSU took its first lead.
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