LSU came out clicking in all phases of the game, dominating a 13-3 series sweeping win with a number of freshmen stealing the show. The win moves LSU (23-9, 7-5) to 5-1 on the road in the SEC and 3-4 at Alex Box during conference play.
The freshmen duo of Sam Dutton and Grant Taylor have been on the radar for several weeks as a glimpse into the future and the two carried over their terrific SEC play into Starkville on Sunday. Dutton once again drew the start and worked his way through three innings of one run baseball to give the offense time to get going.
Dutton has been fantastic at mixing up his pitches, pushing the fastball into the 91-93 mph range and he was really sharp after allowing a leadoff home run in the first. Taylor would come in relief of Dutton in the fourth and once again showed why his potential is so great with this program.
He'd strikeout the side in the fourth and go into the seventh inning, hitting 97 mph on his fastball. Taylor ran into a little bit of trouble in the seventh, allowing a two run homer but was otherwise very productive in a game that was already decided. The dynamic freshmen duo's latest dominant outing on the mound has pushed the conversation into should both he and Dutton have a starting role on this staff?
It was going to be hard to outmatch the freshmen pitchers on the mound but a pair of freshmen outfielders did their best to make an even bigger statement. Jay Johnson has wanted to get Josh Pearson and Josh Stevenson in the outfield and for the first time both earned the nod in the field, with Pearson earning the start in right and Stevenson in left.
While Stevenson certainly looked the part in his first career start, going 1-for-2 at the plate with a run scored, it was Pearson who stole the show. The freshman right fielder went 3-for-5 at the plate with two home runs and five RBI's on the afternoon. His three run homer in the fifth was the swing that really gave the Tigers the separation needed to feel comfortable the rest of the way.
Pearson has made a statement to earn a more permanent spot in right following a two hit performance Saturday with his red hot day at the plate Sunday. But the success from Pearson was just the tip of the iceberg for LSU and its offensive outpour.
The first five of LSU's order accounted for 12 of the 13 runs batted in during the contest, with Dylan Crews and Cade Doughty also putting forth a multi hit afternoon. Catcher Tyler McManus was also very productive out of the eight hole for the purple and gold, collecting three hits on the day.
LSU would score 12 runs in the fifth through eighth innings, stringing together one of the more impressive offensive spurts of the season. The at bats were aggressive all day after a relatively tame first few days at the plate, with the approach really paying off in a special way Sunday.
The Tigers will look to ride this momentum into another tough week starting with Lamar at home before traveling to Arkansas for a second straight road series.