NCAA Baseball Championships:
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5/19/13 6:10 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU baseball team lost to Ole Miss yesterday, 11-9, in an unusual game in which Coach Paul Mainieri rested his regular starters and gave his reserves a chance to shine in their last game of the regular season. Other than the pitching staff, seniors Mason Katz and Raph Rymes were the only “regulars’ who saw action in the game, and that was just for a cameo appearance in the first inning. The two went out to their spots in the top of the 2nd inning, and then exited to a standing ovation. The Tiger “reserves” played their hearts out and collected 15 hits in an error-free effort, which should have been more than enough to win, but LSU's pitching just fell short.
In a game that was expected to be a pitchers’ dual, Ole Miss ace Bobby Wahl was driven from the mound after giving up six earned runs on six hits in only 2.2 innings of play. The outing was the shortest of Wahl’s season, and the six earned runs, which all came in the 3rd inning, were more than he had given up in any game all season. Ryan Eades got the start for LSU but lasted only four innings after allowing five earned runs on seven hits. The Tigers sent three relief pitchers to the mound – Brent Bonvillain, Kevin Berry and Hunter Newman – who gave up a combined six runs on seven hits. Berry was hit particularly hard and allowed three runs on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning. While I still feel very good about LSU's chances of success in postseason play, they will need better pitching than they were able to muster yesterday in order to reach their goals.
The Tigers were led at the plate by Casey Yocum, Tyler Moore, Chris Chinea, Jared Foster, and pitcher Nate Fury who played second base in yesterday’s game. Yocum went 4-for-5 with three RBI, Moore went 2-for-3 with one RBI, Chinea went 2-for-4 with one RBI, Foster went 1-for-4 with two RBI, and Fury went 2-for-4.
Here's a brief scoring summary: Ole took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on the first of four Rebel home runs. LSU answered loudly in the third by erupting for seven runs off of RBI singles from Chris Sciambra, Alex Edward, Moore and Yocom. Foster added an RBI double, and Chinea provided another run on a sacrifice fly to give LSU a comfortable 7-2 lead. The Rebels answered with a three-run homer in the fourth to cut the Tigers' lead to two runs, 7-5. LSU added a pair of runs in the sixth with a fielder’s choice and another RBI single from Yocom, but Ole Miss would counter again with a pair of home runs to make the make the final score 11-9.
After finishing the regular season with the most wins and most league victories in school history, LSU (48-8, 23-7 SEC) now moves on to the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama to face either Auburn or Alabama at approximately 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Below are the tournament seedings and schedule, and here's the full tournament bracket.
SEC Tournament Seeding
1. Vanderbilt (.897)
2. LSU (.767)
3. Arkansas (.621)
4. South Carolina (.586)
5. Mississippi State (.533)
6. Ole Miss (.500)
7. Alabama (.483)
8. Florida (.467)
9. Texas A&M (.448)
10. Auburn (.433)
11. Kentucky (.367)
12. Missouri (.333)
SEC Tournament Schedule
Tuesday, May 21
Game 1 - 9:30 a.m. - #6 Ole Miss vs. #11 Kentucky [FSN]
Game 2 - TBD - #7 Alabama vs. #10 Auburn [FSN]
Game 3 - 4:30 p.m. - #8 Florida vs. #9 Texas A&M [CSS]
Game 4 - TBD - #5 Mississippi State vs. #12 Missouri [CSS]
Wednesday, May 22
Game 5 - 9:30 a.m. - #3 Arkansas vs. Winner Game 1 [CSS]
Game 6 - TBD - #2 LSU vs. Winner Game 2 [CSS]
Game 7 - 4:30 p.m. - #1 Vanderbilt vs. Winner Game 3 [CSS]
Game 8 - TBD - #4 South Carolina vs. Winner Game 4 [CSS]
Thursday, May 23
Game 9 - 9:30 a.m. - Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6 [SPSO]
Game 10 - TBD - Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8 [SPSO]
Game 11 - 4:30 p.m. - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 [SPSO]
Game 12 - TBD - Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 [SPSO]
Friday, May 24
Game 13 - 3:00 p.m. - Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11 [CSS]
Game 14 - TBD - Winner Game 10 vs. Loser 12 [CSS]
Saturday, May 25
Game 15 - Noon - Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 11 [ESPNEWS]
Game 16 - TBD - Winner Game 14 vs. Winner Game 12 [ESPNEWS]
Sunday, May 26
Game 17 - 3:30 p.m. - Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16 [ESPN2]
All Times Central
FSN - Fox Sports South, Sun Sports, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Houston
SPSO - SportSouth, Sun Sports, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Houston
CSS - Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast
In softball news, after defeating Central Connecticut 3-2 on Friday, the No. 9 national seed Tigers were handed a 3-0 defeat by No. 21 UL-Lafayette yesterday and then bounced back with an 11-0 win over Central Connecticut to stay alive in the NCAA regional at Tiger Park. The Tigers will have to beat UL-L twice today to advance to the Super Regional. The first game will start at 1 p.m. with Tiger ace Rachele Fico on the mound.
