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2/19/18 5:25 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With an 11-3 shellacking at the hands of Notre Dame, LSU baseball did something it hadn’t done since 1999 –  lose an opening weekend series in baseball. During yesterday’s game, I heard from a Twitter follower who asked whether this was a case of Notre Dame being really good or LSU being in “figure it out” mode and maybe not as good as we had thought. My answer is that Notre Dame played extremely well in every aspect of the game, but I think it’s more of the latter. Coach Mainieri said rather prophetically at this year’s Media Day that pitching is the name of the game in collegiate baseball. Well, that’s the area where LSU has the most to figure out. Get this: LSU’s starting pitching gave up 17 runs (16 earned) on 18 hits and 10 walks in 10.2 innings of work against the Irish. Obviously, if that isn’t improved dramatically it will be a very long season. That said, we’re only three games in, folks. Coach Mainieri, like Skip Bertman before him, has an outstanding track record of tinkering in the early season and making the adjustments necessary to finish strong. I expect him to do the same this year, though I’ll admit that the task looks more daunting than I had anticipated. 

In yesterday’s game, Todd Peterson got the start and looked good through three innings, then hit a wall in the fourth. That’s when the sophomore right-hander walked two of the first three batters he faced and then gave up a three-run homer to Eric Gilgenbach, a man who already had one homer in the series and would add a third, even bigger one later in the game. The Irish tacked on three more runs in the sixth after Gilgenbach singled and LSU reliever Daniel Cabrera walked the following batter. Devin Fontenot replaced Cabrera and, after a sacrifice which put runners on second and third for the Irish, gave up an RBI single followed by an RBI double to make it a 6-2 game. Notre Dame’s final four runs came on that aforementioned third homer by Gilgenbach, a grand slam in the top of the ninth off of Nick Bush.

LSU’s woes weren’t limited to pitching. LSU only collected five hits in the game for the second day in a row. 

Really, the only offensive highlights to speak of came from the Jordan twins who were spectacular all weekend. Bryce went 1-for-3 yesterday, while Beau went 2-for-2 with a double in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh that cut LSU’s deficit to three. LSU’s other run of the game came on Josh Smith’s sacrifice fly in the third inning which was set up by Bryce’s single, Beau’s walk, and a well-executed sac bunt from freshman Brandt Broussard who’s looked quite impressive so far. 

Here are the game’s video highlights and the complete box score.

Losing an opening series for the first time in 19 years is certainly a hard pill to swallow, but it should be noted that the last time that happened things ended up alright. Skip Bertman’s Tigers went on to win 41 games that year and reached the Super Regional. They won it all the following year, as they had the year before. Remember folks, baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. 

LSU will have an opportunity to gain some much-needed confidence this Wednesday when they face UNO before taking on a very good Texas team this weekend. Texas, by the way, won two of its three against UL-Lafayette this past weekend and is the school that Bertman’s Tigers lost to in that opening series back in 1999. 

While it wasn’t a good day in baseball, yesterday sure was a great one for LSU women’s sports. LSU gymnastics made history with its second straight score of 198 or higher. Its 198.175 was the highest in the nation so far this season. LSU women’s basketball improved to 18-7 (10-4 SEC) with a 62-57 win at Arkansas, highlighted by a career-high 19 points from Ayana Mitchell. And not to be outdone, LSU softball closed out the Purple & Gold Challenge with a 1-0 shutout win over Oregon State to remain undefeated at 10-0.

A couple of football tidbits in closing:

• Congratulations to LSU wide receiver signee Kenan Jones of Berwick for dominating the LHSAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday. Jones won all three jumping events in Division II, including the long jump (22'4"), the high jump (6'5") and the triple jump (46'3"). Being in the same signing class as five-star receivers Terrace Marshall and Ja’Marr Chase has kind of overshadowed what a tremendous get Jones is, but I predict this freakish athlete is going to be a special player for the Tigers.

