NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
5/25/13 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
First of all, I want to wish all of you a happy Memorial Day weekend. Also, thanks for all the positive feedback I received yesterday about the two new site features I launched - the new and improved Where Are They Now page, and the Media Gallery. Glad you're enjoying them.
Now... Whoa! What a baseball game yesterday as LSU came from behind to beat Alabama 3-2 thanks to a ninth inning 2-run rally! Heading into the ninth I was really concerned that this team might not have it in them to pull it out and continue their success in postseason play, but they showed what they were made of and came through when it mattered most, and they deserve a lot of praise for that. Not only was I impressed and encouraged by the tenacity I saw from the team, I was also very pleased to see Ryan Eades have such a solid outing after struggling a bit in his last few appearances. Eades threw seven solid innings and allowed two runs on only four hits while striking out four. And just one day after the Tigers’ bullpen struggled against Arkansas, Nate Fury and Chris Cotton looked spectacular in their two hitless and scoreless innings.
For those of you who missed it, here's a brief scoring summary: The Tigers got on the board first in the third inning with a two-out RBI double to left-center from designated hitter Sean McMullen that scored Moore who had started the inning with a walk. The inning ended as McMullen was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Alabama grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fifth on an RBI triple and an RBI single, and the score would remain 2-1 until the ninth inning. In the Tigers' final frame, Mason Katz collected his third hit of the day but it was erased when Raph Rhymes hit into a double play for the third time in the contest, and at that time things looked really grim for the Tigers. But the team persisted as Christian Ibarra kept things alive with a single and then Tyler Moore doubled to right-center to drive in the tying run. Next up was Tyler Ross who singled to drive in Moore and give the Tigers the dramatic come-from-behind win.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 50-9 on the season and earned the right to play Arkansas today in a semifinal elimination game. They also became the first Fighting Tiger team to post 50 wins in less than 60 games.
Today’s game starts at noon and will be televised by Cox Sports Television and ESPNnews. It can also be seen on ESPN3.com and heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Arkansas will start left-hander Randall Fant on the mound, while LSU is expected to counter with right-hander Hunter Newman.
In football news, Coach Miles and his staff will be entertaining several players already committed to LSU and several of their top remaining targets during today's Bayou Picnic. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see LSU pick up a commitment or two, as they did last year, although at this time your guess would be as good as mine as to who it might come from. Two of the best possibilities include tight end Anthony Jones (6'5", 215, Karr, No. 15 on my list of Top LA Football Prospects for 2014) and quarterback DeShone Kizer (6'5", 205) of Toledo, Ohio. Others that wouldn't surprise me include Cameron Robinson (OL, 6'6", 315, West Monroe, No. 3 on my list) and Speedy Noil (WR, 5'10, 175, Karr, No. 7 on my list). I'll have company over for Memorial Day weekend and will be attending my Godchild's graduation, so I won’t be able to monitor the situation as closely as I'd like, but if I hear anything I'll be sure to send out a tweet to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter, and then I'll post it here as soon as I can.
With the football season 98 days away, today we'll continue our jersey countdown by looking at two former Tigers who wore No. 98 - Claude Wroten and Verge Ausberry.
Wroten hails from Bastrop, Louisiana and was an All-American at LSU in his senior season. He came to LSU from the JUCO ranks and played as a Tiger from 2004-2005 where he was one of the most dominating defensive linemen in school history. Wroten teamed with fellow defensive tackle Kyle Williams to give LSU a pair of All-American defensive tackles that were quite a force to reckon with. After capping off his senior season with 49 tackles and a team-best 105 tackles for loss, Wroten was a third round pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 2006 draft, but his career in the NFL was short-lived due to violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Since then, Wroten has undergone extensive rehab, and he's now playing in the Arena Football League in hopes of returning to the NFL one day.
Another former Tiger who wore No. 98 is Verge Ausberry who played inside linebacker for the Tigers from 1986-89 and was part of two SEC championship teams. As most of you know, Ausberry is now the Senior Associate Athletic Director at LSU where his responsibilities include scheduling, supervising of football operations, overseeing the men's and women's track and field programs and much more. I can tell you from personal experience that Ausberry is a super individual who serves LSU with class. I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him once again for attending my father's funeral last April out of respect for all that my Dad did for LSU sports.
Speaking of individuals who serve LSU with class, yesterday LSU announced that Herb Vincent has been hired as the SEC’s Associate Commissioner for Communications. Vincent currently serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Senior Associate Athletics Director at LSU. He will begin his new role with the SEC in September. I know I speak for many in the Tiger Nation when I wish Vincent all the best in his new venture. He has been a tremendous asset to LSU and will be missed.
5/24/13 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
After losing to Arkansas 4-1, LSU fell to the losers’ bracket in the SEC baseball tournament where they'll face Alabama today at 3 p.m. in an elimination game. Today’s contest will be televised by Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast, and can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video is also available at ESPN3.com.
