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LSU vs. Wisconsin - August 30, 2014 - 8:00 P.M. Kickoff (ESPN)
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4/30/14 5:50 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

In a game the LSU baseball team was expected to win handily, the Fighting Tigers had to come from behind in the eighth inning to defeat Alcorn State, 9-7. This was one of those so-called “tune-up games” where a lot of young non-starters are expected to play and come away with a win, and while that ended up being the case it sure didn’t go as planned. Coach Mainieri started six reserves but ended up replacing all of them by the seventh inning in order to overcome a five-run deficit.

Five LSU pitchers saw action in the game and gave up a whopping 16 hits, the most allowed by a Tiger team in a non-conference game since 2009. Henri Faucheux was hit the hardest and allowed five earned runs on six hits in one inning of action after replacing Parker Bugg who got the start for the Tigers. Bugg worked two scoreless innings and allowed two hits. Kyle Bouman allowed one run on six hits in three innings of work. Nate Fury, who was credited with the win, allowed one run on two hits in two innings of work. Brady Domangue held the Braves hitless and scoreless in the final inning and was credited with the save.

LSU only collected eight hits in the game, and eight of its nine runs were batted in on three homers. Trailing 6-1 in the sixth, Jake Fraley was inserted as a pinch hitter and once again proved to be the spark the Tigers needed, as he launched a three-run homer to pull the Tigers within two. In the eighth inning, a pair of clutch two-out homers - a two-run shot by Tyler Moore followed by a three-run broomstick by Connor Hale - put the Tigers ahead 9-7. Here are video highlights of the game.

I have to tip my hat to Alcorn State (8-37) for living up to their namesake and playing without any trepidation against the sixth ranked Tigers in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The Braves played their hearts out and nearly came away with what would have been one of their biggest wins in program history and one of LSU’s most humiliating losses.

The Tigers will return to action Friday when they travel to College Station, Texas to face Texas A&M beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. All three games of the series will be televised. Game 1 will be on the CBS Sports Network, Game 2 will be on ESPN2 at 12 p.m., and Game 3 will be on ESPNU at 1 p.m. Fans can also listen to the game on the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 in Baton Rouge).

In other baseball news, Jake Fraley was named SEC Freshman of the Week yesterday for his outstanding play last week. Fraley, a product of Middletown, Delaware, hit .533 (8-for-15) in the Tigers’ four games last week with two doubles, six RBI, three runs, one stolen base and a .529 on base-percentage. In LSU’s SEC series victory over Tennessee, Fraley batted .455 (5-for-11) with two doubles, three RBI, three runs, one steal and a .462 on-base percentage. Fraley didn’t let up any yesterday and extended his hitting streak to six consecutive games on his pinch hit 2-RBI homer in the sixth.

A few football-related tidbits in closing:

For those of you who like to keep up with LSU’s future football scheduling, here’s an article stating that LSU has canceled its future football series vs. the NC State Wolfpack. LSU was supposed to host NC State on Sept. 9, 2017 and travel to face the Wolfpack on Sept. 12, 2020, but decided to cancel the series because of the new SEC future scheduling format that was revealed Sunday.

And here’s a really terrific article by Sports Illustrated about LSU signee Leonard Fournette that you should read if you haven’t already. Be sure to also view the accompanying video, which has been added to our Media Gallery.

Speaking of our Media Gallery, yesterday I added a NOLA.com video of Trai Turner interviewing Anthony “Freak” Johnson. At the end of the interview, Turner gets Johnson to show off his pipes by singing a draft song. The guy can really sing! Click here to hear for yourself.

