When LSU ended its series with Florida on Saturday afternoon, coach Paul Mainieri kneeled in the turf outside the Tigers’ dugout and motioned for his granddaughter. The girl waddled into his outstretched arms. They rolled onto the ground, and Mainieri lifted her over his chest as they soaked in the afternoon sun.

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No. 14 LSU had beaten the Gators for the second straight game, winning the series after what pitcher Eric Walker called an “embarrassing” 16-9 loss on Thursday night.

The Tigers won their fourth Southeastern Conference series of the season. They won 13-1 on Friday and 11-2 on Saturday. Here are three takeaways from the weekend:

Classic Antoine Duplantis

LSU senior right fielder Antoine Duplantis entered the series batting .284, but he returned to the approach that made him successful throughout his career: trying to hit the ball up the middle or to the opposite field. Duplantis went 9-for-16 during the series and drove in seven runs, including four on Saturday. After a season of inconsistent production and surprising power, all nine of Duplantis’ hits came on singles. He pushed his average above .300.

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Backups stepped up

LSU played the final two games of the series without a third of its starting lineup. No matter, the Tigers scored 24 runs to win the series. After Florida took a 13-run lead in the fifth inning on Thursday night, LSU outscored the Gators 33-6 the rest of the series. Two players who had dropped out of the lineup, Saul Garza and Drew Bianco, played well. Bianco reached base in every game.

Cole Henry developing into an ace

Henry led LSU to a win on Friday night by striking out 12 batters, the most from an LSU pitcher in a game this season. It was the most strikeouts for an LSU pitcher in a conference game since Alex Lange fanned 13 against Kentucky four years ago. Henry gave up one run. The freshman has thrived in the weekend rotation, giving LSU consistent starts. He has a 3.41 ERA during conference games. 

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This article is written by Wilson Alexander from The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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