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Series recap: App State shuts up LSU bats

2/26/2012

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Just as it looked like the LSU baseball team was riding another hot start to the season, Appalachian State showed up.

After dropping the opening game of the weekend series, the Mountaineers (4-2) roared back to humble the Tigers (5-2) by winning two straight games to hand LSU its first series loss.

The worst of the pair came in emphatic fashion Sunday afternoon, as Appalachian State absolutely crushed the Tigers, 11-1 to take the series rubber match.

The Mountaineers made short work of LSU Sunday starter Kurt McCune and forced him into the shortest outing of his career: three innings, seven hits and three earned runs.

LSU’s bullpen couldn’t do much better against a potent Mountaineer offense. The Tigers threw seven pitchers on Sunday, and six of them gave up at least one run.

Meanwhile, the LSU offense was completely ineffective for the second day in the row. The Tigers managed a measly four hits in 31 at-bats on Sunday, with their one run coming way too late in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI triple from Arby Fields.

LSU was equally inept at the plate Saturday, although the Tigers' pitching staff did a much better job of keeping things together. The Mountaineers hung on for a 1-0 win in the series’ second game behind a clinical performance from starter Ryan Arrowood (1-0).

Arrowood owned the LSU lineup throughout the day, striking out 10 batters and allowing just two hits in a full seven innings of work. The performance made a solid, 6.1 inning day by LSU starter Ryan Eades (1-1) look pedestrian by comparison.

Arrowood’s dominance on the mound was enough to give the Mountaineers the win on a solo home run from designated hitter Daniel Kassouf.

The win on Saturday offset what had been a workmanlike performance for LSU in the Friday night opener. The Tigers struggled again from the plate, but they managed to move runs home at the right times.

LSU worked its way to a 4-0 win, but it did so on a 4-of-33 performance as a team. The Tigers took a one-run lead on an RBI single from catcher Ty Ross, and they built that cushion while managing just one extra base hit.

Kevin Gausman (2-0) played a huge role in that win, limiting the Mountaineers to four hits and no runs in seven innings while adding seven strikeouts.

It’s still early in the season, but the depth of the Tigers’ offensive struggles has to be troubling for LSU coach Paul Mainieri.

The Tigers’ lineup, regardless of who Mainieri inserted into it, went an awful 11-for-96 (.114 average) against the Mountaineers. On top of that, LSU’s batters posted 23 strikeouts in three games.

It’s only the second week of the season, but considering the level of their ineptitude against a Southern Conference team, it’s scary to think how the Tigers might struggle against the aces in the SEC.