• Three of LSU’s top targets for 2019 – CB Derek Stingley, Jr. of  Dunham School, QB Grant Gunnell of Houston, WR Devonta Lee of Amite – were named by SECCountry as top performers in this weekend’s Pylon 7-on-7 competition in New Orleans. A person I spoke to who was at the event described Stingley as “the real deal” and “extremely well put together.” Recruiting Analyst Jimmy Smith of nola.com took it a step further and called Stingley the best prospect to come out of Louisiana since Leonard Fournette. With cornerback being a huge need in LSU’s 2019 recruiting class, this young man is a must get. The good news is that LSU appears to be leading for this premier prospect who was once committed to LSU before opening up his recruitment.     

Have a great day, Tiger Fans.





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2/19/18 5:25 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With an 11-3 shellacking at the hands of Notre Dame, LSU baseball did something it hadn’t done since 1999 –  lose an opening weekend series in baseball. During yesterday’s game, I heard from a Twitter follower who asked whether this was a case of Notre Dame being really good or LSU being in “figure it out” mode and maybe not as good as we had thought. My answer is that Notre Dame played extremely well in every aspect of the game, but I think it’s more of the latter. Coach Mainieri said rather prophetically at this year’s Media Day that pitching is the name of the game in collegiate baseball. Well, that’s the area where LSU has the most to figure out. Get this: LSU’s starting pitching gave up 17 runs (16 earned) on 18 hits and 10 walks in 10.2 innings of work against the Irish. Obviously, if that isn’t improved dramatically it will be a very long season. That said, we’re only three games in, folks. Coach Mainieri, like Skip Bertman before him, has an outstanding track record of tinkering in the early season and making the adjustments necessary to finish strong. I expect him to do the same this year, though I’ll admit that the task looks more daunting than I had anticipated. 

In yesterday’s game, Todd Peterson got the start and looked good through three innings, then hit a wall in the fourth. That’s when the sophomore right-hander walked two of the first three batters he faced and then gave up a three-run homer to Eric Gilgenbach, a man who already had one homer in the series and would add a third, even bigger one later in the game. The Irish tacked on three more runs in the sixth after Gilgenbach singled and LSU reliever Daniel Cabrera walked the following batter. Devin Fontenot replaced Cabrera and, after a sacrifice which put runners on second and third for the Irish, gave up an RBI single followed by an RBI double to make it a 6-2 game. Notre Dame’s final four runs came on that aforementioned third homer by Gilgenbach, a grand slam in the top of the ninth off of Nick Bush.

LSU’s woes weren’t limited to pitching. LSU only collected five hits in the game for the second day in a row. 

Really, the only offensive highlights to speak of came from the Jordan twins who were spectacular all weekend. Bryce went 1-for-3 yesterday, while Beau went 2-for-2 with a double in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh that cut LSU’s deficit to three. LSU’s other run of the game came on Josh Smith’s sacrifice fly in the third inning which was set up by Bryce’s single, Beau’s walk, and a well-executed sac bunt from freshman Brandt Broussard who’s looked quite impressive so far. 

Here are the game’s video highlights and the complete box score.

Losing an opening series for the first time in 19 years is certainly a hard pill to swallow, but it should be noted that the last time that happened things ended up alright. Skip Bertman’s Tigers went on to win 41 games that year and reached the Super Regional. They won it all the following year, as they had the year before. Remember folks, baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. 

LSU will have an opportunity to gain some much-needed confidence this Wednesday when they face UNO before taking on a very good Texas team this weekend. Texas, by the way, won two of its three against UL-Lafayette this past weekend and is the school that Bertman’s Tigers lost to in that opening series back in 1999. 

While it wasn’t a good day in baseball, yesterday sure was a great one for LSU women’s sports. LSU gymnastics made history with its second straight score of 198 or higher. Its 198.175 was the highest in the nation so far this season. LSU women’s basketball improved to 18-7 (10-4 SEC) with a 62-57 win at Arkansas, highlighted by a career-high 19 points from Ayana Mitchell. And not to be outdone, LSU softball closed out the Purple & Gold Challenge with a 1-0 shutout win over Oregon State to remain undefeated at 10-0.