Lastly, I have been making progress on converting our Where Are They Now page to a more user-friendly database format and should be able to launch the new version by mid-week. Once it's launched, I'll solicit your help in updating the very old information, which hasn't been revised in several years. Also, football season is just 104 days away, so that means I'll be starting our annual jersey countdown in a few days. If you have a former Tiger football player that you would like to suggest for the countdown, please email me his information and be sure to include his jersey number. I appreciate your help!
5/18/13 6:10 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
On a special night at the Box, the LSU baseball team defeated Ole Miss 5-4 in very fitting come-from-behind fashion. I call it fitting because the 8th inning comeback, capped by Raph Rhymes’ 2-RBI home run, came on a night when the entire 1993 Tiger Team (known for its come-from-behind wins) was in attendance as a sign of respect for the former coach, Skip Bertman, who was honored before the game when the field was officially named “Skip Bertman Field.”
Bertman, who went 870-330-3 as LSU’s coach from 1984 to 2001 and led the program to five of their six CWS championships, and then later severed as the school's Athletic Director from 2001 to 2008, is very deserving of the honor and I think it was a classy move by LSU. Just so you know, LSU will refer to the baseball complex as “Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field” and the stadium will continue to be known in the shortened version as simply “The Box.” The baseball complex will not be referred to as “Alex Box Stadium at Skip Bertman Field” or “Skip Bertman Field at Alex Box Stadium.”
With last night's win, the Tigers improved to 48-7 overall and 23-6 in the SEC, giving LSU its most regular-season victories league wins in school history. The Tigers were led at the plate by Mason Katz (2-for-4), Mark Laird (2-for-4) and Raph Rhymes (1-for-3, 3 RBI), but it was Rhymes exhilarating 2-run homer in the eighth that was the difference in the game. The Tigers threw six pitchers in the game. Kurt McCune got the start and allowed three hits and one run in four innings. Nate Fury, Nick Rumbelow, Joey Bourgeois and Kevin Berry combined for four innings and allowed a total of three runs on four hits before Chris Cotton closed out the ninth by retiring the Rebels in order to earn his 12th save of the season. Kevin Berry (4-0) was credited with the win.
Here’s a brief scoring recap: LSU fell behind early on an RBI single by the Rebels in the top of the first inning, but answered in the fourth inning with two runs on a sacrifice fly from Rhymes and a bases-loaded walk from Ty Ross. Laird led off the fifth inning with his first triple of the season and was driven home on an RBI groundout from Bregman, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Ole Miss responded in the seventh, leveling the game at 3-3 on an LSU throwing error and an RBI single. The Rebels later regained the lead in the eighth on an RBI groundout. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Katz delivered a single to centerfield, and then Rhymes brought the crowd of over 10,000 to their feet and he launched a go-ahead home run over the wall in left-centerfield.
The Tigers will go for the series sweep today at noon, and the game will air on the CBS Sports Network.