Reader Comments: Scott, you talked about Brandon Harris, and many fans’ "concern" about lack of experience at the QB position this year… well, let me please remind you & all the readers about Bill Arnsparger - when he had the same situation - he had a QB with little playing experience & a freshman with "zero" playing experience… Micky Guidry & Tommy Hodson… and as legend goes, Tommy won that battle - and Micky got one or two possessions a game so Coach Arnsparger could coach Tommy in game-time situations. Just thought I would "remind" you about that… and if Brandon Harris is all he is put-up to be, we might have the QB to take us "over the hump" to be able to beat Bama & go for a National Championship again!… it's almost scary about how Hodson's team (strong OL, #1 RB recruit from previous year, and some decent WRs, turned into a pretty decent year!) is very similar to this year’s team!

4/29/14 5:45 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans. Before getting on with my normal order of business, I’d like to thank all of you who responded so kindly to the personal message I posted yesterday about the second anniversary of my father’s passing, and about my weekend fishing trip. It was great to hear from so many of you.

After winning three out of four games last week, including two out of three against Tennessee, the LSU baseball team now finds itself as high as No. 5 in the polls. In Perfect Game’s rankings, the Tigers climbed from No. 6 to No. 5. In the USA Today Coaches’ poll, the Tigers remained at No. 6. In Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball’s rankings, the Tigers climbed one spot to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. LSU has now appeared in the top-10 of a major college baseball poll for 46 consecutive weeks.

After closing out the month of March with four straight losses, the LSU baseball team has rebounded very well and is currently 13-3 during the month of April. One reason for the team’s success is outstanding pitching (LSU leads the nation in shutout wins with 13, which is also a school record), and another is that LSU has been swinging the bat much better lately. At the end of March, Alex Bregman and many of the team’s veterans were slumping at the plate, and we were all hoping for someone to step up big and provide a spark on offense. A few players did just that. The ones who first comes to mind are freshman Jake Fraley, sophomore Mark Laird and junior Connor Hale, but it should also be noted that Bregman has been steadily returning to form at the plate. At the end of March, Bregman was riding a 15-at-bat slump and was hitting .097 (4-for-41) in SEC play. In last week’s four games, Bregman hit .444 (8-for-18) with two doubles, three RBI and two runs.

The Tigers will look to continue their success when they take on Alcorn State tonight at 6:30. Coach Mainieri has stated that freshman right-hander Parker Bugg (2-1, 1.65 ERA, 27.1 IP, 4 BB, 24 SO) will get the start in tonight’s game.

Below is this week’s schedule and TV coverage:

April 29 (Tue.) – ALCORN STATE, 6:30 p.m. CT (No TV coverage)
May 2 (Fri.) – at Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m. CT (CBS Sports Network)
May 3 (Sat.) – at Texas A&M, 12 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
May 4 (Sun.) – at Texas A&M, 1 p.m. CT (ESPNU) 

In football news, we’ll conclude our seven-part series on players who saw their stock rise this spring in just a bit (below), but first I have to pass along some disappointing news...

According to reports, LSU redshirt freshman defensive end Frank Herron was arrested Monday for stealing a bicycle. Herron was issued a misdemeanor summons and released as the investigation continues. Roy Lang III of the Shreveport Times caught up with Coach Miles before the Tiger Tour function in Bossier City, and in Lang’s article he quotes Miles as saying, “He’s going to do community service. He’s going to sustain whatever the school would suggest. But the truth of the matter is that we are expecting to wear him out internally.”

Speaking of the TAF Tiger Tour, if you attended last night’s initial stop in Bossier City, please email me to let me know how it went. Tonight the tour will stop in West Monroe and Joe Alleva and Les Miles will be the featured speakers. Last night the two were joined by Johnny Jones and Nikki Caldwell. Below is the schedule for the entire tour.