A couple of football tidbits in closing:

• Congratulations to LSU wide receiver signee Kenan Jones of Berwick for dominating the LHSAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday. Jones won all three jumping events in Division II, including the long jump (22'4"), the high jump (6'5") and the triple jump (46'3"). Being in the same signing class as five-star receivers Terrace Marshall and Ja’Marr Chase has kind of overshadowed what a tremendous get Jones is, but I predict this freakish athlete is going to be a special player for the Tigers.

• Three of LSU’s top targets for 2019 – CB Derek Stingley, Jr. of  Dunham School, QB Grant Gunnell of Houston, WR Devonta Lee of Amite – were named by SECCountry as top performers in this weekend’s Pylon 7-on-7 competition in New Orleans. A person I spoke to who was at the event described Stingley as “the real deal” and “extremely well put together.” Recruiting Analyst Jimmy Smith of nola.com took it a step further and called Stingley the best prospect to come out of Louisiana since Leonard Fournette. With cornerback being a huge need in LSU’s 2019 recruiting class, this young man is a must get. The good news is that LSU appears to be leading for this premier prospect who was once committed to LSU before opening up his recruitment.     

Have a great day, Tiger Fans.

2/18/16 5:55 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Unlike in Game 1, the LSU baseball team could not overcome a rough start yesterday and lost 10-5 to Notre Dame, evening the series at one game apiece. Zach Hess got the start on the mound for the Tigers and struggled from the get-go, exhausting 24 pitches in the first inning alone. By the start of the third inning, he had  thrown 46 pitches and that’s when things really started to unravel. Trailing 1-0, Hess allowed a leadoff single and two bases on balls to load the bases before a 2-RBI single made it a 3-0 game. A passed ball made it 4-0 and a two-run homer increased the deficit to six before a single out was recorded in the inning. Those six runs, not to mention the two that would come home from the runners left on base when he was pulled, would prove to be too much for the Tigers to overcome. 

Entering the season, starting pitching was a big concern and the first two games have only intensified those concerns, but the good news is LSU’s bullpen was once again solid. Freshman right-hander Trent Vietmeier turned in a spectacular debut with three and two-thirds scoreless innings of  two-hit ball with four strikeouts and no walks. Freshman right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard was also solid in his debut, showing great poise in the seventh when he stranded two Irishmen with a big strikeout on a breaking ball and then again in the eighth when he worked his way out of another two-on jam to keep the Tigers within striking distance. Freshman Devin Fontenot pitched the ninth and gave up two runs on two hits in his debut, making him the only one of five Tiger relievers who has given up a run this season.

Offensively, the Tigers got on the board in the second on a solo shot from Beau Jordan high above the left field wall. At that point, all eight of LSU’s runs this season had come on home runs. LSU chipped away with three more runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Nick Coomes and a 2-RBI single by Brandt Broussard, who would also plate the Tigers’ final run on an RBI sac fly in the sixth. All told, the Tigers collected only five hits in the game. 

Here are the game’s video highlights and complete boxscore.

Clearly, LSU must have better starting pitching than it’s had through these first two games to have success this season, but single games will not define Caleb Gilbert and Zach Hess. Better days are ahead for both of these young men, plus LSU has lot of other options to explore. I’m looking forward to seeing sophomore right-hander Todd Peterson start today’s game and there are others like junior JUCO transfer Cam Sanders who will likely start Wednesday’s game against UNO, as well as  highly heralded freshmen Nick Storz and AJ Labas who are recovering from injuries and should be good to go in March.

Today’s rubber game of the series begins at 11 a.m. Like the first two games, it will be streamed online via SECN+, accessible at WatchESPN.com and via the WatchESPN app.

