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:
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.