Yesterday's battle was built up to be a pitcher's duel, and it lived up to its billing, at least while LSU's Aaron Nola was on the mound. Nola went seven strong innings and allowed one run on six hits while striking out eight, but the four Tiger bullpen pitchers who followed him allowed a combined three runs on six hits. Arkansas' Ryne Stanek threw eight solid innings and gave up one unearned run on six hits while striking out four.
What was just as concerning as LSU's relief pitching was the Tigers' inability to manufacture runs. Granted, Stanek is a great pitcher, but the Tigers were out-hit 12-6 and have now only scored one run in their last 16 innings of play. To me, the Tigers seemed to lack their normal aggressiveness at the plate and on the bases, while Arkansas, on the other hand, ran the bases creatively and scratched out two of their runs on strategic squeeze plays and another on a well-timed hit and run.
Here’s a brief scoring recap: The Tigers got on the board first in the third inning when Alex Bregman sent a slow grounder to Arkansas shortstop Brett McAfee, who threw the ball wide of second base, sending designated hitter Sean McMullen home and giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The Razorbacks answered in the fifth with an RBI double to left-center on a hit-and-run, evening the game at 1-1. A successfully executed squeeze bunt by Razorback rightfielder Tyler Spoon pulled Arkansas in front 2-1 in the eighth inning. Arkansas got two more insurance runs on an RBI single and another squeeze but to make the final score 4-1.
Ryan Eades will get the start on the mound today for the Tigers while Alabama will counter with right-hander Mike Oczypok.
In other baseball news, while most Tiger Fans were watching the LSU game, former Tiger Kevin Gausman turned in an impressive MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles. Here's a great recap.
In football-related news, today I'm excited to start this year’s annual jersey countdown to the kickoff of LSU's 2013 football season. Those of you who’ve followed this site for a while know how it works. Each day I'll profile at least one former LSU player whose jersey number corresponds to the number of days remaining until kickoff. Sometimes I'll choose a well-known player, while other times I may choose a little known Tiger with an interesting story. Other times I may simply list a few players that wore the number. In other words, there's no strict format for this thing, and the player I choose is not necessarily the best Tiger to ever wear the number. Simply put, this is just meant to be a fun and friendly way to countdown the days until the current football team returns to action while remembering some Tigers who came before them. I hope you enjoy, and I encourage you to send me your suggestions for players to feature. When submitting a suggestion, please be sure to include the player’s jersey number, the years he played, and any other pertinent information.
With the 2013 football season-opener 99 days away, today we'll start things off by looking at two special Tigers who wore No. 99 - Sam Montgomery and Rydell Melancon.
Montgomery, also known as “Sonic Sam" needs no introduction, as those of you reading this page undoubtedly know him well. Montgomery was one of the best defensive ends to ever play for LSU (2010-12) and was a huge factor in LSU recording its best regular season record ever in 2011 (13-0). Hailing from Greenwood, South Carolina, Montgomery was very highly recruited out of high school and was ranked the No. 2 defensive end by ESPNU. At LSU, he redshirted his freshman year and then played in 32 games with 26 starts, recording 104 total tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. Here’s a video of Montgomery’s highlights. Replacing Montgomery and his counterpart Keke Mingo, who together were arguably the best defensive end tandem to ever play at LSU, will be among the biggest challenges for this year's team. As you know, Montgomery and Mingo both opted to forgo their senior seasons and entered the 2013 NFL Draft. Montgomery was drafted by the Houston Texans in the third round with the 95th overall pick.
There were many other very noteworthy Tigers who wore No. 99, including linebacker Rydell Melancon. Melancon was part of the outstanding 1980 recruiting class that included Ricky Chatman, Eugene Daniels and Liffort Hobley, and during his time at LSU he became the Tigers’ career sack leader with 25. After his time at LSU, Melancon spent two years in NFL with Falcons and Packers. According to information submitted to me this morning, Rydell now lives in St. James Parish on the west bank in a community called St. James and has been employed by the St. James Parish Government as a Supervisor at the Youth Detention Center for the last 21 years
On a related subject, I'm happy to announce that we’ve launched a couple of new site features today that I think you'll enjoy. First, there’s our new and improved Where Are They Now page that has a more user-friendly interface (sortable by name, sport, hometown, years played, etc.). The other new feature is one that I'm even more excited about is our Media Gallery where we'll store videos and photos related to our daily reports. (If you followed the link to the video on Montgomery above, you've already seen it.) As not only the publisher of this site, but also as a graphic designer and website developer, I would love to know your thoughts on these new features. But please note, we (my wife and I) are in the very early stages of developing these pages and they will always be works-in-progress. Both are crowd-sourcing efforts, meaning we rely on your information to expand the content. For example, the Where Are They Now page barely scratches the surface on covering all former Tigers, and the large majority of the information comes from submissions made back in 2008. Obviously, much of the content is out-of-date. If you have additional or updated information to contribute, please use the Where Are They Now Submission Form linked from the page.
