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2/19/19 5:35 am CST

 Good morning, Tiger Fans,

TUESDAY TIDBITS: YOUR DAILY DOSE OF TIGER NEWS DELIVERED IN A BAKER’S DOZEN QUICK HITTERS

1. LSU basketball fever is really heating up, and with good reason. After stunning No. 5 Kentucky in Lexington and then remaining undefeated in SEC road play with a big win at Georgia, Coach Will Wade’s Tigers climbed to No. 13 in this week’s AP poll. #BootUp, baby!

2. Folks, that No. 13 ranking is a big deal. The last time LSU was ranked that high was back on March 2, 2009, when the Tigers checked in at No. 12 after  Coach Trent Johnson’s Tigers defeated Kentucky in Lexington. LSU went on to claim the SEC regular-season title that season.

3. LSU will have a chance to climb considerably in the rankings this week with home contests against Florida on Wednesday (6 p.m. CT on ESPN2) and against No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday (11 a.m. CT on  ESPN)

4. Tomorrow’s tip time is not exactly ideal for working Tiger fans, but I applaud LSU’s for trying to make it as convenient as possible for fans to attend. Tickets start at $9, and LSU has your dinner plans all figured out. For $10, you can pre-order a Chick-fil-A Meal Deal that includes your choice of a chicken sandwich or 8 count chicken nuggets, plus chips, a cookie, and a drink. To take advantage of the offer, click here and preorder before 5 p.m. today. 

5. As for Saturday’s game versus Tennessee, the Tigers shouldn’t have any trouble at all packing the PMCA for that one. Tennessee was the No. 1 team in the nation before losing to Kentucky this weekend and dropping to No. 5. But still, a chance to bring down the No. 5 team at home is a big deal, especially with the Tigers being ranked where they are. The last time a Top-15 men's basketball game was played in Baton Rouge was Jan. 7, 1984 when No. 9 LSU hosted No. 2 Kentucky. To put that into perspective, LSU coach Will Wade was just 14 months old at that time, and I was 13. (Man do I feel old after writing that sentence.)

6. After these last two SEC wins, I’ve heard from a few of you who wanted me to review the results from the online poll we took back in January asking “How Many Regular Season SEC Games Will LSU Men’s Basketball Win?” At that time, the leading vote-getter was 14 (24.88%) with 12 being close behind 24.04%). Honestly, I thought fans were overly optimistic at that time, but now it looks like Will Wade’s Tigers could surpass both of those figures. At 11-1, LSU will likely be favored in each of its remaining six games except for this Saturday’s.

Moving on to baseball…

7. After defeating UL-Monroe, Army, and Air Force over the weekend, LSU baseball remains No. 1 in Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball’s rankings. LSU stayed put at No. 2 in the Baseball America Top 25 and the D1Baseball.com Top 25.

8. Several newcomers shined brightly on opening weekend, but none more so than freshman right-hander Jaden Hill. After his head-turning collegiate debut, Hill was named SEC Baseball Freshman of the Week. In five innings of work, Hill limited Air Force to just one run on four hits in five innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. Three fun facts about the Ashdown, Arkansas native: 1) Hill was drafted as a high school senior last summer by the St. Louis Cardinals but turned down good money to come to LSU. 2) Hill had double-digit D1 football scholarship offers as a quarterback; 3) Hill is the cousin of former LSU centerfielder Cedrick Harris, the starting centerfielder for the Tigers’ 2000 national championship team.

9. If weather permits, we’ll get a chance to see another freshmen make his first collegiate start today when LSU takes on Southeastern. Freshman Cole Henry, a 6-foot-4, 214-pound right-hander from Florence, Alabama, is slated to get the start today. You might recall that Henry pitched two-thirds of an inning in the opener against ULM (just to get his feet wet in front of a large crowd) and demonstrated a fastball that touched 96 mph. Like Hill and Landon Marceaux, Henry turned down a huge MLB signing bonus (reportedly seven figures) to attend LSU. 

10. I mentioned weather above because today’s game versus Southeastern has been moved up to 4 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 6:30 start time due to the threat of rain in the Baton Rouge area. The game will still be broadcast online on the SEC Network+ and can be heard on @LSUradio!

11. Here’s this week’s baseball schedule and coverage:

Feb. 19 (Tue.) – SE LOUISIANA, 4 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
Feb. 20 (Wed.) – at Northwestern State, 6 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
Feb. 22 (Fri.) – BRYANT, 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
Feb. 23 (Sat.) – BRYANT, 3 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
Feb. 24 (Sun.) –  BRYANT, 2 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)

12. Before going any further, I have to give big props to LSU baseball fans. The three opening weekend games drew a total attendance figure of 35,463, which was the largest three-game total for a season-opening weekend in the history of Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. Best fan base in the nation!

13. Alright, how about we end this baker’s dozen with some great news on the football recruiting front. LSU landed a huge commitment last night from 2020 4-star DE Alec Bryant of Pearland, Texas. Bryant (6-3, 230) who chose LSU over offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and many others, and is an outstanding get for the Tigers. (Check out his video highlights.) Ed Orgeron made DLs a priority in 2020 and already has four in the nation’s No. 1 class. 

