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4/29/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU baseball team suffered a 7-6 loss to Ole Miss last night in Game 1 of the series and has now lost four of its last five games. In what was a back-and-forth contest for much of the night, the Tigers matched the Rebels in hits (11-11), but there were several plays at the plate which proved to be the difference in the game. One involved a poor call by the umpire when the runner failed to slide into home and knocked the ball out of Jordan Romero’s glove. Another involved a poor throw from Parker Bugg to allow the go-ahead run to score, and yet another involved a questionable base-coaching decision to send LSU’s would-be tying run home from second on a shallow hit to centerfield. 

Junior Jared Poché got the start for the Tigers and allowed four runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Poché was hit hard (three of the four hits were for extra bases) but showed great composure, was never rattled, and was able to work out of some sticky situations to keep the game in check. When he was replaced by Parker Bugg in the fifth, the game was tied 4-4, but Bugg would allow three runs to score on two hits, two walks and the aforementioned errant throw to home plate which allowed the go-ahead run to score. Russell Reynolds would hold the Rebels scoreless in the final two innings, despite walking three of the first four batters he faced. 

Offensively, the Tigers collected 11 hits, which is good, but were only 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Leading the way at the plate were Jake Fraley, Jordan Romero, and Antoine Duplantis. Fraley ended 3-for-5, Romero went 2-for-4 with three RBI, and Duplantis went 2-for-4 with an RBI. With pinch-runner Brennen Breaux at second and two outs, Duplantis almost had the game-tying RBI in the eighth when he singled to shallow centerfield, but Breaux was gunned out at the plate. As alluded to above, it is debatable whether third-base coach Nolan Cain made the right call in sending the runner home in that situation, but considering Breaux’s speed and the fact that the game was in the eighth inning with the Tigers facing a strong closer, I’ll hesitantly give him the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s the complete boxscore, and below is what Coach Mainieri had to say about the game, pulled from the press release issued by LSU:

“I thought we did a tremendous job against one of the best pitchers in the league (Bramlett),” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Our hitters scored two in the first inning and then we scored two more in the third. We ran his pitch count up. I thought we just did a tremendous job against him. Unfortunately, they were able to get a few hits off of Jared and were able to fight back. They are a good ball club and they showed why.”

“Jared was out there competing as hard as he could. He obviously didn’t have his ace stuff tonight. He got us through four innings. I thought Parker (Bugg) threw well and I thought (Russell) Reynolds threw well. We had an inning there where we just had a few plays we could have made but didn’t. It was just the story of the game. I thought it was a great ball game. It was exciting, and our kids played so hard. The difference was very slight between what we did and what they did tonight.”

The Tigers (27-15, 10-9) will look to even the series tonight at 6:30 with Alex Lange (4-3, 4.34 ERA) on the mound. (That is if the weather allows. As of now, there’s a 65% chance of rain in Oxford at game time.) Ole Miss (32-11, 11-8) is set to counter with sophomore southpaw David Parkinson (2-1, 1.70 ERA). The game can be viewed online on SEC Network +, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.

In softball news, No. 12 LSU (37-13, 10-11) is set to close out conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Arkansas. Game one of the series, which starts tonight at 6 p.m., will be streamed online on SEC Network+. Tomorrow’s game also starts at 6 p.m and will be streamed online, whereas Sunday’s finale will start at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on “regular TV” via ESPNU. LSU enters the weekend riding a seven-game winning streak after earning a 5-2 win over the McNeese State Cowgirls on Tuesday night at Tiger Park.

In football recruiting, earlier in the week I mentioned that Coach Ed Orgeron would be paying a visit to former Tiger Travonté Valentine. Well, according to this article by Jimmy Smith of nola.com, Valentine might just suit up for the Tigers as early as this fall. Smith cites “multiple sources” as saying LSU is “open to the idea” of taking back the 6-3, 350-pound defensive lineman, who was dismissed from the Tigers team before ever playing a down because of off-the-field trouble, if he maintains his current course and compliance decides that the transfer would meet NCAA guidelines. 

