There are no “must win” games in April.
But the LSU baseball team has to make a statement this weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Tigers are two games back of the Razorbacks in the SEC Western Division standings, but more importantly than any of that, they enter play as a team without a clear-cut knockout victory over a worthwhile foe.
The Razorbacks are hot, entering play with a 24-6 record and a 7-2 mark in the SEC.
But on top of that, they’ve also been a bit potty-mouthed, as well.
Arkansas hitter Carson Shady told SEC Country that he “hates” LSU.
Razorbacks Ace pitcher Blaine Knight didn’t mince words, either.
He said that he has no fear about playing LSU, then gave a pointed reason why.
“We’re better than them,” Knight said.
So there you have it – the stakes are high, LSU is on the ropes, and it’s time for the Tigers to show some life.
The problem with the LSU baseball team right now isn’t that they are 5-4 in SEC play, but it’s that they just haven’t consistently played good baseball.
To beat the Razorbacks this weekend, that has to change.
To make a run for the rest of the season, that has to change, also.
And I have a feeling that if it doesn’t happen this weekend, it won’t happen at all.
The LSU/Arkansas rivalry is one of the best in college baseball.
These two teams bring out the best (and worst) in one another, and I think we will see a lot of passion on both sides.
Get things rolling this weekend, and it may ignite a spark that stays ablaze until June.
Fall flat again, and it may be time for LSU baseball fans to accept reality – that this isn’t a very good baseball team.
Time will tell.
Pitching matchups are below.
LSU – Alex Lange, 3-3, 3.73 ERA, 41.0 IP, 55 strikeouts, 11 walks
Arkansas – Blaine Knight, 4-1, 2.23 ERA, 40.1 IP, 48 strikeouts, 2 walks
LSU – Jared Poche’, 6-1, 1.15 ERA, 47.0 IP, 31 strikeouts, 10 walks
Arkansas – Trevor Stephan, 4-2, 2.92 ERA, 37.9 IP, 50 strikeouts, 10 walks
LSU – Eric Walker, 3-0, 3.03 ERA, 38.2 IP, 43 strikeouts, 10 walks
Arkansas – TBA
THE RETURN OF ARDEN KEY
Twitter was sent into frenzy this morning with the news that Arden Key is either back with the LSU football team or is getting close to being back.
Man, that’s awesome news for LSU, if true.
Key is one of the best defensive lineman in the country, and he is an absolute terror for opponents to scheme against in a given week.
We’re not sure his reasons for leaving the team, but whatever issues he may have faced, we certainly hope are behind him.
From the LSU spring football beat, I had a couple of friends of mine visit LSU coach Ed Orgeron this past week.
He and I share the same hometown, so he’s been inviting a lot of south Louisiana Cajuns to his humble abodes throughout spring camp.
The reports I’ve heard back are promising, and it seems like Orgeron is VERY hopeful in LSU’s chances for the fall.
Offensively, everything I’ve heard so far has been positive. Matt Canada seems like a whiz – the kind of guy who will mix and match his personnel to beat SEC defenses.
Of course, we already know what Dave Aranda can do with the defense.
Add Key back into the mix, and spring back has been pretty glistening so far, though we continue to proceed with guarded caution, because the SEC truly is that damned good, and it’s so hard to win in such a competitive league.