LSU’s offense had some pretty lofty preseason expectations to live up to and for the most part, the Tigers have done a great job of fulfilling those high praises early in the 2022 season.
But ever the perfectionist, there are some ways in which Jay Johnson knows this team can get better yet isn’t overly concerned with one particular shortcoming this offense is still working through.
It’s been a difficult last few games in terms of leaving guys on base for this team. After leaving 27 on base in Houston this past weekend, the Tigers left nine more against a good McNeese State team on Wednesday. But there are a few reasons why Johnson isn’t worried with the number of missed opportunities this offense has left on the table in recent games.
“I think if you look at the numbers across the season, we’ve probably been in the upper echelon of the country in regards to that,” Johnson said. “As I watch college baseball games, I see a lot of that going on. I think pitching development has exceeded hitting development across the country and it lends itself to leaving guys out there.”
The positive from LSU’s perspective is while the Tigers may not be converting on some of their opportunities, they’re still putting guys on base at an elite rate. The purple and gold rank No. 7 in the country in on base percentage at 45.3% and have a team batting average of .319 which is among the top 25 teams in the country all bundled pretty closely together.
Eight of the nine starters who have been consistently part of the rotation have on base percentages well north of .400 with the team not 13 games into the season. LSU has still proven to be a team that doesn’t strike out very much, always putting the ball in play or drawing free bases. Giving themselves extra cracks at bringing those runners in is what the goal of this offense is and another reason why Johnson isn’t as worried about the number of runners left on this early in the season.
“Should be a top 10 type in the country but I’m very comfortable with where that’s at right now. If you said we’ve played 13 games and had one game where you’ve scored less than five runs I think we’d all take that,” Johnson said.
LSU heads into its final non-conference series of the regular season against a Bethune-Cookman team that the program has never faced, but has found a way to sneak into the NCAA tournament a few times over the last five years. The Tigers want to build a little momentum before conference play starts up next weekend against Texas A&M and the confidence in this offense hasn’t waned one bit.
“We’re a really good offense, that’s just a part of the game,” outfielder Gavin Dugas said. “That’s how it goes sometimes, we put some good swings and just missed some balls. We had a great mindset today, great approach from everybody. The whole lineup was really prepared and we did what we were supposed to do.”
(Photo courtesy of LSUsports)