LSU Tiger Athletic Foundation's 2014 Tiger Tour Schedule:

Mon., April 28 - Shreveport/Bossier - Joe Alleva, Les Miles, Johnny Jones, Nikki Caldwell
Tues., April 29 - Monroe - Joe Alleva, Les Miles
Thurs., May 1 - Houma - Joe Alleva, Les Miles, Johnny Jones, D-D Breaux
Wed., May 7 - Baton Rouge - John Chavis, Frank Wilson, Johnny Jones, Nikki Caldwell, D-D Breaux
Wed., May 14 - Houston - Joe Alleva, Les Miles, Johnny Jones, Nikki Caldwell, D-D Breaux
Sun., May 18 - New Orleans - Cam Cameron, Frank Wilson, D-D Breaux
Mon., May 19 - Alexandria - Joe Alleva, Les Miles, Johnny Jones, D-D Breaux
Tues., May 20 - Lafayette - Joe Alleva, Les Miles, Johnny Jones

For more information on the tour, please visit www.lsutigertour.com, the Tiger Athletic Foundation website at www.lsutaf.org.

Now let’s conclude our series on players who saw their stock rise this spring by looking at the one who made the biggest splash of all - true freshman quarterback Brandon Harris. Here we go…

Brandon Harris
(QB, 6-2, 184, Bossier City, Parkway HS) 

For recruits pondering the benefits of enrolling early, Brandon Harris is the perfect example of how beneficial it can be. Because he was on campus and competed, Brandon Harris is now a serious threat to gain LSU’s starting quarterback role. Anthony Jennings, who struggled at various times this spring with accuracy and technique, threw multiple interceptions in the spring game, which made Harris’ performance even more significant. Despite completing only 11-of-28 passes, Harris threw for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the contest. That, along with his success on the ground (77 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown) makes LSU’s quarterback position battle one of the most interesting position battles in the country this fall.

Harris’ raw technique was on display in the first spring practice as he struggled to get the ball out of his hand with the quickness desired by Coach Cam Cameron. To Harris’ credit, he battled and improved every day. While many in the fan-base are rightfully concerned about the lack of experience at quarterback, it would be a lot more worrisome without Cam Cameron coaching them up.

In the spring game, Harris showed off his natural abilities – a strong arm, quick feet and the knowledge to know when to run or pass. Harris’ greatest weakness at his point seems to be his accuracy on short-to-intermediate passes, but that should improve with great coaching and dedication toward honing his craft. Harris’ greatest strength is not his physical tools of being able to run and pass, but rather his ability to feel the pocket and understand when to exploit defenses with his legs. In my opinion, that’s a key advantage that Harris holds in the quarterback competition. Jennings struggled to get away from pressure against Iowa and had more problems with it in the spring.

The quarterback position battle is long from over, and although Harris gained tremendous momentum in the spring game, I can’t help but believe that he will have to separate himself further from Jennings in order to get the nod as the starter against a formidable Wisconsin team for the season opener. Whether or not he’s able to do so this summer is something we’ll all be watching with great anticipation.

Reader Comments: Scott, I was glad to see this letter from Athletic Director Joe Alleva about LSU night games. There’s nothing like a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

Reader Comments: I ran across this article this morning and wasn't sure if you had seen it. He says that Lorenzo Carter was an LSU lean up until a last minute talk with his family on signing day. Boy, that would have been huge!!! 

4/28/14 5:45 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Two years ago today, the Tiger Nation lost one of its greatest ambassadors, and I lost the greatest man I've ever known. Those of you who’ve followed the site for a while know that I'm referring to my father, Donald “Dandy Don” Long, for whom this site is named. Over the weekend, my two brothers, my nephew, and my niece’s husband and two sons, honored my Dad by getting together on the banks of his favorite river for our annual camping trip. We enjoyed each other’s company, caught a few fish, and listened to the LSU baseball game while sitting around the campfire. I’ve posted a few photos of the fish we caught in our Media Gallery’s Lagniappe section for those of you who are interested.

In football recruiting news, LSU picked up its 10th commitment for the class of 2015 yesterday in offensive guard Adrian Magee of Franklinton. Magee (6’5”, 315) is ranked No. 13 on our list of Top Louisiana Prospects for the Class of 2015 and chose LSU over offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech. A few days ago I wrote that offensive linemen were a big priority for LSU and that Adrian Magee was one of Coach Miles’ biggest in-state targets. Landing Magee is a great addition to LSU’s 2015 recruiting class which is currently 5th in the nation according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. Here are Magee’s video highlights.