Yesterday was also a special day for 64 LSU student-athletes who received their diplomas. Of the 64 degrees that were handed out, 57 were undergraduate degrees and seven were for graduate school. Seven members of the LSU baseball team received their diplomas, including four who are still on the roster for the Tigers - pitcher Kevin Berry (sports administration), pitcher Joey Bourgeois (interdisciplinary studies), first/second baseman Mason Katz (sports administration), outfielder Raph Rhymes (sports administration), undergraduate assistant coach and former first baseman Blake Dean (interdisciplinary studies), equipment manager and former infielder Matt Fury (chemical engineering) and former catcher Jordy Snikeris (finance). The LSU basketball programs were represented at graduation by Adrienne Webb (sports administration) and Bianca Lutley (general studies) on the women’s side and Andrew Del Piero (sociology) on the men’s side. Nine members of the LSU football team graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, including starting tight end for the 2012 Tigers Chase Clement (general studies). Former punter D.J. Howard (business administration) and tight end/deep snapper Alex Russian (business administration) both received their Master’s degree. Lauren Carleton, who is the most decorated distance runner in the history of the LSU women’s track program, received her Master’s degree in business administration after posting a 4.0 grade point average. Carleton, who was a University Medalist in 2011 as the graduate with the top grade point average in her class, was crowned the 2013 SEC Indoor Champion in the 5,000-meter run and she has set three school records as a senior this year. Hats off to all the student athletes, and to all the non-athlete students, for reaching this milestone in their lives.
In football recruiting news, several top in-state prospects have had a lot of eyes on them in the last few days during spring games and scrimmages. The other day I mentioned Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris (6'1", 185, No 15 on my list of top LA Prospects for 2014) who was offered a scholarship by LSU, and Thursday Coach Cameron and several other college scouts were at Parkway to check him out during their Spring Game. By all reports, he didn’t disappoint. Here's Harris” Spring Game highlights (via YouTube by GigEm247). Last night north Louisiana powerhouses Neville and West Monroe scrimmaged and lots of coaches were on hand to watch several top prospects including West Monroe's Cam Robinson (OL, 6'6", 315, No. 3 on my list) and Neville's Laurence “Hootie” Jones (CB, 6'2", 215, No. 7 on my list). According to a tweet by nola.com's Jimmy Smith, LSU o-line coach Greg Studrawa was in attendance to check out Robinson as was an Alabama coach, and the two were keeping their distance. Robinson was said to look leaner and meaner than ever. LSU defensive back coach Corey Raymond was there to check out Jones who is now pushing 220 pounds, according to Smith. Another prospect that's been receiving a lot of attention is 2015 WR Michael Chigbu (WR, 6'1", 205) of Holy Cross. LSU’s Frank Wilson and Alabama's Burton Burns were at Holy Cross to check him out in their scrimmage against John Ehret, and according to a Holy Cross coach whom I hear from often, Chigbu was very impressive. He caught three passes for about 100 yards including a 70-yard TD reception. The coaches were also there to see 2014 recruit Darrell Williams (RB, 6'1", 213, John Ehret, No. 13 on my list) who is a great prospect, but the Holy Cross defense was able to keep him in check and limit him to about 40 yards.
In other LSU football news, the Tiger Athletic Foundation and the LSU Alumni Association are offering travel packages for those of you who want to attend the season opener against TCU on August 31. For more info on the deals, check out lsutaf.org/TAFTravel or lsualumni.org/Trips.
Reader comments: Scott, here's just another reason why I love our coach at LSU! Miles Dons Sombrero at Hospital Event
5/17/13 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU baseball team defeated Ole Miss 7-1 last night in Game 1 of their last SEC series of the season, thanks to the big bats of seniors Mason Katz and Raph Rhymes and the solid pitching of Cody Glenn. With the win, LSU improved to 47-7 overall and 22-6 in the SEC, assuring the Tigers of single digit losses in the regular season.
The Tigers collected 10 hits in the game including four home runs, one of which was an inside-the-park home run by Raph Rhymes on his graduation day. In case you missed the flipped-out ending of that play, here's an animation of it posted by cfbsection. I didn't stay up late enough last night to see if it made SportCenter's Top-10, but it sure should have.
Cody Glenn (6-2) got the start for the Tigers and pitched seven strong innings to earn the win. Glenn had only given up five hits and no runs through six innings, but then gave up three consecutive hits and one run in the seventh before giving way to Joey Bourgeois who pitched a scoreless 8th. Will LaMarche pitched the ninth and allowed two hits but no runs. It was great to see Glenn continue to pitch well, and having three quality starters the caliber of Nola, Eades and Glenn will be a big boon for LSU in tournament play.