In other recruiting news, as of yesterday, college football coaches are now able to communicate with recruits via text message and social media. In a whimsical, quirky manner befitting of the Mad Hatter, Coach Les Miles released this video yesterday suggesting that he’s not only gearing up for the change but that he’s awfully confident about his 2016 Tigers. I love the video and think it’s great, but on a serious note, how do you feel about the new NCAA rule allowing coaches to send unlimited text messages to prospects? Is this a good thing? Send me your thoughts on the matter and I’ll choose a few of your comments for posting in a subsequent report.

I’ll leave you with this closing tidbit: Another light-hearted sign of Coach Miles embracing today’s technology (in addition to the texting video linked above) is this tweet he sent out yesterday for Throwback Thursday (#TBT). It includes a pic of Miles and former LSU coach Gerry DiNardo taken 30+ years ago, from the time when the two worked together as assistants on the Colorado coaching staff. 

That’s it for today’s daily dose. Have a great Friday, Tiger Fans.


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4/29/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU baseball team suffered a 7-6 loss to Ole Miss last night in Game 1 of the series and has now lost four of its last five games. In what was a back-and-forth contest for much of the night, the Tigers matched the Rebels in hits (11-11), but there were several plays at the plate which proved to be the difference in the game. One involved a poor call by the umpire when the runner failed to slide into home and knocked the ball out of Jordan Romero’s glove. Another involved a poor throw from Parker Bugg to allow the go-ahead run to score, and yet another involved a questionable base-coaching decision to send LSU’s would-be tying run home from second on a shallow hit to centerfield. 

Junior Jared Poché got the start for the Tigers and allowed four runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Poché was hit hard (three of the four hits were for extra bases) but showed great composure, was never rattled, and was able to work out of some sticky situations to keep the game in check. When he was replaced by Parker Bugg in the fifth, the game was tied 4-4, but Bugg would allow three runs to score on two hits, two walks and the aforementioned errant throw to home plate which allowed the go-ahead run to score. Russell Reynolds would hold the Rebels scoreless in the final two innings, despite walking three of the first four batters he faced. 

Offensively, the Tigers collected 11 hits, which is good, but were only 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Leading the way at the plate were Jake Fraley, Jordan Romero, and Antoine Duplantis. Fraley ended 3-for-5, Romero went 2-for-4 with three RBI, and Duplantis went 2-for-4 with an RBI. With pinch-runner Brennen Breaux at second and two outs, Duplantis almost had the game-tying RBI in the eighth when he singled to shallow centerfield, but Breaux was gunned out at the plate. As alluded to above, it is debatable whether third-base coach Nolan Cain made the right call in sending the runner home in that situation, but considering Breaux’s speed and the fact that the game was in the eighth inning with the Tigers facing a strong closer, I’ll hesitantly give him the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s the complete boxscore, and below is what Coach Mainieri had to say about the game, pulled from the press release issued by LSU:

“I thought we did a tremendous job against one of the best pitchers in the league (Bramlett),” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Our hitters scored two in the first inning and then we scored two more in the third. We ran his pitch count up. I thought we just did a tremendous job against him. Unfortunately, they were able to get a few hits off of Jared and were able to fight back. They are a good ball club and they showed why.”

“Jared was out there competing as hard as he could. He obviously didn’t have his ace stuff tonight. He got us through four innings. I thought Parker (Bugg) threw well and I thought (Russell) Reynolds threw well. We had an inning there where we just had a few plays we could have made but didn’t. It was just the story of the game. I thought it was a great ball game. It was exciting, and our kids played so hard. The difference was very slight between what we did and what they did tonight.”