While it wasn’t a great day on the diamond, it certainly was on the hardwood as the men's basketball team came away with a thrilling 64-63 victory marked by a heart-stopping ending to knock off Missouri and snap the visiting Tigers’ five-game winning streak. Once again, it was Tremont Waters making big plays down the stretch, his short jumper with 19 seconds providing the winning margin. Waters finished with a game-high 21 points, three rebounds and four assists. The purple and gold Tigers had to dodge a near disastrous turnover in the final seconds when a stolen inbound pass gave Missouri a chance for a game-winning shot at the buzzer. Missouri's Kassius Robertson missed that try with one second left as the buzzer sounded and set off the PMAC crowd. LSU shot 39 percent from the field but made 11 of 13 free throws and out-rebounded Missouri, 36-33.

LSU (15-11, 6-8 in SEC play) led by three at halftime in a game that featured 13 ties and 19 lead changes. LSU stayed in it despite missing seven straight field goal attempts and going 6:13 without scoring in the second half. Aaron Epps, who had 12 points and nine rebounds, stopped the streak with a pair of free throws to tie the game at 58. Missouri (18-9, 8-6) took a 63-60 lead on two free throws by Kassius Robertson, who led the visitors with 14 points. Then Waters cut the the lead to 63-62 with a short jumper at the 1:08 mark. LSU switched to a 1-3-1 defense to stop Missouri on its final two possessions, including Daryl Edwards drawing a key charge on Robertson to give LSU the ball and the lead with five seconds remaining. LSU also got 10 points from Sklar Mays. 

Here are the basketball game’s video highlights and complete boxscore

The Tigers are at home again Tuesday against Vanderbilt with a chance to further boost their postseason résumé. 

Closing Tidbits:

• Coach Beth Torina’s seventh-ranked LSU softball team remains undefeated after two more wins in the Purple and Gold Challenge yesterday. In the first game, LSU run-ruled Southern Utah 13-1 after erupting for nine runs in the fourth. Sophomore Maribeth Gorsuch turned in a strong performance in the circle with four strikeouts to earn her first win of the season. The second game was much tighter as LSU fell behind 2-0 to Oregon State in the first inning. The Tigers clawed back, once again with a strong fourth inning in which they scored three runs on three hits to take a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. With the wins, the Tigers are now 9-0, which is the program’s best start since 2015 when they opened with 25 consecutive victories. Here’s a complete recap of yesterday’s action. The Tigers wrap up the Purple and Gold Challenge today at noon with another contest against Oregon State.

• In football recruiting news, earlier we mentioned a pair of 2019 four-star prospects from Texas who were visiting this weekend – quarterback Grant Gunnell and athlete Marquez Beason – but there was also a pair of 4-star prospects from Mississippi. One is wide receiver Dannie Jackson of Sumrall and the other is defensive end Nathan Pickering of Seminary. At this point, all we’ve heard about the visits is that Pickering described his as “amazing.” In this article, the 6-foot-5, 277-pounder talks about what great respect he has for Coach Orgeron. “I love coaches who want to coach you and really want to talk to you and that is what coach O did Saturday. A lot of coaches just tell you what you want to hear, but coach O was honest and that really stood out to me,” he told Rivals.com. "We just talked about the overall program and I believed every word he said. I believe in him as a coach too and what he can do with the LSU program.” Pickering is set to visit Georgia next week.

• The fourth-ranked LSU gymnastics team returns home today to take on Texas Woman’s at 2:30 p.m. The meet will be streamed live through SEC Network+ on watchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.

• As if baseball, softball, and gymnastics were not enough for one day, the LSU women’s basketball team also returns to action this afternoon with a 2 p.m. contest at Arkansas. This game will also be streamed on SECN+. With three games remaining in the regular season, Coach Nikki Fargus’ Tigers are in a five-way tie for third place in league standings, making today’s game very important for SEC tournament seeding.

That’s it for today, folks, but tune in tomorrow for a recap of today’s jam-packed day in LSU Sports.



 

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