Here's a quick scoring recap of last night's game: Alex Bregman and Rhymes gave the Tigers an early 2-0 lead in the first inning with RBI hits. In the fourth, solo homers by Katz (his 14th homer and first since March 31) and Ibarra (his sixth homer) gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead. In the sixth, Rhymes hit his third homer of the season on the thrilling inside-the-park home run I mentioned earlier. The inside-the-park homer was LSU’s first since March 20, 2012 when Tyler Moore produced one against Southern in Alex Box Stadium. In the following inning, Sean McMullen launched a rocket of his own over the right-field wall, putting the Tigers in front 6-1. Tyler Moore gave the Tigers an insurance run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly to center.
Tonight's Game 2 will start at 7 p.m. and will be televised by Cox Sports Television. Prior to the game, LSU will honor its 1993 national championship team and designate the diamond at Alex Box Stadium as “Skip Bertman Field.” Kurt McCune will get the start on the mound for the Tigers while Aaron Nola is rested for the start of the SEC tournament.
Turning to football... with the start of LSU's season 106 days away, and the start of fall camp about 80 days away, expectations for the season seem to be considerably lower than last year at this time. But in retrospect, the sky-high expectations for last year's team were probably a bit unrealistic. After a couple of years of inconsistent and often frustrating quarterback play, Tiger Fans, myself included, were eager to believe that Zach Metterberger would make the Tigers unstoppable. And while Mettenberger didn't always live up to the lofty (read unrealistic) expectations, his season was not bad for a first year starter in the SEC. The good news is that he now has a very valuable year of experience under his belt and is getting better instruction than ever under the direction of Cam Cameron. And his receiving corps will be much better with Travin Dural and Quantavious Leslie joining the veteran returning starters. Add to that a deep and improved offensive line, a healthy Alfred Blue, and a leaner and meaner Kenny Hilliard, things looks very bright for the LSU offense. And if Jeremy Hill does in fact return to the team, look out. This Tiger offense could be the best it's been in years.
The biggest concerns for this year's team, unlike last year's, are on the defensive side of the ball. There's been a lot of talk about the challenge of replacing Sam Montgomery and Keke Mingo at the ends, but I'm not overly concerned there. Jermauria Rasco, Danielle Hunter, Jordan Allen, Kendal Beckwith, Frank Herron - these are all very talented athlete very capable of stepping in filling those big shoes. My bigger concern has been in replacing Kevin Minter at middle linebacker, but with all the underclassmen from the linebacker-rich 2012 signing class, plus Lamin Barrow and D.J. Welter, Coach John Chavis has plenty to work with there. So I guess you could say that I'm feeling pretty optimistic about this year's team once again, and it really doesn't bother me at all that the national media might not feel the same.
Speaking of expectations, yesterday Athlon Sports featured LSU in its Top-25 Countdown and revealed that they've picked the Tigers to finish 12th in the nation. Here's a link to their Tigers team preview and all related features, including their list of the 10 Greatest LSU Tigers since 1967, and their Five Greatest Moments in LSU Football History.
In basketball news, there have been multiple reports of Malik Morgan requesting a release from the LSU basketball team. As of now, there has been no official confirmation of this from LSU. The 6'4" guard from John Curtis started in 14 games last season and scored in double digits three times. Possible destinations for Morgan, as stated in this article by Nola.com, include Tulane, Oklahoma and TCU.
In women's basketball news, hats off to Nikki Caldwell for the second year in a row LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell has been chosen to represent the United States as an assistant coach for the 2013 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team. Last year, Caldwell became the first LSU head coach to serve on a USA Basketball U19 World Championship staff, and in her two seasons with the Lady Tigers she has compiled a 45-23 record and led the team to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. In 2012, LSU reached the NCAA second round and the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game. A year later, the Lady Tigers improved that mark by reaching their first Sweet 16 since 2008.
Congratulations are also in order LSU softball’s A.J. Andrews, Bianka Bell and Rachele Fico for being named to the NFCA All-South team. Andrews and Fico made the first team, while Bell came away a second team selection.
These three ladies and the rest of the No. 9 seeded LSU softball team will begin NCAA Tournament play tonight at 6 p.m. versus Central Connecticut State, the Northeast Conference champion, as part of a four-team running from Friday to Sunday at Tiger Park.
Reader comments: LSU hosted the best 1st grade field trip in history! Check out the story and pics on CBSSports.com.
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