READY, SET, GO! LSU’s Quest for first SEC Baseball Championship since 2017 begins in Starkville this Weekend, Todd Walker Previews LSU, SEC

LSU baseball great Todd Walker
LSU baseball great Todd Walker likes LSU's chances to win the SEC in 2024, has the Tigers No. 1 in the country, too. Photo by LSU Athletics

“Jay Johnson is an offensive guy. He’s not going to put a dude out in the outfield just because he can run them down. He’s going to put three studs that can hit out there.”

LSU and College Baseball Hall of Famer TODD WALKER

No. 2 LSU baseball’s matchup against North Dakota State tonight is the final game the Tigers will play before heading into a grueling SEC schedule that starts this weekend against Mississippi State.

LSU has started the season 15-2 and will be looking for its first SEC title since it split the regular season championship with Florida and won the SEC tournament in 2017.

The SEC has nine teams ranked in the top 25, including six in the top ten and the No. 1 team in the nation in Arkansas. LSU has a regular season series with every SEC team currently ranked in the top 10 and two more with teams in the top 25.

LSU is one of six SEC teams with only two losses this season. Tennessee and Georgia sit at 17-1 and Texas A&M remains a perfect 17-0 this season. Missouri and Florida are the only SEC teams with more than five losses.

The Tigers will play four top 10 teams in four weeks after playing Mississippi State.

Florida came into the season ranked as the No. 2 team in the nation but has dropped six games so far this season. The Gators are still a dangerous team and currently sit at No. 8 in the rankings despite the early season struggles. LSU hosts Florida the weekend after traveling to Mississippi State.

The next weekend will see LSU hit the road to face No. 1 Arkansas before following that up with series against No. 9 Vanderbilt and No. 5 Tennessee in the following weeks.

“Mississippi State’s going to be better than they were last year,” LSU baseball great and Hall of Famer and Studio Analyst Todd Walker said. “Then they got Florida at home, then at Arkansas and Vanderbilt, Tennessee. The first five weeks are ridiculously tough. The good thing for Jay Johnson is he’s played a lot of guys. They’ve all got a little experience out on the field so they’re not going to be shellshocked. But [LSU] is definitely going to face some arms for sure.”

LSU’s offense is hitting .306 this season, good for sixth place in the SEC. The Tigers’ .490 slugging percentage is ninth best in the conference and their 139 runs scored is tied for ninth.

LSU’s leading home run hitter is Jared Jones with five. Georgia’s Charlie Condon leads the country with 13.

LSU head coach Jay Johnson continues to tinker with the lineup to help generate more offense for the Tigers. Johnson moved catcher Brady Neal to right field in the first game against NDSU and he went 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI.

“Jay Johnson is an offensive guy,” Walker said. “He’s not going to put a dude out in the outfield just because he can run them down. He’s going to put three studs that can hit out there.”

Despite the Tigers’ struggles on the offensive side of the ball, the pitching staff has been one of the strengths of the team. LSU has the seventh best ERA in the nation with a 2.98 and is third in strikeouts per nine innings.

Even though LSU’s ERA is the seventh best in the country, LSU only has the fifth best ERA in the SEC. Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas A&M all have better ERA’s and are the top four teams in the country for the stat.

 LSU is giving up a .207 batting average to opposing hitters this season, but Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas A&M all hold teams to less than .200.

LSU’s Luke Holman is tied for the SEC lead in strikeouts with Hagen Smith and Ryan Prager. All three players have 40 strikeouts each.

LSU plays NDSU today at 4 p.m. before heading on the road to take on Mississippi State in a three-game series this weekend.

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Will Nickel

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