4/16/15 5:55 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
We’ll start today’s update with this news on the basketball front: Coach Johnny Jones announced yesterday that John Treloar, who served on the LSU staff from 2004-08, will be returning to LSU as Jones’ associate coach. Treloar is presently finishing his fifth season as the Director of Player Personnel for the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, and therefore will not join the LSU staff officially until July 1 when he will have concluded his duties for Phoenix and the preparation for the June NBA draft. A 33-year veteran of basketball as a coach or manager, Treloar has extensive experience in the NCAA and in the professional ranks, and seems to be an ideal hire. There’s a lot more you need to read about Treloar, including his prior success at LSU and Indiana, but rather than including it here I encourage you to read this press release sent out by LSU, which I’ve posted in its entirety.
In baseball news, LSU improved to 32-6 on the season with an impressive 11-2 win over Lamar. After cooling a bit at the plate against Auburn, the Tigers’ bats heated up in a 13-hit outing highlighted by four doubles and two home runs. More impressive than the 13 hits was the fact that LSU went 7-of-16 with runners in scoring position. 17 Tigers stepped up to the plate, and 10 collected at least one hit, including pitcher Collin Strall who lined an RBI single in the 8th. (LSU pitchers are batting 1.000 on the season, 2-for-2.) Chris Chinea led all Tigers offensively by going 2-for-2 with a double, a home run and four RBI. Andrew Stevenson also swung the bat very well and ended 3-for-4 with a double.
Kyle Bouman (1-1) got the start and the win for the Tigers, turning in his longest outing of the season. Bowman lasted five innings and allowed one run (a solo homer) on five hits with three strikeouts. Six relief pitchers saw action in the game, including walk-on Ryan May. The fact that LSU sent a walk-on pitcher to the mound and a pitcher to the plate tells you what kind of night it was.
Here are the game’s video highlights and boxscore.
Next up for the Tigers is a three-game road series at Georgia. After last night’s game, Coach Mainieri announced that freshman right-hander Alex Lange will move into the Friday night spot this weekend. If things go as planned, Jared Poché will get the Saturday start and Austin Bain will start on Sunday, although Mainieri said there’s a chance Poché could come out of the bullpen Friday night, if needed. If that happens, Bain would get bumped up to Saturday and Poché would pitch Sunday.
The No. 3 ranked LSU softball team (39-5) also came away with a dominant win, 13-4 over the Cowgirls of McNeese State. Eight different Tigers produced at least one hit in the game, and the team drew a season-high 10 walks. Finishing with multiple hits on the night were Bailey Landry who went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored, Bianka Bell who went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Sahvanna Jaquish who went 2-for-2 with a double and run scored, and Sandra Simmons who went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and two walks. The hit of the night was a grand slam by junior outfielder Alayna Falcon, her first ever home run as a Tiger.
Now let’s switch gears and continue our brief series on What to Look For in this Saturday’s LSU Football Spring Game. We’ll go with parts 4 and 5 today, and then we’ll add another two or three parts before the game. If you missed the first three installments, you can catch up by following the links below. Here we go…
What to look for in this Saturday’s Spring Game?
Part 4: Who is most likely to fill the cornerback spot opposite of White?
Perhaps the best competition this spring has been Ed Paris battling Kevin Toliver II. It’s a good thing too with Jalen Collins entering the NFL draft and Rashard Robinson struggling to find his way back onto the field. Les Miles has said that Paris, who recorded three tackles last season as a true freshman, has gained more confidence and seems to be in a position to contribute greatly this season. Meanwhile, true freshman Toliver, the headline recruit of the 2015 class, showed up to LSU with intentions of playing immediately.
LSU wide receivers Travin Dural, Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and D.J. Chark will likely be split amongst the teams in Saturday’s scrimmage, and all four wide receivers should present a tough test for Toliver and Paris in the spring game. Will Toliver showcase why he’s believed to be the next great defensive back at LSU, or will it be Paris who turns heads with a shutdown performance? Hopefully the answer is both.
Part 5: No Hunter, no Rasco. Who’s to wreak havoc?
Replacing a duo that combined for 20.5 tackles for loss last season is a daunting task. That’s the task facing LSU when the Tigers look to replace Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco. The top contenders to replace them at defensive end in a 4-3 set appear to be Tashawn Bower, Lewis Neal and Sione Teuhema.
Bower, who looks to be more physically imposing than he was last year, has been joined by Neal in working with the first string defense. Neal, who has stayed at around 258 pounds despite LSU trying to transform him into a defensive tackle last year, is a natural defensive end with a lot of potential. Teuhema is not to be forgotten, though, as he, like Bower, gained experience last season with prominent playing time.
An interesting twist this year is that LSU will likely play the 3-4 set (three D-linemen and four linebackers) quite a bit, which is something Coach Steele did at Alabama. In this formation, look for Davon Godchaux to be one of the principal pass rushers wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
From earlier in this series:
Part 1: What does the team look like without its MVP?
Part 2: Steele Dominant on Defense?
Part 3: New Faces at Fullback
In other football news, Coach Miles and his staff are gearing up for a very important weekend in recruiting. For Saturday’s Spring Game, the staff will host a very impressive group of visitors, including seven of LSU’s commitments for 2016 (everyone except for QB Feliepe Franks) and both of LSU’s 2017 commits. Also visiting will be 20-30 of LSU’s top targets, including linebackers Keion Joyner of North Carolina and instate sensation Michael Divinity of John Ehret High School. For a comprehensive list of who is expected in, see this article by my friend Jimmy Smith of nola.com. Now, before any of you panic about Feliepe Franks not attending the game, that’s just because his brother’s spring game at UCF (University of Central Florida) is same day. His brother, Jordan Franks, is UFC’s starting safety. From all indications, Franks’s commitment is very solid and he has said that he would like to play baseball and football at LSU.
Two tidbits in closing:
• Congratulations are in order for former Tiger great Mikie Mahtook. Last night he collected his first hit in the big leagues for the Tampa Bay Rays and it was a home run! Here’s the video. Way to geaux, Mikie!
• LSU lost a great Tiger last week. Felix Holmes “Buddy” Lee, who played quarterback for LSU in 1968-70, passed away in Florida on April 10 after a lengthy illness at the age of 67. I know I speak for the Tiger Nation when I offer my most sincere condolences to the Lee family.