NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
4/17/014 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The No. 7 LSU baseball team will begin a very challenging three-game road series tonight at 6:30 against No. 10 Ole Miss. When you look at the two teams’ records and rankings, they seem very similar. LSU’s average ranking in the four major polls is 10.25, while Ole Miss’ is 12.25. Their records are even more alike and would be exactly the same if LSU would have won the game that they tied against Georgia. But when you look a little deeper into these two teams, there are some differences that really stand out. For example, the Rebels are very aggressive on offense with a league-best team batting average of .310 to go along with 25 homers and 66 steals in 81 attempts. The Tigers, on the other hand, are No. 9 in the SEC with a .273 team batting average, have 18 home runs on the season, and have only stolen 28 bases in 42 attempts. Another concerning stat to point out is that Ole Miss has only lost two games at home this season (20-2). I feel good about LSU’s chances tonight with Aaron Nola on the mound, but the Tigers will have to bring their A-Game to come away with the series win.
Here’s the weekend schedule with TV coverage and pitching match-ups:
Game 1 - Thursday, April 17 – 6:30 p.m. CTâ€¨
TV = ESPNUâ€¨
LSU – Jr. RHP Aaron Nola (7-1, 0.70 ERA, 64 IP, 13 BB, 84 SO)
UM – Jr. RHP Chris Ellis (5-0, 1.81 ERA, 54.2 IP, 17 BB, 35 SO)
Game 2 - Friday, April 18 – 6:30 p.m. CTâ€¨
LSU – Fr. LHP Jared Poche’ (6-2, 2.54 ERA, 49.2 IP, 15 BB, 34 SO)
UM – So. LHP Christian Trent (4-0, 2.44 ERA, 59.0 IP, 8 BB, 49 SO)
Saturday, April 19 – 1 p.m. CT
TV = Fox Sports South
â€¨LSU – TBA
UM – Jr. RHP Sam Smith (5-2, 2.30 ERA, 54.2 IP, 11 BB, 30 SO)
In football news, the SEC announced yesterday that the season-opener against Wisconsin on Aug. 30 at Reliant Stadium in Houston will kickoff at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN. The matchup between the SEC and Big Ten powerhouses will take place in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff in what will be LSU’s first game in Reliant Stadium. LSU will be making its first appearance in Houston for a football game since 1983 when the Tigers beat Rice, 24-10. The Wisconsin contest will mark LSU’s first game against the Badgers since 1972 when the Tigers posted a 27-7 win in Tiger Stadium. LSU is 2-0 against Wisconsin with the other win coming in 1971 by a 38-28 count at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisc.
On a similar note, LSU announced yesterday that it has officially added a home-and-home series with Syracuse in football starting with a game at the Carrier Dome in 2015. The Tigers will face the Orange in Syracuse, N.Y. on Sept. 26, 2015 during the fourth week of the season. Syracuse will make the return trip to Tiger Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017.
LSU also announced that the Tigers will open the 2015 season against McNeese State in Tiger Stadium. LSU and McNeese played one other time, that coming in 2010 when the Tigers posted a 32-10 win over the Cowboys in Tiger Stadium.
In closing, I’d like to thank those of you who voted in our poll yesterday asking: “What was the biggest factor in LSU’s offensive success last football season?” The answer that won by a landslide (67% of the vote) was “Coach Cam Cameron as Offensive Coordinator,” and I feel the same way. And really, that’s why I feel very optimistic about LSU’s offense this year, regardless of which quarterback emerges on top. Coach Cameron is as good a quarterbacks coach as there is in the business, and he’s got plenty of talent to work with. With that said, I wouldn’t expect either quarterback to be polished in the first couple weeks of action, but with a solid offensive line and a stable of running backs including Terrance Magee, Kenny Hilliard, Leonard Fournette and Darrell Williams, the Tigers’ offense should be a force to reckon with from the get-go. That, combined with the fact that LSU’s defense should be much improved, makes me confident in saying that LSU’s football future looks very bright indeed. 134 days and counting!
4/16/14 5:35 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans. How ’bout this mid-April weather?