The Tigers (27-15, 10-9) will look to even the series tonight at 6:30 with Alex Lange (4-3, 4.34 ERA) on the mound. (That is if the weather allows. As of now, there’s a 65% chance of rain in Oxford at game time.) Ole Miss (32-11, 11-8) is set to counter with sophomore southpaw David Parkinson (2-1, 1.70 ERA). The game can be viewed online on SEC Network +, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.

In softball news, No. 12 LSU (37-13, 10-11) is set to close out conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Arkansas. Game one of the series, which starts tonight at 6 p.m., will be streamed online on SEC Network+. Tomorrow’s game also starts at 6 p.m and will be streamed online, whereas Sunday’s finale will start at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on “regular TV” via ESPNU. LSU enters the weekend riding a seven-game winning streak after earning a 5-2 win over the McNeese State Cowgirls on Tuesday night at Tiger Park.

In football recruiting, earlier in the week I mentioned that Coach Ed Orgeron would be paying a visit to former Tiger Travonté Valentine. Well, according to this article by Jimmy Smith of nola.com, Valentine might just suit up for the Tigers as early as this fall. Smith cites “multiple sources” as saying LSU is “open to the idea” of taking back the 6-3, 350-pound defensive lineman, who was dismissed from the Tigers team before ever playing a down because of off-the-field trouble, if he maintains his current course and compliance decides that the transfer would meet NCAA guidelines. 

In other recruiting news, as of yesterday, college football coaches are now able to communicate with recruits via text message and social media. In a whimsical, quirky manner befitting of the Mad Hatter, Coach Les Miles released this video yesterday suggesting that he’s not only gearing up for the change but that he’s awfully confident about his 2016 Tigers. I love the video and think it’s great, but on a serious note, how do you feel about the new NCAA rule allowing coaches to send unlimited text messages to prospects? Is this a good thing? Send me your thoughts on the matter and I’ll choose a few of your comments for posting in a subsequent report.

I’ll leave you with this closing tidbit: Another light-hearted sign of Coach Miles embracing today’s technology (in addition to the texting video linked above) is this tweet he sent out yesterday for Throwback Thursday (#TBT). It includes a pic of Miles and former LSU coach Gerry DiNardo taken 30+ years ago, from the time when the two worked together as assistants on the Colorado coaching staff. 

That’s it for today’s daily dose. Have a great Friday, Tiger Fans.

4/28/16 5:45 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

I hope you don’t mind me starting the report on a personal note. Today marks the four-year anniversary of the passing of my father, Dandy Don Long, for whom this site was created and named. Throughout the 15 years that he wrote this daily report, many of you longtime readers came to know what an exceptional Tiger fan he was. I can assure you that he was even more exceptional as a father, husband, and man, and is greatly missed.

Today also marks the four-year anniversary of the LSU baseball team’s big come-from-behind win over Georgia in 2012 that came to be known as the “Dandy Don Miracle.” Before the game, LSU called for a moment of silence in memory of my Dad, and then during the game, Lyn Rollins said some very kind words about Dad and this site. A little while later, LSU entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing 2-4 before Mason Katz hit a clutch bases-loaded grand slam and Raph Rhymes followed with a solo home run. It's a moment I'll never forget.

Now for our normal order of business, the No. 8 LSU baseball team is gearing up for another top-10 SEC showdown as they’re set to face No. 9 Ole Miss in Oxford for a three-game series beginning tonight at 6 p.m. CT. Below is a look at the start times, coverage and pitching match-ups:

Game 1 - Thursday, 6 p.m. - SEC Network
LSU – Jr. LHP Jared Poché (5-4, 3.26 ERA, 60.2 IP, 24 BB, 51 SO)
UM – Jr. RHP Brady Bramlett (6-2, 2.28 ERA, 55.1 IP, 15 BB, 71 SO) 

Game 2 - Friday, 6:30 p.m. - SEC Network + (streamed online)
LSU – So. RHP Alex Lange (4-3, 4.34 ERA, 64.1 IP, 33 BB, 75 SO)
UM – So. LHP David Parkinson (2-1, 1.70 ERA, 37.0 IP, 17 BB, 28 SO) 

