It sure looked like all LSU needed was to find a little bit of confidence. After finding that spark to pull even with Florida on Saturday, the Tigers continued that swagger into Sunday afternoon with an 11-2 win.
Over the final two games, the Tigers outscored the Gators by a combined score of 27-6. The 29-13 run margin for the three game series is the fourth highest in the history of these two programs..
LSU (17-7, 3-3) picked up right where it left off in the double digit, series tying win over the Gators less than 24 hours ago, with another couple of monster scoring innings dictating the momentum.
The Tigers aggressive approach of hunting fastballs continued to work, with the purple and gold using their power and taking advantage of the Florida pitchers' mistakes to hang four runs in the fourth and seven more in the sixth to jump out to an 11-0 lead. One standout performance was Brayden Jobert, who destroyed his second and third homers of the series in the big innings, going 2-for-5 for the game with five RBI.
Eight of the nine LSU starters picked up at least one hit and one run throughout the afternoon, but the real winner for the offense was the Gators pitching staff.
Florida also helped LSU a bit offensively by hitting eight batters in the first six innings alone, with five of those runners coming across to score. The NCAA record is 10 hit batters but the most important part was the offense being able to bring those free bases home for runs.
Two of the home runs by Jobert and catcher Hayden Travinski both came after the Gators pitching staff hit the previous LSU batter with a pitch. Gavin Dugas alone collected three hit by pitches. After Giovanni DiGiacomo was hit in the sixth, back-to-back singles from Cade Doughty and Tre Morgan brought him in, just another example of LSU capitalizing on Florida mistakes.
With 61 total hit by pitch free bases this season, the Tigers are continuing to make opposing pitching staffs pay for those mistakes.
While it wasn't all perfect for freshman Sam Dutton in his first collegiate start from a command stand point, Dutton was effective in getting himself out of sticky situations. Dutton handed out four free bases in the first two innings, setting up a two out, bases loaded predicament in the opening frame that he was able to get around.
Jay Johnson and the Tigers got exactly what they needed out of the freshman, who went 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball, surrendering just one hit that helped LSU build out its early lead. LSU turned the ball over to fellow freshman Grant Taylor, who also put together a strong outing of 5.1 relief innings, allowing two runs but really controlling the strike zone nicely with the double digit lead.
For two true freshmen on the road in the SEC to put together that kind of performance is undoubtedly a major positive sign for this staff. The pitching over the last two days was a bright spot for a group that really struggled at the start of SEC play.
This was undoubtedly a huge momentum boosting weekend for the Tigers, who not only pull even in SEC play but prove to themselves they can hang with the best in the conference.