Last weekend, the Gators shut down the best offense in the SEC, Arkansas. This week, they get the third best, LSU.
The Gators (28-11, 12-6, No. 6) have the most important thing you need to win in college baseball; pitching. While their weekend starters are young, Alex Panteliodis (6-2, 3.18), Hudson Randall (4-3, 3.65) and Brian Johnson (3-2, 2.91) have all matured this season. Gone are long innings and aiming for the perfect pitch. Instead are a lot of ground ball outs (UF has the best defense in the SEC) and the lowest number of walks allowed in SEC play. Johnson especially has awesome stuff, but with the possibility of playing into late June in Omaha, the longer you can save your arm, the better it is. Kevin Chapman's seven saves and 1.59 ERA is a nice cherr y on top.
LSU (32-10, 11-7, No. 9) is the defending National Champions and can bludgeon people. Catcher Micah Gibbs leads players in SEC hitting with a .434 average/.415 overall. OF Mikie Mahtook is slugging .722 overall this season, with 10 homers and 36 RBI. As a team in SEC play, LSU is hitting .303 and are third in OBP (.399) and runs (141). They don't just pound, as they have drawn 96 walks in SEC play, 13 clear of second place South Carolina.
If the Gators can take 2 of 3, it sets them up nicely for the remainder of SEC play (series against Bama, Georgia and SEC-best SC). Defeating the defending champ will also go a long way to securing a top-8 College World Series bid and home field in the Regionals and Super Regionals.