5/23/13 5:55 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU baseball team came through with a big shutout win over Alabama yesterday, 3-0, thanks to the solid pitching of Cody Glenn and a big first inning at the plate. With the win, the Tigers advanced to the winners’ bracket where they will face Arkansas today at 4:30 in a game that will be televised by Fox Sport South. The game can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video will be available at ESPN3.com, and live audio and stats may be accessed at LSUsports.net. In other SEC tournament action, Texas A&M shutout top seed Vanderbilt 5-0 to send the Commodores to the loser's bracket where they'll face South Carolina tonight. You can check out the complete tournament schedule and results up to this time here at secdigitalnetwork.com.
In yesterday's game, the Tigers came out swinging and scored all three of the day's runs in the first inning. Sean McMullen led things off with a single and advanced to third when Alabama's leftfielder misplayed the ball. Mark Laird followed with a groundout to score McMullen from third base. Next up, Alex Bregman stroked one down the left-field line for a standup double, and Katz followed with a walk to put Tigers on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. A soft grounder by Raph Rhymes that dropped in between the plate and the mound scored Bregman, and then Ibarra lined an RBI single, scoring Katz from third and giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead. At that point it looked like LSU would have a huge day at the plate, but that would be all of the scoring in the game as Alabama’s Charley Sullivan regrouped and pitched spectacularly the rest of the game.
Cody Glenn was very sharp, especially early on in the game, and threw seven solid shutout innings allowing only five hits and no bases on balls while striking out two. It seems that Glenn is gaining confidence and pitching better with each outing, and at this point I think an argument could be made for him being LSU’s second most effective pitcher as Ryan Eades hasn’t been quite as effective in his last few outings as he was early in the season. Nick Rumbelow allowed one hit in the eighth but preserved the shutout, and then Chris Cotton came in and finished things off with a strong ninth in which he retired the side in order and struck out one.
All in all, it was a great game that was well played across the board, and I expect another great game today when the Tigers take on No. 15 Arkansas. LSU will send ace right-hander Aaron Nola to the mound, while Arkansas will go with their junior right-handed ace, Ryne Stanek. Both of these pitchers will be high MLB draft picks and have promising careers in pro ball ahead of them. The Tigers won two of three against the Hogs in Fayetteville back in April, including a 6-2 win in Game 1 when Nola pitched his first of four consecutive complete games and limited Arkansas to two runs on four hits while striking out 10.
Speaking of pitchers with promising pro careers, former Tiger pitcher Kevin Gausman is expected to make his MLB debut today for Orioles. It hasn’t even been a year since Gausman was selected by the Orioles in the first round of the 2012 draft, and rising to the big leagues in such a short time is quite an accomplishment. Gausman went 2-4 for the Oriole's farm team, Class-AA Bowie, with a 3.11 ERA in eight starts, with an unheard-of ratio of 49 strikeouts to only five walks. I know all Tigers fans will be rooting for him tonight against Toronto.
In football news, it was announced yesterday that LSU's game against Arkansas this season will once again be on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will kick off from Tiger Stadium at 1:30 on CBS. Since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992, the Tigers have Razorbacks have played 21 times with 16 of those games coming on a Friday. The teams played the Friday after Thanksgiving for 13 straight years from 1996 to 2008 before moving to Saturday in 2009 and 2010. The teams played on Friday for the past two years, which included LSU’s 20-13 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville to cap the 2012 regular season. The remainder of the CBS Sports 2013 SEC schedule will be announced later this summer.
Speaking of the 2013 football season, you've probably noticed that I've added our annual countdown clock now that the season-opener against TCU is 100 days away. Tomorrow we'll start our annual jersey countdown to game day by looking at a special player, or players, that wore No. 99 for the Tigers. I hope you enjoy it. As usual, I welcome your suggestions for players to include in the countdown. When suggesting a player, please be sure to include his jersey number, the years that he played, and any pertinent info you may have. Same applies for our new Where Are They Now page, which will likely be ready for launching tomorrow. When it's first launched, it won't look much different than the old version in terms of the content contained, but its format will be much more user friendly, and there will be a mechanism in place for you to submit new or updated information to help build the database of former Tigers.
In football recruiting news, the LSU coaching staff is busy preparing for this weekend's Bayou Picnic in which they will entertain several players already committed to the Tigers and several others being recruited for this class, for 2015 and beyond. Earlier in the week I heard from my source closest to quarterback Brandon Harris (6'1", 185, Parkway, No. 11 on my list of top LA Prospects for 2014) who confirmed that he will be there, and yesterday I also heard from my sources closest to Darrel Williams (No. 14 on my list) and Trey Quinn (No. 2 on my list). Williams will also be attending, but as of this time Quinn is unsure, simply because he has already visited LSU several times and has not had a weekend at home in months. I wouldn't read anything more into that, as I'm quite certain that Quinn still holds LSU in very high regard, and I still like where LSU stands with him and his family.
One last football tid-bit: Yesterday CBSSports.com posted this interview of Les Miles by Tim Brando that I think many of you will find interesting. In it, Miles and Brando discuss the SEC schedules and cross division rivals, as well as the possibility of expanding to a nine game conference schedule. If you've got about 12 minutes to spare this morning, you can check out the interview here.
This web site is not officially affiliated with Louisiana State University. Opinions expressed herein are the property of Donald Long, Scott Long and friends, not Louisiana State University.