LSU Baseball Analysis after 12 Games, First 20%-plus of Regular Season (Plus Jay Johnson Video)

"I think the best has yet to come," Jay Johnson said in reference to the growth he has seen thus far

Paxton Kling. Photo by Michael Bacigalupi

No. 3 LSU baseball is 12 games into the season and the team is starting to find its groove after winning the championship at the Astros Foundation Classic.

The tournament included wins over No. 14 Texas and tricky UL and Texas State teams. Despite dropping a game to Stony Brook in the second weekend of the season LSU has looked like the team that most people expected heading into the season.

The early contests this season have served as tune-up games as LSU prepares for a grueling SEC schedule later in the season. LSU has regular season matchups with seven ranked SEC teams. The Tigers will play No. 4 Florida, No. 2 Arkansas, No. 9 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Tennessee, No. 19 Auburn, No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 15 Alabama this season.

LSU has shown the ability to win shootouts and defensive battles in the opening few weeks of the season and will look to continue to improve as the SEC slate nears.

The Tigers’ offense is batting .326 the season with 23 doubles, three triples and 18 homers. LSU’s batting average is top 25 in the country and LSU’s 131 hits rank 17th in the country. Its 116 runs scored is good for 15th in nation.

LSU has scored 10 or more runs in six of its 12 games this season. Its offense has hit a homer in every game except one this season.

Steven Milam leads the Tigers with a .405 batting average in 37 at bats. Jared Jones leads the way with 15 RBI followed closely by Hayden Travinski with 14 and Tommy White with 12. Jones leads the team in homers with five.

LSU won the season opener in an 11-8 shootout with VMI. LSU won an 18-10 game the next week against Stony Brook.

But LSU has shown its starting pitchers can hang with any group in the country this season too. Luke Holman, Gage Jump and Thatcher Hurd are LSU’s three weekend starters so far this season. All three put in some of their best pitching performances this season at the Astros Classic.

Holman faced a tough Texas team and didn’t allow a run while recording 12 strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched. He gave up just three hits and one walk in the game. Holman is 3-0 this season in three starts and has yet to give up a run.

Jump is coming off a UCL injury and has been on a pitch count early in the season but has flashed his potential in his 8.1 innings pitched this season. He has three appearances this season and two starts. He has yet to give up an earned run in and has only allowed three hits and one walk so far. He gave up only one hit in 5.0 innings pitched this weekend against UL.

Hurd has struggled early on this season but put together one of his better performances of the year against Texas State on Sunday. Hurd has a 6.75 ERA this season in 12.0 innings pitched and has the only loss of the season for LSU, but he held the Bobcats scoreless through four innings before giving up two earned runs in the fifth inning.

LSU’s pitching staff has posted a 3.74 ERA which is good for 34th in the country. LSU’s 2.91 strikeout to walk ratio ranks 28th in the country. The Tigers have posted a 1.29 WHIP this season.

Fidel Ulloa and Sam Dutton have both made four appearances in relief for LSU this season and neither pitcher has given up a run in 10.1 innings pitched between the two of them.

LSU has a game against Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond this Wednesday before a 6-5 Xavier team comes to town for the Tigers’ first three-game series of the season. Afterwards LSU will have two more tune-up games against North Dakota State on March 12 and 13 before it starts SEC play with a three-game series against Mississippi State.

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