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LSU vs. BYU - September 2nd, 8:30 PM CT
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5/17/17 5:45 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

In a game where five Tiger runs were scored on three homers, LSU defeated Northwestern State 9-3 in the final mid-week game of the regular season. With the win, LSU improved to 36-17 on the season and continued to build momentum heading into this weekend’s huge series against Mississippi State. LSU has now won four consecutive games and nine of its last 11, calling to mind the expression, “Getting hot at the right time.”

While the offensive fireworks were nice, the real highlight of the game was the pitching of freshman Todd Peterson. I wrote yesterday that a strong performance by Peterson would likely earn him a spot as the Tigers’ fourth starter in tournament play. Well, after seeing him in action last night, I suspect that role is his. Peterson turned in his best outing of the season with five economical innings of four-hit ball with five strikeouts and only one walk. LSU would go on to pitch seven different pitchers in the final four innings with mostly good results. The only one of the group who allowed a run was freshman Will Reese who faced just three batters but gave up two earned runs on a leadoff walk and a one-out homer. Aside from Reese’s rough patch, it was a solid night for LSU’s pitching.

Offensively, the Tigers collected 14 hits on the night and were led by Kramer Robertson who went 4-for-5 with a homer and two doubles. Anchored by Robertson’s success, the Tigers’ top of the order – Robertson, Freeman, and Duplantis – hit a combined 7-for-11 with a pair of RBI. Clean-up hitter Greg Deichmann chipped in two RBI on an extremely hard-hit (114.8 MPH off the bat) two-run homer, his 17th dinger of the season. LSU’s other homer in the game, also a two-run shot, came from freshman Zach Watson who’s been on fire of late. While dishing out props, I would be remiss to leave out Michael Papierski and Nick Coomes who each had two hits on the night. Those two guys, along with Watson, have been hugely instrumental in the Tigers’ success the last few weeks.  

Here are LSU’s video highlights and the complete boxscore.

With last night’s game in the books, every one of the Tigers’ remaining games will have a championship at stake. Next up, LSU faces Andy Cannizzaro’s Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville for the final SEC series of the season with an SEC West Championship on the line. That series gets underway tomorrow (Thursday) at 6 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. After that, it’s the SEC Tournament which kicks off Tuesday in Hoover. Buckle up, Tiger Fans, things are about to get real and LSU is in prime position to make this season the special season we thought it would be back in February. It’s a great time to be a Tiger!

Oh, one more baseball note: Many of you are probably wondering about the status of Greg Deichmann who was assisted off the field with an apparent knee injury after tripping over the first baseman in the eighth inning. The good news is that Deichmann is fine. According to reports, he said after the game that he was 100% and could have played in the ninth inning if needed. 

Turning to football, congratulations are in order for former LSU tight end DeSean Smith who was signed by the Carolina Panthers yesterday. Smith participated as a tryout player in Carolina’s rookie camp and impressed enough to make the roster. I couldn’t be happier for him. You might recall that Smith and Trey Quinn made up the best pass-catching duo in the state in 2011 when they played together at Barbe High School. We at DandyDon had huge expectations for both of those players at LSU, and I think it’s safe to say that neither was able to fully shine as Tigers for one reason or another. Here’s wishing Smith the brightest of careers as a Panther.

In recruiting news, it’s no secret that running back and wide receiver are the two biggest positions of need in LSU’s 2018 class, and there’s some news to pass along about the later. According to SEC Country, LSU and Florida State lead for four-star receiver Joshua Moore (6-0, 170, IMG Academy). Why? Because those are the only two schools who have offered him the possibility to participate in both football and track and field. LSU offered him a track scholarship yesterday afternoon. He is expected to announce his school of choice one month from tomorrow, on June 18th. 

One more recruiting brief: LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada reportedly was in Atlanta yesterday to visit with Justin Fields, one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2018 class. Fields has been committed to Penn State for a while and has said recently that his commitment is firm, but that hasn’t stopped LSU and a host of other schools including Georgia and Florida from pursuing him. 

Closing tidbits: 

• Here’s a good Q&A with LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda by The Advocate: LSU DC Dave Aranda on how heavily he'll rely on incoming freshmen, his scheme change in Year 2, Grant Delpit and Devin White

• And in this article by the Advocate, Ross Dellenger writes about something that Joe Alleva has been telling crowds during this year’s Tiger Tour stops: That major changes could be coming to the PMAC: Architects planning major renovations to 'modernize' LSU's PMAC

Lastly, a tidbit on LSU pass rusher extraordinaire Arden Key. Yesterday he posted this video of himself working on an agility drill with a caption that read, “One more week until I'm back in the lab!!”

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5/16/17 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

IT’S TIME FOR TUESDAY’S TIDBITS: Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Baker’s Dozen Quick-Hitters

1. LSU football landed a big commitment yesterday when former Texas Tech wide receiver Jonathan Giles (5-11, 185) committed to LSU. Giles had 69 catches for 1,158 yards & 13 touchdowns last season and is a great get. Per NCAA transfer rules, he will sit out the 2017 season and then have two years of eligibility. Giles joins defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko, a former five-star recruit, as the second Texas Tech transfer to commit to LSU.