With a cold north wind blowing and wind chills near the freezing point, the LSU baseball team swung a hot bat and defeated Southern Miss 13-5 in the annual Wally Pontiff, Jr. Classic. The Tigers collected 15 hits in the game, including three doubles, and were led at the plate by Andrew Stevenson who went 4-for-4 with two RBI and Christian Ibarra who went 2-for-3 with four RBI.
The Tiger pitching staff struggled early on, but eventually found it’s groove in the final six innings. Starter Alden Cartwright pitched two innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits, including a three-run homer. Nate Fury pitched two-thirds of an innings and was rocked for two runs on four hits. Henri Faucheux, Parker Bugg, Hunter Devall, Kurt McCune and Zac Person combined for five and one-third solid innings and allowed only one hit and no runs.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 28-9-1 overall and 8-6-1 in SEC play. By the time you’re reading this, the team is already in Memphis where they’ll visit the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital before going on to Oxford, Mississippi for an important road series against a very good Ole Miss team that plays especially well at home. Tomorrow’s game starts at 6:30 and will be televised by ESPNU. Fans can listen to the game on the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 in Baton Rouge).
The hot topic of discussion among LSU football fans during the last couple of weeks has been the quarterback position. Yesterday I wrote a bit about Zach Mettenberger and also linked to an article about Brandon Harris. Last week there was an article about offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Cam Cameron being the best “recruit” of Les Miles’ tenure. Before that, there was the spring game, which gave a lot of folks their first look at LSU’s very competitive quarterback battle. All of this has spurred a lot of discussion (and a lot of emails to me) about LSU’s future at quarterback, and what type of offensive production we should expect from LSU in 2014.
With that in mind, I decided to review a few stats from the previous three seasons to getter a better picture of LSU’s remarkable offensive transformation in 2013, and perhaps a better feel for why it improved as much as it did. Check this out:
A few things to consider when looking at the chart:
- 2013 = Zach Mettenberger at QB, Cam Cameron as Offensive Coordinator
- 2012 = Zach Mettenberger at QB, Greg Studrawa as Offensive Coordinator
- 2011 = Jordan Jefferson & Jared Lee at QB, Greg Studrawa as Offensive Coordinator
- Of course, there are several other factors at play besides the QB and OC, like the receivers, offensive line, running backs, etc.
So where is all this leading? To a poll, of course!
Please take a moment to vote in our poll asking: “What was the biggest factor in LSU’s offensive success last football season?” Was it Cam Cameron at Offensive Coordinator? The talent/experience of Zach Mettenberger? The switch to a pro-style passing attack? Or maybe the incredible receiving tandem of Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry? Click here to vote. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the results and see what (if anything) they tell us about what to expect in 2014.
Speaking of what to expect this season, yesterday the oddsmakers released their opening line on the LSU-Wisconsin season opener and have the Tigers as a three-point favorite. ABC and ESPN also announced yesterday that the game will be in primetime, although a kickoff time has not yet been set.
I’ll close again today with an update on former Tiger Tahj Jone’s condition. According to a report by my friend Jim Kleinpeter of NOLA.com, “Jones remains in intensive care at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria after being shot by another former Tiger player, Brandon Winey, late Friday night in Sulphur, La. But he came through a second surgery Sunday night successfully and continues to show improvement.” Here’s the article: LSU's Tahj Jones survived despite bullet severing major vein, passing through his stomach, father says
4/15/14 5:55 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
After winning three of four games last week, the LSU baseball team moved up in the four major polls. Perfect Game has LSU up three spots to No. 8. Baseball America has the Tigers at No. 12 (up four spots from No. 16). In Collegiate Baseball’s ranking, LSU is up one spot to No. 14. The Coaches elevated the Tigers one spot to No. 7. You can check out all the polls here.
The Tigers have a busy four days ahead of them, starting with today’s trip to Zephyr Field in Metairie to take on Southern Miss in the annual Wally Pontiff, Jr. Classic. Tonight’s game, which starts at 7 p.m., will be televised by Cox Sports Television. It can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 in Baton Rouge). Right after tonight’s Classic, the Tigers will depart for Memphis, Tenn., where they’ll visit the St. Jude Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, then travel to Oxford, Miss. for the series at Ole Miss that begins on Thursday. The three-game series will be played Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Here’s the pitching matchup for tonight’s game:
LSU – Fr. RHP Alden Cartwright (1-0, 1.23 ERA, 14.2 IP, 3 BB, 13 SO)
USM – So. RHP Cody Carroll (2-0, 2.88 ERA, 25.0 IP, 10 BB, 20 SO)
For those of you who are not familiar with the story of Wally Pontiff, Jr., I’ll give you the very brief version here so you’ll know what tonight’s all about. My hope is that those of you who are familiar with the story don’t mind being reminded of it again. In my opinion, it’s a story worth repeating, and the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Foundation is an organization worth supporting.
