4/19/18 5:35 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Much like on Sunday night, LSU rallied from a 7-3 deficit to take a ninth inning 9-7 lead, only this time the rally went for naught as the Tigers fell 10-9 at Tulane. Losing to Tulane always leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth, but this loss was particularly hard to swallow after watching the Tigers rally for three runs in the top of the ninth only to give them right back in the bottom of the inning.
Here’s a quick recap of how it played out:
LSU got on the scoreboard first thanks to a pair of Tulane errors and big hits by Antoine Duplantis and Austin Bain in the top of the third. But the lead would be short lived. Tulane jumped all over starter AJ Labas in the bottom of the inning, plating five runs on six hits including a leadoff double, a one-out three-run homer, and a two-out triple. The Tigers brought in Trent Vietmeier to pitch the fourth and the Greenwave jumped all over him, too. Three runs on a pair of hits made it 7-3 Tulane, which is where things remained until LSU scored a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Duplantis. The Tigers would add two runs in the eighth on a clutch two-out RBI triple by Jake Slaughter, who would then score on a wild pitch. That takes us to the ninth inning with the Tigers trailing 7-6. Cue the drama.
Brandt Broussard, making his long-awaited return after missing thirteen games with a broken thumb, got hit by a pitch to begin the inning. After two quick outs, Broussard stole second base and advanced to third when the catcher airmailed the throw into center field. That brought up Zach Watson, who was 0-for-4 at that point and due for a big hit. Sure enough, he delivered. After falling behind 1-2 in the count, Watson launched a clutch RBI double down the left field line to tie it up. Daniel Cabrera, the walk-off hero in Sunday’s game, followed with an RBI single back through the middle to put the Tigers ahead and then scored on Nick Coomes’ RBI single, his fourth hit of the night.
What follows in the next paragraph is disappointing, but it sure was great to see the Tigers demonstrate such late-inning grit at the plate for the second game in a row. That kind of resilience will win games more often than not. Obviously, that wasn’t the case last night.
Leading 9-7, Coach Mainieri elected to send freshman right-hander Devin Fontenot to the mound in the ninth and he was quickly greeted with a leadoff homer by Grant Witherspoon. The next batter drew a base on balls and advanced to second on a wild pitch, prompting Mainieri to bring in Matthew Beck, who promptly gave up the tying run on Kody Hoese’s RBI double. A sac bunt advanced Hoese to third with one out, and that’s when the staff decided to intentionally walk the next two batters to load the bases. Mainieri would later regret that decision as Beck would throw four straight balls to walk in the winning run. “Obviously I did the wrong thing by walking those batters,” Mainieri reportedly admitted after the game. “It put too much pressure on our pitcher and he wasn’t capable of throwing strikes under those conditions.”
Here’s the complete box score.
As hard as the loss was to swallow, the Tigers will have to do just that and move on. At this point in the season, with two SEC road series in the next nine days, there’s no time to sulk. The team will depart today for South Carolina, where they’ll be challenged to earn their first SEC series on the road and keep their goals ahead of them. Look for more on that critical series in tomorrow’s report.
Switching to football, anticipation is starting to build for LSU’s Spring Game which is set to kickoff Saturday at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and can be heard in the Baton Rouge area on 104.5/104.9 FM as well as online, but fans are encouraged to head out to campus to take in the live action. A pregame block party featuring “Vidalia” starts at 1 pm and a postgame autograph session makes it a full day of fun for the family. With the big day quickly approaching, it’s time for us to continue our series on a few things we’ll be watching for. In Tuesday’s report, we wrote about checking out the running backs, and in today’s installment we’ll go with another obvious one…
LSU 2018 SPRING GAME - WHAT WE’LL WATCH FOR
Part 2 of 5: Long-awaited Passing Game
Speculating on what LSU’s offense will look like in the spring has become an annual event it seems, and this spring isn’t any different. LSU’s new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger has made comments throughout the offseason that suggest LSU will utilize its strength at wide receiver and throw the ball more this season. But after everything we’ve heard and seen over this last decade, Louisiana might as well be the new “Show Me State.” Well, here’s LSU’s perfect opportunity to unveil just enough to whet the appetites of Tiger fans without revealing too much. Actually, revealing too much shouldn’t be a problem considering the Tigers have only 35% of their offense installed, according to Coach Orgeron. What we want to see is how each quarterback looks in live action and what all the fuss is about at wide receiver. How will Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan maximize their reps? And will wide receivers Jonathan Giles and Justin Jefferson show fans what they’ve shown players and coaches all spring? That plus the young freshmen wide receivers will give fans plenty to chew on during this spring game.
In part 3 of the series, we’ll touch on something else to look for that will go a long way in determining the success of LSU’s passing game.
Fans aren’t the only ones who’ll be watching the Spring Game closely as LSU is set to host several visitors for the occasion. The staff is expecting double-digit unofficial visitors and at least two prospects will be making official visits. The two are five-star cornerback Chris Steele (6-1, 188) of Bellflower, California and four-star offensive tackle Anthony Bradford (6-5, 320) of Muskegon, Michigan. Steele will be making his second trip to Baton Rouge (he visited back in January) and has tweeted that he’ll announce his school of choice on July 7. As for Bradford, this will be his first taste of Tiger hospitality.
Before leaving you with a must-see video, I want to pass along these comments tweeted by ESPN’s Peter Burns after he observed LSU football for a show he’s putting together. In my opinion, this is a spot-on assessment:
From what I understand, Burn’s show will air this morning at 9 am CT on SirusXM SEC Radio.
In closing, here’s an outstanding 6:53 video that tells the story of former LSU running back Derrius Guice’s rise from tragedy and poverty. It’ll leave you rooting for him more than ever.
Have a great day, Tiger Fans.