Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pitching Leads Way For SEC Tournament Title

After losing their first game Wednesday night, LSU rattled off 5 straight wins to win the SEC Tournament title on Sunday. Forced to fight their way through the loser's bracket, LSU dug deep into their pitching staff. All season, LSU has been trying to find a consistent option on the mound other than the weekend starters and the closer. The story for LSU at this tournament was the outstanding performances of LSU's starting pitchers not named Coleman, Ranaudo, or Ross.

Needing to beat Georgia twice on Saturday, LSU first turned to Daniel Bradshaw and he was outstanding. Pitching a 7-inning complete game, Bradshaw allowed just 3 hits and no runs. Bradshaw has really pitched well lately, and he's starting to look like LSU's best option in long relief or as another starter. Over his last several outings including Saturday, Bradshaw has logged 13.2 innings, 0 earned runs, and just 5 hits. Needless to say, that's phenomenal. His confidence is building, and he'll be someone LSU looks to in the post-season.

Digging a bit deeper for the 2nd game Saturday night, LSU went with Nolan Cain. Wildly inconsistent during the regular season, Cain delivered his best performance of the year. He pitched 5.1 inning, surrendered just 3 hits, and gave up 2 earned runs.

For the championship game, LSU looked to senior Ryan Byrd(pictured right) who started just his 3rd game of the season. Not much of a factor this year, Byrd pitched 7 innings giving up just 5 hits and 2 earned runs. He was fantastic.

LSU's pitching staff was the story of the SEC Tournament. Having some more pitchers build confidence heading into regional play is invaluable to this team moving forward.

It was announced on Sunday that LSU will host a regional. On Monday, the national Top 8 seeds will be announced and LSU is a lock to receive one of those. The other teams in the tournament will also be announced. In fact, I expect LSU to be ranked no lower than #2 and they may be the #1 overall seed. Most seem to think that Texas will receive the #1 overall seed, but we'll see. I'll post a small update on this site once it's announced so check back later.


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