The LSU baseball team defeated Tennessee yesterday, 9-4, to secure its fourth consecutive SEC series win. Freshman right-hander Allen Cartwright got the start on the mound for the Tigers and lasted two innings while allowing one run on three hits with two walks and no strikeouts. Even though LSU’s Game 3 starting pitching remains a big concern for the Tigers, the good news is that LSU has a very deep and talented bullpen that Coaches Mainieri and Dunn can string together to get the job done, as they did yesterday. In fact, depth at pitching was probably one of the main reasons LSU was able to come away with a win in yesterday’s game.

Once again, LSU was led at the plate by Connor Hale who went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Sean McMullen went 2-for-4. Mark Laird and Alex Bregman each went 2-for-5 with an RBI. The Tigers collected nine hits in the game, matching the total of a Tennessee team that Coaches Mainieri and Dunn call the best offensive team they’ve played all season.

The following is a quick scoring summary, and here are video highlights of the game. As they did in the first two game, Tennessee jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning. Their leadoff batter singled, and then a sacrifice bunt, passed ball, and sacrifice fly drove him home to give the Vols a 1-0 lead. LSU tied the game in the second on a double by DH Sean McMullen, a groundout, and a sacrifice fly by Hale. The Volunteers regained the lead in the top of the fourth on a two-out RBI bloop single. LSU responded in the bottom of the inning with an RBI groundout by Jake Fraley and an RBI infield single by Hale. In the fifth inning, LSU extended the lead to 4-2 when Laird scored on a wild pitch. The Volunteers tied the game 4-4 in the eighth inning on a leadoff double, an error by Fraley, an infield single and a sacrifice fly. LSU erupted for five runs in the eighth on a walk by Fraley, and RBI by Fraley (his third of the game), and a well executed squeeze bunt by Christian Ibarra.

With the win, the Tigers improved to (33-11-1, 12-8-1) and moved to within a half-game of Alabama and Ole Miss in the SEC West standings.

Now jumping back to football, let’s continue our series on players who saw their stock rise this spring by looking at Travin Dural. So far we’ve looked at Danielle Hunter, Evan Washington, Ronnie Feist and DeSean Smith, and tomorrow we’ll conclude the series with… you guess it… Brandon Harris.

Travin Dural
(6-2, 182, Breaux Bridge)

If we learned anything about the wide receiver position this spring, it’s that Travin Dural is head and shoulders above the present competition. While John Diarse and Quantavius Leslie showed flashes of athleticism, Dural was the constant producer at the position.

At times this spring, it felt like Dural wasn’t competing against those around him but was marking his territory for when the young, athletic receivers emerge this fall. Along with the quarterback position, all eyes will be on Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn the next time these Tigers suit up to see how they translate at the next level. With Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham journeying toward the NFL, the door is wide open for Dupre and Quinn to stake their claim as freshmen starters. However, don’t expect them to roll over Dural, who brings with him the experience of being in his third year at LSU. When Dural arrived in 2012, many expected him to contribute right away, but instead he redshirted as a true freshman because of a knee injury he suffered during preseason practice.

What Dural displayed in the spring was his great athleticism, which allows him to leap in the air and snag balls away from defenders. That ability, combined with his 6’2” height, makes him an important target within the red zone. In fact, one of Dural’s touchdowns last season came in the red zone against Alabama when he reeled in a reception toward the back of the end zone. Look for more of that this season. Dupre and Quinn could be stellar freshmen for the Tigers this season, but as it stands right now, Dural is the focal point of the passing game at wide receiver. He reminded everyone of that this spring.

I’ll leave you today with a link to this article about the SEC voting to maintain the current eight-game football scheduling format with an added strength-of-schedule component: SEC football sticking with eight-game format, permanent cross division foes

 

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