Another ho-hum win for the Tigers. Down 4-0 in the 9th inning, the Tigers drew two walks to lead off the inning (a difficult task since you could have driven a Buick through the umpire’s strike zone), setting up Matt Clark’s three-run bomb. Not to be outdone, Ryan Schimpf doubled home the tying run with two outs and two strikes. No pressure or anything. By the time Blake Dean hit a solo shot to win it in the 10th, the whole thing seemed pre-ordained. Here’s the highlights:
Win #17. No biggee. So, let’s answer the unanswered question from yesterday: who is the Tigers MVP? Well, let’s look at the contenders:
It could be this guy. Blake Dean leads the team with a 339 batting average, though I’m not really a batting average kind of guy. Let’s get used to the trilogy stats right now: AVG/OBP/SLG. It gives an idea of how a guy hits, how often he gets on, and with how much power. Dean hit 339/421/610. He had 14 HR and 49 RBI. He even steals the occasional base (4 of 6). He plays decent defense, and his been a rock in the middle of the order all season, batting third in 45 games and never batting lower than 5th. He’s the guy the team relies on, he’s the star player, he’s the obvious choice.
But it could be this guy. On a team that relies so heavily on freshmen and sophomores, Michael Hollander is the senior leader that holds the team together. As the times got harder, Hollander played better. He hit 296/380/466 overall, but 308/379/519 in SEC play. He stole 4 of his 6 bases in SEC play, and only made 4 of his 15 errors in conference play. He’s been a stellar defensive third baseman, and he’s added the sock.
It could be this guy. Jared Bradford was a preseason All-American, but he was moved to the pen not because of poor pitching, but because Mainieri could use him in more games. He pitched in almost half of LSU’s games, and was a valuable swingman to get from the starters to the pen. But come on, he wasn’t as valuable of a pitcher as…
… this guy. Ryan Verdugo’s gonna make a lot of money next year. Mainly because lefties who throw a biting curveball are in high demand. Especially ones who go 8-2 with a 3.61 ERA, averaging almost a strikeout per inning. He’s given LSU the ace they have lacked for so long, and the team is no longer just giving away the Friday game.
It could be this guy. Ryan Schimpf has helped anchor the infield along with freshman DJ LeMahieu. I’m a firm believer that teams are built from the middle of the defensive spectrum out, so middle infielders are dear to my heart. Schimpf is probably the most well-rounded player on the team. He hits 301/407/550. He hit 10 homers, but also stole 13 bases. He also only made 2 errors all season, at one of the most demanding defensive positions. I hate to say he is without flaw, but he is pretty good at everything.
Or it could be this guy. Matt Clark is a force of nature at the plate. He’s actually a pretty good defensive 1st baseman, but he’s not here for his glove. He’s here because he hit 332/428/717. That’s right, he slugged 717. He hit 20 home runs in 52 games, an absurd total which harkens back to Gorilla Ball and aluminum bats. He hit slightly better in SEC play: 344/439/760. They say he can’t lefties, but that just means he doesn’t absolutely humiliate them the way he does righties.
Heck, you decide.