4/22/17 5:50 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Today is the day many of us have been anxiously awaiting as the LSU Football Spring Game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. With this being a spring game and with so many of this fall’s projected starters being out for various reasons, it would be unwise to draw too many conclusions from what we see tonight. Still, there are a few things I’m really hoping to see. First is an injury-free game. I also want to see solid quarterback play, a wide variety of playmakers in on the action, a strong game from Darrel Williams at running back (we already know what Derrius Guice is capable of) and solid play from LSU’s defensive backfield which will be without two potential first-round picks in this year’s draft, Jamal Adams and TréDavious White. Of course, what we’ll all be hoping to see is just enough of LSU’s revitalized offense under the direction of Matt Canada to leave recruits chomping at the bit to be a part of something special, and to leave us counting the days until LSU takes the field this fall.
If you’re heading out to campus to take in tonight’s action, please note these Times of Interest. For those of you not able to make it out to Tiger Stadium, the game will be televised on the SEC Network and streamed on SECN+. It will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (104.5 and 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area) as well as on the internet at www.LSUsports.net/live. For additional info on tonight’s game, including parking and seating info, see LSUSports.net/SpringGame.
Also, please note that WBRZ is reporting a lane closure from Baton Rouge to Lafayette on I-10 West that is expected to last through Monday. If you’re heading that direction on your way home, you might want to consider US 190 as an alternate route.
Now turning to baseball, after suffering a beat down in Game 1, LSU rallied from behind to win Game 2 and split the doubleheader against a very good Kentucky team in Lexington. Let’s take the games one at a time…
In the first game, LSU gave up a 12 runs on 16 hits (both are season highs) in a lopsided 12-4 loss. The Tigers played well defensively, but that’s about the only positive thing you can say about the game.
From a pitching standpoint, LSU struggled from the get-go. Coach Mainieri decided to start Jared Poché instead of his normal Game 1 starter, Alex Lange, and Poché was hit hard. In just three innings of work, he allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks. Unfortunately, the bullpen wasn’t much better. Todd Peterson, Russell Reynolds and Will Reese combined to allow seven runs on nine hits with six walks. Offensively, the Tigers collected eight hits and were led by Greg Deichmann who went 2-for-2 with a solo home run in the ninth. Also worth noting: Beau Jordan came in off the bench and collected a hit in his only at-bat. That, combined with the fact that Jordan Romero went 0-for-5, was enough to earn Beau a spot in the starting lineup in Game 2. Here’s the complete Game 1 boxscore.
In Game 2, LSU scored four unanswered runs to overcome a 3-0 fifth-inning deficit and won 4-3. The story of this game was the outstanding pitching of Zach Hess and the late-inning defensive heroics of Nick Coomes and Greg Deichmann.
Alex Lange got the start on the mound and wasn’t particularly sharp, but he made the big pitches when they counted most to strand the bases loaded in three consecutive innings. In 5.2 innings worked, Lange allowed three runs on seven hits with eight walks and seven strikeouts before giving way to Zach Hess with the game tied 3-3. Hess gave the Tigers exactly what they needed as he closed out the contest with 3.1 scoreless innings of one-hit ball, aided in large part by three outstanding defensive plays. Two of those plays came from first baseman Nick Coomes who also had a heck of a night at the plate. Coome’s first web gem was a diving stop in the eighth inning to prevent the tying run from scoring. His second was a very similar play in the ninth to rob the leadoff man of what would have surely been a double if not a triple. Right fielder Greg Deichmann followed with an outstanding play of his own for the second out of the inning when he charged a hard hit grounder through the infield and gunned down the runner at first for a rare 9-3 putout.
Offensively, the Tigers collected 12 hits and were led by Coomes, Cole Freeman and Antoine Duplantis. Coomes went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Freeman went 2-for-4 with one run driven in. Duplantis recorded one hit in three at-bats and it was as big as any in the game – an RBI single in the eighth to give LSU a 4-3 lead. Here’s the complete Game 2 boxscore.
I said before the start of the series that I would be thrilled to see the Tigers win two-out-of-three in Lexington, and it appears they are positioned well to do just that. When LSU returns to action Sunday at noon, Eric Walker will make his fourth consecutive start in a rubber match, and if he pitches like he did in the previous three LSU should prevail. In those three outings, Walker allowed just two runs in 22.2 innings. Also boding well for the Tigers’ chances is the fact that LSU’s three key relievers – Austin Bain, Caleb Gilbert, and Hunter Newman – will all be fresh and raring to go, while Kentucky will be without their top closer, Logan Salow, who pitched 4.2 innings last night.
• The No. 16 LSU softball team dropped its series opener against No. 11 Tennessee, 6-3. Here’s more on that game.
• I’ll leave you with this cool analysis by ESPN’s Sports Science team of former Tiger safety and projected first-round NFL draft pick, Jamal Adams. The 2:45 video concludes with the Sports Science team predicting that Adams could have an impact similar to five-time Pro Bowl safety and Super Bowl winner Earl Thomas of Seattle.