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.