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.
• 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.