Hot Hitter Report: Week 4

LSU outfielder and Florida native junior Giovanni DiGiacomo is set to play in a summer league with the Florida Pokers in Deerfield Beach. PHOTO BY Jonathan Mailhes

Welcome to the Hot Hitter Report where each week we examine the LSU lineup over the past five games and look for trends, specifically which batters are on a hot streak and which ones are in a slump.

Hot Hitters

Giovanni DiGiacomo: .471 batting average/.526 on-base percentage/.882 slugging percentage

By now you’ve probably heard how LSU adopted an opposite field approach at the plate over the past week. That approach has done wonders for the Tiger center fielder who is 8 for his last 17 in the last five games.

DiGiacomo had multiple hits in every game against UMass Lowell over the weekend, including a 3 for 3 outing Friday night. Of his seven hits over the weekend, two were doubles and one was a triple.

Due to the midweek game against Grambling being postponed, the no-hitter Oklahoma threw against LSU is still included in that data set. If you removed it, DiGiacomo’s average shoots all the way up to .571.

Collier Cranford: .455/.455/.636

As well as the change in approach has worked for DiGiacomo, it’s arguably worked even better for shortstop Cranford. Friday night Cranford went 1 for 2 at the plate, picking up just his third hit of the season.

In the second game against the River Hawks, he doubled that total with a 3 for 4 outing.

In the Sunday finale, Cranford went hitless in two at bats but the damage has been done. He’s 5 for his last 11 and providing quality production from the nine hole.

Cranford will likely never be a cleanup hitter but with his glove at short, this kind of production to turn the lineup over and set up LSU’s best hitters can give LSU a fighting chance every weekend in a brutal SEC schedule.

Cade Doughty: .353/.389/.588

Speaking of the top of the lineup, Doughty’s hard luck has finally ran expired.

The reigning Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year started his career with a home run in his first at bat, but has had a rough go of it following that. It’s not that he wasn’t hitting the ball hard, because he was. It was just those hard-hit balls were finding gloves.

Between the misfortune at the plate and some mistakes in the infield, Doughty was benched for a brief period of time. Over the weekend was moved up to leadoff hitter, and he has shown some comfort in that role.

Doughty is 6 for 17 over the last five games, and in his debut as leadoff hitter Friday night, he went a perfect 3 for 3. He tapered off from there, finishing the weekend 4 for 11.

Slumping Swingers

Zack Mathis: .000/.238/.000

Since the Tigers were no-hit by the Sooners’ Dane Acker, Mathis hasn’t been able to pick up a hit, going 0 for 16.

He has gotten on base with five walks, but that’s been the only way he’s reached first. Over the past week Mathis has struck out eight times, including three times Saturday.

LSU will need Mathis, one of the true power threats in the lineup, to wake up from his slumber and do so soon with SEC play beginning this weekend.

Alex Milazzo: .056/.261/.278

Milazzo’s last hit was his home run against Baylor in Houston last Saturday. Since then he is 0 for 17.

That’s bad, but it’s not the end of the world for Milazzo. He’s in the starting lineup for his arm and defensive skills as a catcher, not for his bat. Plus he has still gotten on base, drawing five walks over the past five games, including a three-walk night in game one against the River Hawks.

Drew Bianco: .077/.294/.231

Bianco picked up one hit against Southeastern and that was it, dropping him down to 1 for 13 over his last five games.

Bianco sat out Sunday while Mitchell Sanford got the start in the left field. With the news that freshman outfielder Maurice Hampton Jr. will be out for a while with a stress reaction in his back, Bianco will likely have ample chances to get it going at the plate and earn the starting spot.

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