No. 1 team in baseball, No. 1 recruiting class in football, and a No. 13 basketball team on the rise! It’s a great time to be a Tiger!





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2/19/19 5:35 am CST

 Good morning, Tiger Fans,

TUESDAY TIDBITS: YOUR DAILY DOSE OF TIGER NEWS DELIVERED IN A BAKER’S DOZEN QUICK HITTERS

1. LSU basketball fever is really heating up, and with good reason. After stunning No. 5 Kentucky in Lexington and then remaining undefeated in SEC road play with a big win at Georgia, Coach Will Wade’s Tigers climbed to No. 13 in this week’s AP poll. #BootUp, baby!

2. Folks, that No. 13 ranking is a big deal. The last time LSU was ranked that high was back on March 2, 2009, when the Tigers checked in at No. 12 after  Coach Trent Johnson’s Tigers defeated Kentucky in Lexington. LSU went on to claim the SEC regular-season title that season.

3. LSU will have a chance to climb considerably in the rankings this week with home contests against Florida on Wednesday (6 p.m. CT on ESPN2) and against No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday (11 a.m. CT on  ESPN)

4. Tomorrow’s tip time is not exactly ideal for working Tiger fans, but I applaud LSU’s for trying to make it as convenient as possible for fans to attend. Tickets start at $9, and LSU has your dinner plans all figured out. For $10, you can pre-order a Chick-fil-A Meal Deal that includes your choice of a chicken sandwich or 8 count chicken nuggets, plus chips, a cookie, and a drink. To take advantage of the offer, click here and preorder before 5 p.m. today. 

5. As for Saturday’s game versus Tennessee, the Tigers shouldn’t have any trouble at all packing the PMCA for that one. Tennessee was the No. 1 team in the nation before losing to Kentucky this weekend and dropping to No. 5. But still, a chance to bring down the No. 5 team at home is a big deal, especially with the Tigers being ranked where they are. The last time a Top-15 men's basketball game was played in Baton Rouge was Jan. 7, 1984 when No. 9 LSU hosted No. 2 Kentucky. To put that into perspective, LSU coach Will Wade was just 14 months old at that time, and I was 13. (Man do I feel old after writing that sentence.)

6. After these last two SEC wins, I’ve heard from a few of you who wanted me to review the results from the online poll we took back in January asking “How Many Regular Season SEC Games Will LSU Men’s Basketball Win?” At that time, the leading vote-getter was 14 (24.88%) with 12 being close behind 24.04%). Honestly, I thought fans were overly optimistic at that time, but now it looks like Will Wade’s Tigers could surpass both of those figures. At 11-1, LSU will likely be favored in each of its remaining six games except for this Saturday’s.

Moving on to baseball…

7. After defeating UL-Monroe, Army, and Air Force over the weekend, LSU baseball remains No. 1 in Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball’s rankings. LSU stayed put at No. 2 in the Baseball America Top 25 and the D1Baseball.com Top 25.

8. Several newcomers shined brightly on opening weekend, but none more so than freshman right-hander Jaden Hill. After his head-turning collegiate debut, Hill was named SEC Baseball Freshman of the Week. In five innings of work, Hill limited Air Force to just one run on four hits in five innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. Three fun facts about the Ashdown, Arkansas native: 1) Hill was drafted as a high school senior last summer by the St. Louis Cardinals but turned down good money to come to LSU. 2) Hill had double-digit D1 football scholarship offers as a quarterback; 3) Hill is the cousin of former LSU centerfielder Cedrick Harris, the starting centerfielder for the Tigers’ 2000 national championship team.

9. If weather permits, we’ll get a chance to see another freshmen make his first collegiate start today when LSU takes on Southeastern. Freshman Cole Henry, a 6-foot-4, 214-pound right-hander from Florence, Alabama, is slated to get the start today. You might recall that Henry pitched two-thirds of an inning in the opener against ULM (just to get his feet wet in front of a large crowd) and demonstrated a fastball that touched 96 mph. Like Hill and Landon Marceaux, Henry turned down a huge MLB signing bonus (reportedly seven figures) to attend LSU. 

10. I mentioned weather above because today’s game versus Southeastern has been moved up to 4 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 6:30 start time due to the threat of rain in the Baton Rouge area. The game will still be broadcast online on the SEC Network+ and can be heard on @LSUradio!

11. Here’s this week’s baseball schedule and coverage:

Feb. 19 (Tue.) – SE LOUISIANA, 4 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
Feb. 20 (Wed.) – at Northwestern State, 6 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
Feb. 22 (Fri.) – BRYANT, 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
Feb. 23 (Sat.) – BRYANT, 3 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
Feb. 24 (Sun.) –  BRYANT, 2 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)

12. Before going any further, I have to give big props to LSU baseball fans. The three opening weekend games drew a total attendance figure of 35,463, which was the largest three-game total for a season-opening weekend in the history of Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. Best fan base in the nation!

