In the last two Sports Trolls, I’ve expressed some optimism about the LSU baseball team, but I also tried my best to stay guarded.

Yes, the Tigers won a series at Arkansas in miraculous fashion, but the offense was still struggling, which led me to believe that the success was possibly short-lived.

I didn’t fully rule out a Rally Possum-like surge, but I didn’t know if this year’s team had the mojo that last year’s team did in terms of making a giant surge and ending the season with a bang.

But flash-forward to this edition of our friendly little journal, and I’m starting to sip the Kool-Aid a little bit.

OK, never mind, I’m starting to sip the Kool-Aid a lot.

The LSU baseball team is cruising, and if they keep hitting like they did on Thursday against Ole Miss, the rest of the SEC may officially be on notice.

The Tigers crushed Ole Miss on Thursday at the Box – one of the most lopsided wins that LSU has had over any opponent this season. And that even includes the early season cream puffs.

LSU cranked out 15 hits in the win and got production from everyone in the lineup.

They weren’t cheap hits, either.

The Tigers hit the cover off the ball in that series-opening win over the Rebels, pounding pitches all over the field to score runs in the first seven innings of the game.

On top of that, Alex Lange found it on the mound, stymying the Rebels for seven shutout innings to improve to 4-4 on the season with a 3.27 ERA.
Where it all goes from here, one can never predict. The Tigers have been consistently inconsistent on the season, so there’s no telling what the next chapter of this thrilling story will hold.

But for now, I’m convinced that prolonged prosperity is on the table – something I didn’t see coming a few weeks ago.

This has been a different team since that miraculous comeback at Arkansas.
Finally, after a lot of struggling and tons of frustration, this is a team that looks like one of the top clubs in the SEC.

Just ask Ole Miss – they didn’t have an answer for LSU on Thursday night.

Below are pitching matchups for the final two games of the series and some quick notes of a few things I want to see in the rest of the series.

GAME 2:
LSU – Jared Poche’ (6-1, 2.32 ERA, 50.1 innings, 33 strikeouts, 12 walks)
Ole Miss – David Parkinson (4-2, 2.85 ERA, 47.1 innings, 48 strikeouts, 12 walks)

GAME 3:
LSU – Eric Walker (4-0, 2.45 ERA, 47.2 innings, 47 strikeouts, 12 walks)
Ole Miss – Ryan Rolison (4-1, 1.99 ERA, 31.2 innings, 36 strikeouts, 9 walks)

WEEKEND TIPS:
•Can LSU’s bats stay hot? Both Parkinson and Rolison have been hot for the Rebels. They will be tough to hit hard.
•Can Poche’ get ‘it’ back? Since starting the season as one of the best pitchers in the country, Poche’ has labored a little bit in his past few outings.
•Can anyone get Deichmann out? LSU rightfielder Greg Deichmann is one of the hottest power hitters in the country, swinging a red-hot stick for LSU.
•LSU’s bullpen woes need to end. The Tigers’ bullpen needs to get itself right in the final two games against the Rebels to build some confidence for the rest of the season.

Photo: DIG file.

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