5/26/15 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
As many of you know by now, the LSU baseball team was named the No. 2 national seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament which gets underway this Friday. Like many of you I heard from yesterday, I feel like LSU was certainly deserving of the No. 1 seed, and it would have been nice to see LSU recognized as such for the first time in program history, but quite frankly it makes no difference at all. What’s important is that LSU is a top-8 National Seed, meaning the Tigers are guaranteed to host a Super Regional two weeks from now if they win their Regional this weekend.
The four teams participating in the Baton Rouge Regional are LSU (1), UNC Wilmington (2), Tulane (3) and Lehigh (4). I don’t know much about Lehigh and UNC Wilmington, but based on what little bit I’ve read about them, and on the way the bracket is setup, I think LSU received a pretty good draw. No. 4 Lehigh University is a private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and their Mountain Hawks baseball team made it to the NCAA tournament by winning the Patriot League tournament. They finished the season 25-29 overall, 12-8 in conference play and with an RPI of 239. No. 2 UNC Wilmington, on the other hand, seems like a more formidable opponent, having finished the season 39-16 overall, 18-6 in the conference play (Colonial Athletic Association), and with an RPI of 36. As for No. 3 Tulane, we’ve been playing them since 1893 and know them pretty well. LSU has won 13 of its last 16 meetings against the Green Wave, including a 6-0 win last month. What I really like about the tournament bracket is that if LSU wins this weekend’s double-elimination Regional, the Tigers would move on to face the winner of the Houston regional in the best-of-three Super Regional round, which could provide a chance to avenge last year's Regional loss to the Cougars. Of course, it could also pit LSU against UL-Lafayette who came in as a No. 3 seed in the Houston Regional.
A lot of you have asked who I think LSU will pitch this weekend in the Regional games. I know that Coach Mainieri would like to pitch Alex Lange on Saturday, assuming LSU wins Friday and is not faced with the necessity of winning four consecutive elimination games to make it out of the Regional. If things go as planned, I would expect to see either Austin Bain or Russell Reynolds on Friday, Lange on Saturday, Poché on Sunday, and Jack Wholestaff on Monday (if necessary).
Below is a look at the Baton Rouge Regional schedule, and here’s the complete NCAA Tournament bracket.
When the LSU team met to watch the NCAA Tournament bracket announcement on ESPNU, Coach Mainieri dished out postseason awards to two of his players. Below is a press release issued by LSU’s Sports Information Department about the honors.
SCIAMBRA, BREGMAN RECEIVE LSU POSTSEASON AWARDS
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Paul Mainieri honored on Monday two of his players – senior outfielder Chris Sciambra and junior shortstop Alex Bregman – during the Tigers’ postseason gathering at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The team met to watch the NCAA Tournament bracket announcement on ESPNU.
“These young men embody the mission of the LSU baseball program,” Mainieri said. “They strive for excellence in every endeavor, and they are tremendous representatives of our university and of our state. I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as their coach.”
Just before the tournament field was revealed, Sciambra received the Wally Pontiff Jr. Scholar Athlete Award. Pontiff was an all-SEC third baseman at LSU who played for the Tigers from 2000-02 and died tragically in 2002 due to a heart abnormality. The award was presented to Sciambra by Pontiff’s father, Wally Pontiff Sr.
Sciambra, a native of Baton Rouge, is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, and he earned his LSU degree in construction management earlier this month.
Sciambra was also named to the 2015 SEC Community Service Team for his outstanding participation in philanthropic events. He is batting .309 this season as the Tigers’ starting designated hitter with eight doubles, three triples, two homers, 24 RBI and 24 runs.
Legendary former LSU coach Skip Bertman then presented Bregman with the Skip Bertman Award, which goes to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of the LSU Baseball program. Bertman directed LSU to five national championships during his coaching tenure (1984-2001), and he served a highly successful seven-year term as athletic director.
Bregman, a native of Albuquerque, NM, is an candidate for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award and for the Brooks Wallace National Shortstop of the Year Award. A 2015 first-team all-SEC selection, he is hitting .329 this season with 22 doubles, three triples, nine homers, 47 RBI, 54 runs and 32 stolen bases.
Bregman, a first-team all-American and National Freshman of the Year in 2013, leads the SEC this season in stolen bases and doubles, and he is No. 4 in the league in runs scored and total bases (131).
We’ll close out today with a couple of football-related tidbits:
• Yesterday LSU entertained the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the nation for the Class of 2017 – Marvin Wilson. LSU offered the 6-4, 300-pounder from Bellaire, Texas a little less than a week ago, so to see him make it to campus so quickly is definitely a good sign for the Tigers. LSU already has a commitment from the nation’s No. 3 defensive tackle prospect for 2017, Tyler Shelvin.
• Before we know it, our 100-day countdown to the start of LSU’s football season will begin. Today is day 102, meaning I’ve got just two days to figure out what I’m going to do for this year’s countdown. Actually, I’m just kidding as I’ve already decided to continue the wide-open format we used last year – meaning the countdown will be a mix of historical tidbits, player jerseys, general trivia and the like. Basically, anything goes. If you have suggestions for any of the numbers, particularly numbers 90-100 since they’re quickly approaching, please let me know.