NCAA Baseball Championships:
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6/1/14 6:05 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU baseball team took care of business last night with an impressive 5-1 win over Houston to advance to the regional final. With the victory, LSU extended its winning streak to 10 games, and in those 10 games the Tigers have outscored opponents 100-13. If that’s not smoking hot, I don’t know what is.
Once again, Aaron Nola was spectacular. The junior right-hander from Baton Rouge worked 7.1 strong innings and allowed one run on only four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. After a rough three-hit second inning in which Nola worked out of a bases-loaded jam to limit the damage to one run, Nola settled in and pitched remarkably the rest of the game, retiring 17 of the last 18 batters he faced. Zac Person and Joe Broussard combined for the final 1.2 innings and didn’t allow a run. With the win, Nola improved to 11-1 on the season and moved into fifth place on the all-time school pitching victories list, where he’s tied at the 30-win mark with Pat Moock (1972-75), Chad Ogea (1989-91) and Mike Sirotka (1990-93).
The Tigers collected 12 hits in the game, marking the ninth time in the last ten games the Tigers have surpassed the 10-hit mark. Andrew Stevenson had a big night at the plate and led the team in hits with three in four at-bats. Sean McMullen ended 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, and Conner Hale collected two hits with two RBI.
Here are video highlights of the game, and the following is a brief scoring summary: LSU got on the board in the top of the second on a double by McMullen and an RBI single by Hale. Houston tied it in the bottom half of the second with a bunt single, a pair of groundouts and an RBI single to centerfield. Another single and a walk loaded the bases and put Nola in a bit of a jam, but he got out of it without further damage thanks to a beautiful diving catch by Alex Bregman in foul territory. In the next frame, Mark Laird walked, moved to third on a one-out single, and scored on an RBI single by McMullen. A single by Hale scored McMullen to extend LSU's lead to 3-1. The Tigers added two runs in the seventh to make it 5-1 on a single by Christian Ibarra, a walk by Kramer Robertson, and back-to-back RBI singles by Laird and Bregman.
The Tigers will return to action tonight at 7 p.m. against the winner of today’s 2 p.m. game between Southeastern Louisiana and Houston. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.com and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network. The Tigers can win the Regional and advance to Super Regional action with a victory tonight. A loss would force an elimination game tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Kyle Bouman is expected to get the start for LSU in tonight’s game.
In football recruiting news, LSU picked up a huge commitment from running back Derrius Guice during yesterday’s Bayou Picnic event. Guice (5’11”, 219, Catholic of Baton Rouge) is No. 3 on our list of Top Louisiana Football Prospects, and with his pledge LSU now has 12 commitments for 2015. With Leonard Fournette and Darrell Williams from the 2014 signing class, and verbals from Guice, Nick Brosette and David Ducre for 2015, the future of LSU’s offensive backfield looks very bright. Here are Guice’s video highlights.
In other football news, multiple news outlets are reporting that quarterback Hayden Rettig has decided to transfer from LSU. Rettig came to LSU as a highly-touted four-star recruit out of California, but found himself a distant third on the depth chart after redshirting as a true freshman. Considering that LSU appears set on using a dual-threat quarterback that can hurt opponents with his mobility as well as his arm strength, as opposed to a pro-style pocket passer, Rettig’s departure doesn’t come as a big surprise. I know I speak for the Tiger Nation when I wish Rettig the best of luck wherever he ends up.
Now let’s continue our countdown to the start of LSU football which is only 90 days away by remembering the year 1990. The year marked Mike Archer’s final season as LSU head coach, and although his team struggled for most of the season and ended 5-6, Archer did pull off a big victory against bitter rival Texas A&M. In that game, the Tigers rode the back of Todd Kinchen to defeat the Aggies 17-8 at home.
The Tiger and Aggies entered the second half in a scoreless tie before LSU struck first blood with a field goal in the third quarter. Then Kinchen took over for LSU. He started by taking a punt to the house, and then he turned a short pass into a long touchdown to help LSU pull away. The victory would be the last time LSU defeated A&M in the ‘90s, as Texas A&M won the next five encounters. The LSU - A&M rivalry was renewed in the 2011 Cotton Bowl when the Tigers defeated the Aggies 41-24. Texas A&M joined the SEC the following season, and despite possessing the most athletic quarterback in college football (Johnny Manziel), the Tigers beat the Aggies in back-to-back seasons. LSU currently leads the series against Texas A&M, 29-20-3.
To go along with that remarkable performance from Kinchen, how about another special “90 performance?” Remember the name Ricky Jean-Francois, the Tiger who wore No. 90 in the 2007 National Championship Game? His biggest game came on the biggest stage of the season that year, as he was named MVP of the 2007 BCS National Championship for his six tackles, one-half sack and blocked field goal in the 38-24 victory. After his time as a Tiger, Jean-Francois was selected in 2009 as a 7th round draft pick by the 49ers, and last year he signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Tiger fans will likely remember Francois not only for his play, but for his “Peanut Butter Jelly Dance,” which was a big hit with 49er fans.
