LSU’s ability to compete for championships lies in improving pitching
At some point in June, LSU will name a new baseball coach.
That coach has one path to rapid improvement in the SEC West.
Improve the pitching.
The earned run average for the Tigers in Southeastern Conference games is bloated. 5.22.
That isn’t LSU baseball.
Losing Friday night starter Jaden Hill to Tommy John surgery was a huge blow to the pitching staff.
But in 2021, the Tigers simply didn’t have enough quality arms.
SEC opponents hit .274 against LSU pitchers, who also allowed 105 extra base hits including nine triples.
Here are the extra base hits allowed from the upper echelon of the SEC in conference games.
Arkansas allowed 67, Mississippi State allowed 70, Tennessee allowed 83 and Vanderbilt allowed 84.
LSU allowed 284 hits in 265 innings.
In the Mainieri years, LSU have been led by excellent pitching to Omaha.
Those outstanding arms have been selected early in the Major League Baseball draft.
In 2010, Anthony Renaudo was picked number 39. Two years later, Kevin Gausman was the fourth pick in the draft. In 2014, Aaron Nola was picked No. 7.
In 2017, the last time LSU reached the College World Series, Alex Lange was pick number 30.
Great arms win the Friday night games in the Southeastern Conference.
Great arms keep you in the winner’s bracket in NCAA regionals.
Great arms win the first game of Super Regionals.
Great arms win the big games on the biggest stage in Omaha.
This season, right hander Landon Marceaux of Destrehan has been outstanding, crafting a 2.26 earned run average. Since he allowed eight earned runs in 5.1 innings to Vanderbilt on April 1, Marceaux has allowed a total of just 14 earned runs in his subsequent eight starts.
Even that number is skewed by the three Georgia runs scored in the first inning in the SEC tournament after LSU failed to turn a routine double play.
Marceaux will get his chance to prove his mettle in the NCAA Tournament.
He will have to win but also get plenty of help.
LSU’s post-season journey is arduous.
The Tigers travel to Eugene, Oregon and, if they survive, likely follow that with a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee.
But when this journey ends, the new head coach take over soon after.
And his task is simple.
Lower the earned run average of his pitching staff, and accelerate LSU’s return to the top of both the SEC standings and college baseball rankings.
Paul Mainieri announced his retirement Friday after 15 seasons at LSU, so for only the third time in nearly four decades, the Tigers are in the market for a head baseball coach. Where will Scott Woodward turn to replace Mainieri? If the women’s basketball search told us anything, it’s that Woodward isn’t afraid to swing...
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…