For the third time in four SEC games, the LSU offense was nonexistent at the plate, striking out 12 times and losing to No. 12 Tennessee 3-1. It was another winning performance from Landon Marceaux and the pitching staff but one that couldn't be helped by the offense.
Marceaux continued his dominant streak on the mound and looked the part in the role of LSU's Friday starter despite not having his best stuff. The junior went six innings to go along with nine strikeouts but did run into trouble throughout the evening that required some manuevering, allowing one earned run on the night.
It was as impressive a streak as there's been in this program's history but alas, Marceaux's scoreless earned run innings streak would end in Knoxville. After battling through two difficult innings to open the game, a leadoff double followed by a triple would lead to two runs in the third inning off the LSU starter.
He battled throughout the evening with some location issues with his offspeed pitches as he did walk three batters and hit a third. However, in the face of some adversity, Marceaux remained calm by keeping the game tight by not allowing a run for the rest of his time on the mound.
The LSU (16-6, 1-3) offense needed the help from Marceaux as aside from a Gavin Dugas solo home run in the second inning, the purple and gold weren't able to get much going. Eight strikeouts through the first five innings certainly played a factor in the early struggles
LSU batters struck out 31 times against the Bulldogs last weekend and with 12 more on Friday against the Volunteers, it's a trend that needs to be rectified. The 11 strikeouts for Tennessee starter Chad Dallas were a career high against the LSU offense.
Mainieri said it's a trend that is troubling now that it's happened in three of the four SEC contests the team has played to this point.
"I'm concerned about it. In the games we've lost it seems like we've scored one run. The games we've won we've scored five or more runs," Mainieri said. "We haven't been able to muster enough offense and it's troubling. We've got to keep battling and do better. Tomorrow's a new day and we've gotta do better."
"I tell you one thing, we're not gonna be down from this," Dugas said. "We're gonna come back tomorrow and gonna be better and execute what we need to do. There's no hanging heads, there's a lot of anger in a good way."
Dallas mixed up his pitches well and used a combination of just blowing the ball by LSU batters and keeping them guessing. To compound issues, Tennessee was able to put up an insurance run in the seventh inning to really apply pressure to the LSU offense.
It was an inning that could've been much worse but a self turned double play from second baseman Collier Cranford was able to keep it interesting. With Cade Doughty, Dylan Crews and Cade Beloso due up in the eighth, it felt like a prime opportunity for the Tigers to claw back in the game but a three up, three down showing was the dagger in LSU's comeback attempt.
Game two will start at 5 p.m. on Saturday with Jaden Hill on the mound.