Game 3 - Saturday, 11 a.m. - ESPN2
LSU – Sr. LHP John Valek III (6-1, 3.78 ERA, 52.1 IP, 7 BB, 40 SO)
UM – Fr. RHP James McArthur (5-0, 2.84 ERA, 44.1 IP, 10 BB, 43 SO) 

With only four SEC series remaining, every game is important, but this series is especially significant considering that LSU and Ole Miss are in a three-way tie, along with Mississippi State, for second place in the SEC West. Last year the Tigers took two out of three against the Rebels in Baton Rouge, and if they can do the same in Oxford I would be extremely pleased. 

LSU didn’t swing the bat well against Tulane on Tuesday, but they enter the series No. 4 in the SEC in hitting with a .300 team batting average, which I find impressive considering the youth of this team. The Tigers’ two leading hitters are freshmen Antoine Duplantis which bodes well for the Tigers’ future. Duplantis is batting .358 (59-for-165) with six doubles, four triples, one homer, 25 RBI, 31 runs and 10 stolen bases. Jordan is batting .342 with eight doubles, four homers, and a team-high 35 RBI. While these two lead the team in overall batting average, senior Kramer Robertson is the Tigers’ leading hitter in SEC games, batting .384 with six doubles, one homer, 14 RBI and 17 runs.  

Ole Miss, on the other hand, is 11th in the SEC in hitting, batting .274 as a team with 27 homers and 28 steals in 47 attempts. The Rebels are led at the plate by junior catcher Henri Lartigue, who is batting .366 with eight doubles, two homers, 20 RBI and 22 runs. Junior outfielder J.B. Woodman is batting .316 with nine doubles, five homers, and 30 RBI, and sophomore infielder Tate Blackman is hitting .311 with eight doubles, two homers and 27 RBI.

The Tigers will face an Ole Miss pitching staff that is No. 4 in the SEC with a 3.05 team ERA. The Rebels’ Game 1 starter, junior right-hander Brady Bramlett, has the league’s sixth-best ERA at 2.28. By comparison, LSU’s pitching staff is 10th in the league with a 4.19 team ERA.

This series will surely present a stiff challenge to the Tigers, but I believe they’re up for the task and I look forward to three nights of great baseball. For those of you who enjoy following baseball on social media or simply use it to keep up with the action while at work (shhh!) or away from a TV or radio, please note that I’ll be tweeting score updates and occasional comments during this evening’s game for to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter.

In other news, the 2016 NFL Draft begins tonight at 7 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN and the NFL Network. It will be held over three days with the first round set for tonight, the second and third rounds tomorrow and the fourth through seventh rounds Saturday morning and afternoon. I’ve never been one to follow the draft closely or make projections and I’m certainly no expert on the matter, but my friend, Mike Detillier, is. I reached out to him earlier this week to get his projections on where former Tigers will go in the draft, and this is what he had to say:

Mike Detillier’s NFL Draft Projections for Former Tigers:

Debo Jones- early 2nd Round Pick
Jalen Mills- 2nd Round Pick
Vadal Alexander- 3rd Round pick
Jerald Hawkins- late 3rd/ 4th round pick
Rashard Robinson- 4th round pick
Lamar Louis- 7th Round pick/ Free agent
Dillon Gordon- Free agent
Quentin Thomas- Free Agent
Reid Ferguson- Free agent
Jamie Keehn- Free agent 

While this might not be an exceptional year for LSU in terms of high draft picks, next year certainly will be. Some analysts are already projecting that LSU could have as many as seven first round picks next year, including Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams, TréDavious White, Malachi Dupré, Lewis Neal, Ethan Pocic and Davon Godchaux. That’s an unprecedented amount of talent that will surely lead to unprecedented expectations for this year’s team. 

