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Paul Skenes and the Chase for Ben McDonalds LSU Single Season Record

Updated: May 14, 2023

When Paul Skenes transferred from Air Force to Baton Rouge it caused a roar in Baton Rouge and sent Tiger fans into a fervor. With that being said, you would be hard pressed to find any Tiger fan to tell you they expected to see the absolute dominance we have witnessed this season. So much so that he is now hunting the LSU Legend Ben McDonald's single season strikeout record.

The improvement Skenes has made from Air Force to LSU is in itself impressive. He has jumped up a few levels in competition and is facing the best hitters in the country in the SEC, yet his ERA has dropped from (2.73) to (1.69). In 85.2 innings pitched last season Skenes went (10-3) with 70 hits and tallying 96 strikeouts.

Fast forward a season to LSU and working with pitching coach Wes Johnson and the jump in his game has been remarkable. Where in 79.2 innings pitched ,6 less than his total for last season he has amassed 152 strikeouts, increasing his total of 96 by 56 strikeouts. The improvements did not stop there as he has improved the W-L to (10-1), reduced his hits allowed from 70-46 and walks from 30-14.

That leads us to the situation at hand and the LSU single season record being in Paul Skenes sights. Last night with 13 strikeouts he moved into 6th place, passing Alex Lange and Scott Schultz. If Paul was to tally 8 strikeouts in his next outing he would pass Anthony Ranaudo and move into sole possession of 2nd place with 160 strikeouts. This would leave him with needing to get 43 strikeouts combined from the SEC tournament and post season play.

What is most impressive about what the talented transfer is doing is his impressive strikeout per 9 innings. He is the only pitcher in the LSU top 10 record with under 100 innings pitched with the least being 117 innings pitched by Scott Shultz and the most being 152.1 innings pitched by the record holder Ben McDonald. I took the liberty to analyze both Ben and Paul's dominating seasons to see where things stand.

Ben Mcdonald in 1989 pitched a total of 152.1 innings and had a total of 202 strikeouts with a strikeout per 9 innings of (11.93). While Paul Skenes has 79.2 innings pitched and 152 strikeouts with a strikeouts per 9 innings of (17.27). Now it needs to be stated Ben McDonald is a legend in his own right and this just shows what we have been treated to with 1 season of Skenes.

One final Caveat is if LSU makes it all the way to the finals of the College World series as many expect, the NCAA strikeout could be in jeopardy as well with Skenes currently needing 82more K's to tie and 83 to break the record held by Derek Tatsuno from Hawaii for his 1979 season where he pitched 174.1 innings. He had a (12.09) Strikeout per 9 inning compared to Skenes (17.27). Skenes would need 7 more outings with 12 K per outings to break the national record.



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