Three strikes: What we learned from LSU baseball’s opening weekend

LSU baseball finished its opening weekend 2-1 after beating Louisiana Tech 16-7 on Monday night.

The No. 7 Tigers opened their season with a 6-1 win over Air Force in their return to Alex Box Stadium. They then lost 6-5 to Air Force as defensive errors and a blown save stunted a comeback.

Here’s what we learned from the games:

Dylan Crews met the hype

Freshman right fielder Dylan Crews received comparisons to some of the best players in LSU history before he ever played a game. He backed them up this weekend, instantly asserting himself as LSU’s best hitter. Batting leadoff, Crews went 7 for 12 — a .583 average — with three RBIs and four walks. He also hit two home runs. The second one travelled 419 feet over the right-center field wall. Perhaps most importantly, Crews never struck out.

Gavin Dugas hit a grand slam with LSU trailing Louisiana Tech 6-2 on Monday night. It sparked an offensive outpouring.

Defensive concerns confirmed

Coach Paul Mainieri entered the season with concerns about LSU’s left side of the infield, and the opening weekend confirmed his suspicions, especially at third base. LSU started freshman two-way player Will Hellmers, and he made four errors in two games. Freshman Jordan Thompson started the last game as LSU continued its search and played well Monday. At shortstop, sophomore Zach Arnold asserted himself as a hitter. He didn’t have many defensive chances.

Paul Mainieri looks for 'solution' at third base with preseason concerns confirmed

Paul Mainieri entered the season with concerns about LSU’s defense at third base. The first two games showed why.

Get used to these freshmen

LSU used 10 true freshmen throughout the opening weekend. First baseman Tre’ Morgan started all three games along with Crews, Thompson and Hellmers started at least once and Will Safford and Brody Drost pinch hit. Four pitchers also made relief appearances, including left-hander Javen Coleman, who allowed one run over 3 ⅔ crucial innings Monday night against Louisiana Tech. LSU will rely on its freshmen. At times, they showed why it believes in the class.

Playing for the first time in 346 days, LSU beat Air Force 6-1 in its season opener. The game ended the longest stretch between games since 1943-44.

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