2. After sweeping Auburn in dominant fashion, the LSU baseball team climbed considerably in the weekly polls. LSU now checks in as high as No. 5 in Collegiate Baseball’s top-25 and no lower than No. 10 in rankings by D1Baseball and Baseball America. Consensus top-10, baby!

3. More important than the Tigers’ rise in the polls was their rise in the SEC standings. With the sweep, LSU moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC West with a one-game lead over Mississippi State, who the Tigers will face this weekend with a divisional title on the line. LSU is also in contention for the SEC overall title, as the Tigers are just one game behind SEC East leader Florida. 

4. Before the huge series in Starkville, LSU will play its last midweek game of the regular season today at 6:30 p.m. when the Tigers host the Demons of Northwestern State. Coach Mainieri will send freshman right-hander Todd Peterson to the mound today and will let him go as long as he’s effective. With a strong outing, Peterson could earn himself the role of fourth starter in postseason play.

Here’s this week’s baseball schedule and coverage:

May 16 (Tue.) –  NORTHWESTERN ST, 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
May 18 (Thu.) –  at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
May 19 (Fri.) –  at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
May 20 (Sat.) – at Mississippi State, 3:30 p.m. CT (ESPNU) 

5. A huge part of LSU’s success against Auburn was the Tigers’ exceptional starting pitching. Get this: In the three-game series, Alex Lange, Jared Poché and Eric Walker combined to post an ERA of just 0.76, which is simply incredible. Highlighting the staff’s exceptional weekend was Lange’s complete-game shutout, which made him the first LSU pitcher to record back-to-back complete games since Aaron Nola recorded four in 2013. For his efforts, Lange was named SEC Pitcher of the Week.

6. Another big part of the LSU’s success was its offensive production from the bottom of the order. Freshman centerfielder Zack Watson, batting in the eight-hole, led LSU’s offensive effort by batting .545 (6-for-11) with one homer, two RBI and two runs. Junior catcher Michael Papierski, batting in the nine-hole, hit .400 (2-for-5) in three games with two homers, five RBI, three runs, three walks, two sacrifice bunts and a .625 on-base percentage.

7. One more baseball brief – Bryce Jordan took batting practice yesterday for the first time since injuring his knee in early February and having surgery a few days later. Asked if Jordan could return to action in NCAA Tournament play, Coach Mainieri reportedly replied, “Never know.”  

8. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron spoke during the SEC Coaches Teleconference yesterday and opened up about the quarterback competition. “Danny has practiced with the first team. Nobody has beaten him out yet. Guys are very close," Orgeron said. “We still haven't seen Myles Brennan. Danny’s a guy who can go into the game, manage the game, make the short throws, make the checks, be a leader out there, have great pocket awareness. Those are the things we want him to do.” Orgeron also repeated that he is not a fan of the recently approved early signing period in football and said that he would be in favor of the proposed rule to allow players to participate in four games and still qualify for a redshirt.

9. NOLA.com reports that Saturday Down South writers Glenn Sattell and Andrew Olsen used ESPN's preseason 2017 Football Index to calculate which team has the toughest SEC football schedule. Their conclusion? LSU and Mississippi State are tied for that “honor.” What their calculations do not take into consideration, however, is the fact that LSU plays at Mississippi State this year, and LSU will be playing five SEC road games instead of four due to last year’s Florida rescheduling. Suffice it to say Coach O will have quite a challenge in his first full season at the helm. 

10. Big congratulations are in order for LSU women’s basketball legend Sylvia Fowles. It was announced yesterday that the former All-American and three-time Olympic gold medalist will have her No. 33 LSU jersey retired, which I think is fantastic. For more on why Fowles is so deserving of the honor, see this press release issued by LSU.

11. Mentioning Fowles reminds me to recognize another outstanding female LSU athlete – track and field star Rebekah Wales from West Monroe. This past weekend, Wales won the SEC javelin title for the second time in three years.

12. Nothing nearly official here, but according to a tweet by Indiana High School Basketball Scout Randall Johnston, LSU basketball coach Will Wade is expected to add another quality graduate transfer to his roster. Johnson tweeted that Wright State transfer guard Mark Alstork to LSU is a “done deal.” If true, this would be yet another very big get for Coach Wade. Alstork (6-5, 190) averaged 19 points per game for Wright State last year and would be eligible to play right away. Alstork visited LSU yesterday, but earlier reports indicate that he is expected to visit Louisville on May 17 and announce his decision on May 20.

13. Ok, now for today’s lagniappe. As those of you who follow on Twitter saw, last night I had what I called my “garden harvest steak night.” After harvesting a nice mess of small heirloom tomatoes (thanks to Robert Martin for the seeds!), I cooked up a few thin sirloin strip steaks using this method and sautéed the tomatoes in the garlic-infused pan drippings to serve on top. This was accompanied by homegrown snap beans, cucumbers, and a few of these new potatoes. I’ve posted a few pics of the garden and last night’s finished dish in case anyone’s interested. 



 

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