Reader Comments: Scott, in this article Brandon Harris says he’s 100 times better and 20 pounds heavier than in the spring: LSU QB Brandon Harris is '100 times better' as summer workouts approach
5/31/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Whoa! What a game as LSU came from behind to defeat Southeastern Louisiana 8-4 thanks to a six-run rally in the last two innings. Although the game didn’t go as expected and the Tigers found themselves trailing 4-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh, you’ve got to hand it to the Tigers for stepping up their game when it mattered most and taking advantage of a few Southeastern errors to come away with the win.
Jared Poché got the start for the Tigers and allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. As the freshman lefty said after the game, he struggled with his put away pitches and left a couple of curveballs up in the zone. The Lions made him pay with eight hits including two home runs. While it clearly wasn’t Poché’s best outing (the eight hits were the most he’s allowed all season), there were some bright spots in his performance, like in the second inning when he courageously worked out of a jam after giving up a single and double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Zac Person and Nate Fury worked the final three innings and were outstanding. Together they retired the last nine batters in order.
The Tigers collected 14 hits in the game and were led at the plate by Tyler Moore, Mark Laird, Jake Fraley and Sean McMullen. Moore continued his hot hitting and ended the day with three hits in four at-bats, including the game-tying RBI single in the seventh. Laird went 3-for-5 while Fraley went 2-for-5. McMullen ended the day 1-for-4 with three RBI, two of which came on a home run that highlighted the Tigers’ four-run eighth inning.
Here’s a quick scoring summary: SLU jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a two-out solo homer in the first inning. The Tigers evened the score in the bottom of the second when Moore walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a groundout and scored on another wild pitch. LSU took the lead for the first time, 2-1, when McMullen grounded out with runners on second and third in the bottom of the third inning. SLU scored the first of three unanswered runs in the top of the fifth with a one-out RBI single and an RBI double. In the sixth, SLU added two runs on another homer off Poche' to go ahead 4-2. In the bottom of the seventh, Alex Bregman was hit by a pitch and Sean McMullen walked with one out. Kade Scivicque poked a single past the shortstop and Bregman scored on a fielding error by the leftfielder. After a pitching change, Moore singled to left field to score McMullen and knot the game at 4-4. In the bottom of the eighth, Christian Ibarra reached second on a chopper when SLU’s catcher over-threw first base. Laird's third single of the game put runners on the corners, and Ibarra scored when the SLU pitcher made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt. With a 5-4 lead, Laird scored when Bregman grounded out to the shortstop. Fraley kept the rally alive with a single that was fielded by the first baseman before it could roll foul, and McMullen made the Lions pay for the mistake with a two-run homer to left-center field.
With the win, LSU advanced in the winner’s bracket where they’ll face Houston today at 7 p.m. Houston beat Bryant last night, 3-2 in 10 innings. Aaron Nola (10-1, 1.49 ERA) will get the start for LSU tonight, while Houston will counter with junior right-hander Aaron Garza (8-4, 2.65 ERA). As noted before, the only live video coverage of the Baton Rouge Regional games will be online at ESPN3.
One more note about yesterday’s regional action: In a huge upset, the No. 1 ranked UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns were shutout by Jackson State, 1-0. As Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game tweeted after the game, the loss marked one of the biggest upsets in NCAA postseason history.
In football news, LSU will be entertaining several top recruits today for its annual Bayou Picnic. Many of the Tigers top targets are expected to attend the event, including several highly recruited out-of-state prospects and in-state sensations like WR Tyron Johnson, RB Derrius Guice, WR Kirk Merritt, CB Xavier Lewis, OL Grant Burguillos, and ATH Donte Jackson. I wouldn’t be surprised to see LSU land a commitment or two today, and if any news breaks I’ll be sure to let you know.
Now let’s conclude today’s update by continuing our countdown to the start of LSU football which is only 91 days away.
Come September, the LSU Tigers will be playing their 91st season in Tiger Stadium. That’s right, the Tigers have ruled Death Valley for 91 years, and classic encounters such as the 1959 Ole Miss game on Halloween night, the 1988 Earthquake game against Auburn, and the 2007 confrontation with Florida have made it one of the greatest landmarks in sports for nearly a century.
When the Tigers run out of the tunnel and onto this legendary field for the 91st season, No. 91 on the Tigers will be one of the major keys for success. Without Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson in the middle, Christian LaCouture has a very important role this fall. LaCouture was a highly sought after recruit that made his way to LSU after committing to Texas A&M and venturing off to Nebraska before having a change of heart. LaCouture totaled 11 tackles and one sack last year in a backup role.
As backups last year, LaCouture and Quintin Thomas are the only returning defensive tackles who saw meaningful action last season. As of now, those two look to be locks for starting roles this year, although several other Tigers will have something to say about that.
Others in contention for a starting role of considerable playing time as a backup include Greg Gilmore, Maquedius Bain, Mickey Johnson and true freshman Travonte Valentine. Add to the mix incoming freshmen Trey Lealaimatafao and Davon Godchaux and its easy to see that defensive line coach Brick Haley will have a lot of talent to work with.
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