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Keys to Victory: LSU vs. Alabama
First pitch is scheduled for approximately 12:30 p.m., or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Ole Miss/Arkansas contest. Cody Glenn will get the nod for LSU and face off against Alabama's Charley Sullivan.
I'll be at the Hoover Met all day, so stick with TSD for live coverage of LSU's tournament opener. To get you set for the action, here are a few keys for the Tigers:
---Cody Glenn can't let the tournament atmosphere rattle him. If Alabama's opener against Auburn is any indication, the Tide will be well represented in the stands on Wednesday. Glenn will be making his SEC Tournament debut after not even traveling with the team to Hoover a year ago. Glenn has come a long way from where he was in 2012, but his worst outings this year have come on the road in hostile environments. Glenn has improved in that area throughout the year though, and he performed well in Tuscaloosa earlier this season. But the SEC Tournament is a different monster, and LSU needs him to be the steady version of himself.
---The defense can't let LSU down. Glenn has grown more confident in his full repertoire as the season has worn out, which has increased his strikeout numbers. But he'll always be a pitcher that relies on his defense to make plays behind him. LSU will have to be steady in that department Wednesday. In the one game LSU lost to Alabama this year, the Tigers committed three errors, including one in the 10th inning. Alabama proved Tuesday they can be a formidable foe defensively, and it's those little things that separate teams in tournament settings.
---Speaking of the defense, Mason Katz will be a focal point defensively on Wednesday and moving forward in the tournament. With JaCoby Jones sidelined for the entire week, Katz got the call to step in at second base. He has plenty of experience there, getting time at that position last weekend against Ole Miss. Katz obviously doesn't have the ability that Jones does in the field, but Katz can be plenty serviceable. Katz doesn't need to be all-world defensively, but he does need to be consistent as he'll certainly get opportunities to make plays.
---LSU needs to jump on Charley Sullivan early. An early lead will go a long way in helping Glenn settle on the mound and rattle the Tide's senior starter in the process. Sullivan had a decent outing in the teams' regular season meeting, surrendering four runs on seven hits in 6-plus innings. The Tigers did strike for a pair of runs in the first inning that day, which was all the cushion Aaron Nola needed. The offense could help out Glenn in similar fashion Wednesday if they can hit Sullivan early.
For more coverage of the SEC Tournament, be sure to check out Hunter Paniagua's thoughts from Day 1 of the action.
SEC Tournament - Day 1 Thoughts
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