Today’s closing tidbits:

• Here’s something I think you’ll enjoy by Cody Worsham of Tiger Rag. It’s the first of three profiles on the wives of LSU’s head coaches, featuring Kathy Miles, from the latest issue of Tiger Rag Extra, which you can find on newsstands across Baton Rouge now. Parts two and three on Kelli Jones and Karen Mainieri will be published online later today. Great stuff.

• For those of you considering making it out to Wisconsin for LSU’s highly-anticipated season opener, please see the reader comment below from a longtime DandyDon reader who is putting together a charter flight from Lafayette to Wisconsin for the game. 

• Tuesday I shared video highlights of LSU’s latest quarterback commit, Myles Brennan, and yesterday many of you enjoyed hearing his radio interview with Matt Mascona. For those of you who can’t get enough of this young man, here’s a 2-part Q&A with him by nola.com (Part 1 | Part 2).

• Lastly, I’ll be updating our Ticket Exchange and LSU Alumni Crawfish Boils pages later today, so if you have any info for posting please send it my way.

Reader Comments: Scott, I've been a longtime reader of your website.  I was wondering if you could share this charter flight information with your readers?  We are looking for a few more people to fill it.

LSU vs. Wisconsin Charter Flight Information

In order to provide round-trip air travel to transport the large number of Tiger Fans traveling from Lafayette to the LSU vs. Wisconsin football game, a Boeing 737 jet has been conditionally chartered. The charter is tentatively scheduled to leave Lafayette airport around 8:00 A.M. on Wednesday, August 31st flying into Milwaukee airport (We will have too many passengers to fly into Sheboygan) and would depart around NOON on Sunday, September 4th. Flight time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. The jet seats 150 passengers. The quote for the charter is $129,347.00. The cost per person would be $862.31, assuming all seats are sold. The quote is subject to change if a contract is not signed and payment made by April 28th.

The charter contract will not be signed if we do not have sufficient interest from all of you. Seats will be sold on a first come first serve basis. The total cost of the charter will need to be collected to secure the jet. Our goal is to fill this jet with LSU fans. Please respond by email within the next 10 days if you would like to secure seats on the charter. Provide the names of each passenger, not just the number of seats you wish to secure. If we can fill 150 seats (over 100 filled already) within this time period, we will request payment immediately and sign the contract for the charter. Again, FIRST COME FIRST SERVED.  You do not have to be staying with us to get in on this charter.  If you have friends that are going to the game and interested please forward this information to them.

Please let me hear from you ASAP. Call or email with any questions. My cell number is 337-654-7365. This is a GREAT value. It is going to be a GREAT TRIP. 

Thanks,

Jeff D'Amico

Reader Comments: Scott, check it out…. this report from CBSSports.com does not consider LSU to be "DBU" for this season (they are rated #4).  However, the Tigers are rated #4 as PU and #2 as WRU, DLU, and OLU.  I'd say those are some pretty good recruiting bullets!!

4/27/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU baseball team lost 4-1 to Tulane last night, marking the first time in nine years the Tigers have been swept by their in-state rival. How this Tiger team can look so good at times on weekends, yet struggle so badly in midweek games is beyond me. Just a few days ago, LSU mustered 12 hits against one of the nation’s top pitchers in Mississippi State’s Dakota Hudson, and a few weeks earlier they scored 23 runs against Vanderbilt’s All-American staff, yet in the two games against Tulane this season they were held to a total of two runs. And really, yesterday’s game was no better than a shutout, as LSU’s only run came on a very questionable bases-loaded balk.   

In last night’s game, the Tigers looked flat all around. Pitching was average at best, the defense committed three errors, and only one of the Tigers’ seven hits came with runners on base. That’s a recipe for failure regardless of who the opponent is, although it is worth noting that Tulane came to play and deserves credit for an excellent outing. 