Wally Pontiff, Jr. was an All-SEC third baseman and captain of the 2002 LSU team who left this world far too soon due to a mysterious, previously undiagnosed heart abnormality that took him in his sleep. Pontiff, Jr. was not only a remarkable ball player; he was also an honor roll student (3.25 GPA Pre-Med) and a great young man who inspired his teammates. The Wally Pontiff, Jr. Classic is not only a baseball game, it is also a memorial service, and a way to support the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Foundation which funds an LSU baseball scholarship and aids many worthy organizations. I encourage those of you within driving distance to head out to Zephyr Field tonight to show your support and commemorate a special Tiger. And if you've got a few minutes, please check out this video tribute to Wally Pontiff, Jr. that ESPN aired during it's coverage of the 2007 CWS.
In football news, yesterday I wrote a little about Jarvis Landry and promised to do the same for Zach Mettenberger today. The reason for singling out these two players is that they’ve both been in the headlines lately after impressive performances in LSU’s Pro Day. So, without further ado, here we geaux…
After his disappointing showing at the NFL combine, Landry felt like he had to redeem himself during LSU’s Pro Day. His teammate, Mettenberger, had even more to prove. 13 weeks removed from knee surgery, Mettenberger needed to show that he was well on his way to recovery and worth taking a chance on, and he did just that by pushing off his right leg and making some impressive throws. Because of his injury and some opinions like “he doesn’t throw well under pressure” (by ESPN’s Todd McShay), feelings toward Mettenberger are extremely diverse. Some say he’s a fifth round pick, while others, like ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, say he’s the second best quarterback in the draft. In our Q&A with Mike Detillier last week, Detillier pegged him as going in Round 2.
What LSU fans know about Mettenberger is this – he’s a fearless competitor in the pocket, he can make any throw on the field, and he’s proven he can play within a pro-style offensive setting. His 3,082 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions gave Tiger fans a passing treat they’d hungered to see for quite some time. Judging by Mettenberger’s steady progression and work ethic towards rehabbing his knee, I feel Tiger fans will have plenty to roar about when it comes to Mettenberger representing LSU at the next level.
For a reminder of what a special quarterback Mettenberger was at LSU, check out this video of his 2013 highlights. The video is filled with remarkable throws and catches, and what jumps out to me is not only how much the Tigers will miss Mettenberger, but also the fact that every single pass in this 3:07 highlight video was caught by one of two receivers no longer on the team - Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr.. This spring the focus was on which quarterback would fill Mettenberger’s shoes as the 2014 starter, and that’s a battle that will likely play out through the fall and into the early season. But, undoubtedly, the next most interesting battle will be between the young receivers competing to replace Beckham and Landry. More on that battle in a subsequent report.
After the great success that Mettenberger brought to LSU’s offense with his pro-style passing ability, many Tiger Fans I’ve heard from are a bit uneasy about the prospect of returning to a “dual-threat” quarterback. If you’re one that feels that way, you should be encouraged by this 247Sports.net article about LSU quarterback Brandon Harris, who QB guru George Wittfield says reminds him of Winston Jameis. Wittfield says Harris has the best arm talent of any QB in his class.
In other football-related news, a few of you have asked me about acquiring single-game tickets for LSU’s season opener against Wisconsin in Houston’s Reliant Stadium. I heard from one of my readers who informed me that tickets are on sale to the general public through TicketMaster, but are going fast. Ticket prices range from $80-$320 and may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Last but not least, I want to pass along a bit of good news about former Tiger Tahj Jones. Based on several tweets I’ve seen and this article by Jim Kleinpeter of Nola.com, it seems that Jones is doing much better. He is now off of his ventilator and getting nourishment through a feeding tube. Please continue to keep Jones and his family in your prayers.
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.