13. Alright, how about we end this baker’s dozen with some great news on the football recruiting front. LSU landed a huge commitment last night from 2020 4-star DE Alec Bryant of Pearland, Texas. Bryant (6-3, 230) who chose LSU over offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and many others, and is an outstanding get for the Tigers. (Check out his video highlights.) Ed Orgeron made DLs a priority in 2020 and already has four in the nation’s No. 1 class. 

No. 1 team in baseball, No. 1 recruiting class in football, and a No. 13 basketball team on the rise! It’s a great time to be a Tiger!

2/18/19 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU baseball team capped an opening weekend sweep with a 17-5 win over Air Force that was even more dominating than the score indicates. LSU led 17-1 after six innings and practically emptied the bench the rest of the way. A total of 16 Tigers batted in a game where LSU collected 20 hits, half of which were for extra bases. The 20 hits were more than in any game last year, and the nine doubles were one shy of the school record. The one extra-base hit that wasn’t a double was a home run by Drew Bianco. Obviously, it was a great day at the plate for the Tigers, but it was also a pretty strong day on the mound, at least early on. 

Freshman Jaden Hill, the second of three highly heralded freshmen to have already logged starts, looked exceptionally good in his Tiger debut. It didn’t take long to see why Coach Mainieri is so high on him as he struck out the side in the first inning while demonstrating excellent command of three pitches. Hill ended up allowing only one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in five innings of work. LSU sent three other freshman pitchers to the mound in relief before handing things over to sophomore Trent Vietmeier. Those four combined to throw four innings for the Tigers and allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Here’s a quick recap of how the game played out: 

The Tigers set the tone early. After Hill struck out the side in the first, LSU’s bats erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the inning. Josh Smith led with a single, Brandt Broussard followed with a bunt single, and consecutive bases on balls to Antoine Duplantis and Daniel Cabrera plated the Tigers’ first run. Doubles by Zach Watson, Saul Garza, and Brock Mathis followed to make it 6-0 and Smith’s RBI single (in his second at-bat of the inning) made it 7-0. LSU extended its lead to nine runs in the bottom of the second on a double by Daniel Cabrera and a two-run homer by Drew Bianco, the Tigers’ sixth home run of the early season. In the bottom of the third, Hal Hughes doubled to left field, and Smith drove him home with a double to make it 10-0 Tigers. After Air Force got on board in the fourth with a leadoff double and an RBI double, the Tigers tacked on three runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 13-1. Hughes doubled to left field, marking his first career game with multiple doubles, and then Smith ripped a double to left field, marking his third of four hits on the day. With two outs, Duplantis laced a 2-RBI double and then scored a bit later on an errant throw by the Air Force shortstop. In the bottom of the sixth, LSU erupted for four runs on four hits to make it 17-1, but what generated the most applause was the sacrifice fly by senior Chris Reid. In his first at-bat since re-joining the team, he stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and drove in a run with a well-hit sacrifice fly. Gotta love it! That would conclude LSU’s scoring, though Air Force would score two runs in the seventh off of Chase Costello and another two in the eight off fellow freshman Riggs Threadgill.

Video Highlights | Complete Boxscore

All in all, it was a good win to cap a very enjoyable opening weekend of baseball. It’s far too early to jump to any conclusions about this LSU baseball team, but two things are sure: They’ve got a ton of talent, and the class of newcomers appears as good as advertised. If things go as expected, we’ll get a chance to see another highly hyped newcomer making his first start tomorrow when LSU sends freshman right-hander Cole Henry to the mound to face Southeastern Louisiana. Look for more on that contest in tomorrow’s report. 

Several tidbits in closing:

• Just as it was a good day in baseball, yesterday sure was a great one for LSU women’s sports. 

The fifth-ranked LSU gymnastics team (7-3, 2-3 SEC) scored a season-high 197.650 to defeat the No. 15 Missouri Tigers in front of 11,047 fans in the PMAC. LSU’s Sarah Finnegan, a native of Missouri, captured the all-around title for the seventh time in 2019 with a total of 39.575. Here’s more on the topic.

Also, the LSU women’s basketball team went on the road and defeated Vanderbilt, 79-68. LSU was led by Shanice Norton who set a new career record with 21 points on 8-10 shooting. With the win, the Lady Tigers improved to 15-9 overall and 6-6 in the SEC.  Here’s more on that contest.

• When I wrote Sunday’s report, I was so caught up in LSU’s big wins in baseball and basketball (and that crawfish étoufée my wife made) that I forgot to bring you up to speed on LSU softball. Beth Torina’s 7th ranked Tigers started hot Saturday morning and defeated Ohio State, 7-2, but then lost the nightcap to No. 1 Florida State, 9-1. You can read about those two games here. Next up for these Tigers is the Purple & Gold Challenge, starting with a match against Stanford on Thursday at 6 p.m. 

• Lastly, in addition to landing a commitment from 2020 DL Jordan Berry (see yesterday’s report), Coach Ed Orgeron handed out several new offers during LSU football’s successful Junior Day event which drew about 50 prospects. 247Sports’ Shea Dixon has this rundown on how the weekend went.

That’s it for now, folks. Enjoy your Monday.



 

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