The Tigers sent a total of five pitchers to the mound and they combined to allow four runs on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Starter Doug Norman (1-1) was charged with the loss, as he allowed one run on three hits in 3.2 innings with two walks and one strikeout. Caleb Gilbert, Jesse Stallings, Russell Reynolds and Parker Bugg combined for the final 4.1 innings, and the only one who threw particularly well was Bugg. I’m really searching for some kind of silver lining to find in the rough outing, and if there is one to be found it was the pitching of Parker Bugg who seems to be gaining confidence with each outing. That’s important, because if this team is going to meet its goal of making it to Omaha this year, it will need some bullpen pitchers to step up big-time. 

Offensively, there were no LSU highlights worth mentioning. Tulane right-hander J.P. France limited the Tigers to just one run through 7.1 innings and struck out six. “We just weren’t able to solve him,” said coach Paul Mainieri. “He threw strikes with his fastball and curveball. I thought we hit three balls good early in the game. With the wind blowing like it was I thought they might carry out the park, but they didn’t. We just didn’t make a lot of hard contact after that. It just wasn’t our night.”

Defensively, the highlight of the game was this incredible catch by Antoine Duplantis in right field. Before the season started, I mentioned that Duplantis would be in the conversation for Freshman of the Year, and he has certainly lived up to his billing. 

Now what the Tigers must do is put last night’s loss behind them and move on to a very important three-game SEC road series against No. 9 Ole Miss in Oxford. That series gets underway tomorrow at 6 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.

In softball news, the No. 12 Tigers pounded out 11 hits and got a two-hitter from Carley Hoover in the circle to defeated McNeese State 5-2 at Tiger Park. The Tigers (37-13) came out swinging and scored four of their five runs in the first two innings, then cruised to victory behind the solid pitching of Hoover, who had a no-hitter going through four innings. With the win, LSU improved to 10-0 in midweek games and 7-0 against in-state foes this year. The Tigers will be back in action this weekend, traveling to Fayetteville for their final SEC series of the year against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

In football news, it’s the time of year when publications start to release their preseason rankings, and yesterday the Sporting News released theirs with LSU coming in at No. 12. Here’s what writer Bill Bender had to say about the Tigers: “The pressure is on Les Miles, and he knows it. The Tigers brought in Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, and LSU has nine starters returning on both sides of the ball. Heisman contender Leonard Fournette is the centerpiece, but the Tigers need more from quarterback Brandon Harris. Ole Miss and Alabama both visit Tiger Stadium this year. Miles is working with another roster flush with future NFL talent. He needs to deliver this time.” I think that sums it up pretty well, and I’m quite certain the majority of my readers feel the same way.  

While on the topic of football, yesterday I shared highlights of LSU’s latest quarterback commit and heard from many of you who watched the video. Everyone who commented seems to agree that Myles Brennan is a great prospect who is very under-rated. To find out a bit more about this impressive young man and how he came to commit to LSU, here’s an outstanding radio interview with him by Matt Mascona of 104.5 ESPN Sports Radio.

In basketball news, congratulations are in order for LSU junior Craig Victor II who was named a recipient of the Academic Momentum Award, given to student-athletes who demonstrate momentous academic improvement in their collegiate careers. “Knowledge rules the world. I am humbled and grateful to receive this award as it feels good to win an award for something other than basketball,” said Victor. “It means a lot to me because the perception of athletes is that we don’t take academics seriously and to be able to balance the two is important to me. I want to represent myself as a student to show others that I’m serious about my education and I look forward to continuing to improve academically. I want to thank my great grandmother for instilling in me to never settle for just being good at one thing.”

In closing, please keep in prayer the family of former LSU All-SEC forward Maury Drummond, who passed away Sunday at age 74. Drummond was a member of the first Tigers' team to defeat the University of Kentucky in basketball in 1961 and was also well known in the Baton Rouge area as the former director of the Louisiana Naval War Memorial, which includes the USS Kidd where he served for 22 years. Drummond’s visitation will be Wednesday 6-8 p.m. at Resthaven on Jefferson Hwy. in Baton Rouge. Funeral service will be there Thursday at 11 a.m.

 

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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.