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4/14/18 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

If you watched the first three innings of last night’s 9-3 Tiger win over Tennessee, you saw just how good this LSU baseball team can be. And the next five innings weren’t too shabby, either. The Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on one swing of the bat when Beau Jordan launched a leadoff homer over the left field wall. That solo shot led to a three-run first, and the Tigers were just getting started. The hitting rampage continued in the next two innings with five runs on seven hits, including another leadoff homer in the second (by Jake Slaughter) and back-to-back homers to lead the third (one by Hunter Feduccia and another by Slaughter). By the time the fourth inning started, LSU led 8-0 and Zack Hess had faced the minimum number of batters possible through three scoreless, hitless innings. Folks, that’s about as dominating a start as you’ll ever see in an SEC contest, and it set the tone for a very enjoyable win.   

It’s hard to say what can lead a team that had been struggling at the plate in the previous three games to explode offensively like the Tigers did last night, but here’s one interesting thing that surely played a role: 

Shortly before the game, Coach Mainieri informed Beau Jordan that he had moved him to the leadoff spot in the order – where he had only batted once in his LSU career – in an attempt to spark LSU’s slumping offense. And get this: Mainieri gave Jordan a very specific instruction, which he carried out to a tee: “I’d really like to see you hit the first pitch of the game for a home run,” Mainieri said. Jordan obliged.   

“He did say that,” Jordan affirmed to Tiger Rag. “It was a pretty cool moment. He does some random things that’re crazy. He’s been around the game so long that it’s like second nature to him.”

In the crazy game of baseball where hitting can truly be contagious, Mainieri’s wise move and Jordan’s big swing apparently sparked a 15-hit, four-dinger night for the Tigers. Four of those hits came from Austin Bain (4-for-5 with three RBI). Three came from Antoine Duplantis (3-for-5 with one RBI), and two came from Slaughter (2-for-4 with two home runs). Every Tiger in the starting lineup collected a hit on the night.

On the mound, Zack Hess turned in another brilliant performance, striking out eight and allowing only three hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings. Hess seems to have really turned a corner after realizing a few outings ago that he doesn’t have to try to strike out every batter he faces. As it turns out, that mindset has led to him allowing only two earned runs and striking out 23 batters in his last 21.1 innings of work.

Todd Peterson pitched a scoreless eighth before giving way to Cam Sanders and Clay Moffitt. Sanders struggled to find the strike zone and issued a walk and a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth to make it 9-3. Clay Moffitt was called in to get the final out and eventually did, but not before a little drama loaded the bases. Moffitt walked the first batter he faced, hit the next one, and then recorded a swinging strikeout on a pitch that got past Coomes at catcher and allowed the runner to reach base. Moffitt struck out the next batter to end the game. 

Here’s the complete box score, and here are LSU’s video highlights.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Game 2 of the series which was originally scheduled for 6:30 CT this evening has been moved to 8:00 p.m. CT due to anticipated storms. Also, if you were one of our early readers yesterday, please note that Sunday’s game is scheduled for 4 p.m. (not 2 p.m. as I had mistakenly published). Tonight’s game will be streamed online via SECN+ and tomorrow’s will be broadcast on SEC Network.

Unfortunately, while the LSU baseball team was taking care of Tennessee at home, the 14th-ranked LSU softball team fell to the Volunteers in Knoxville, 4-2 in game one of their series. Here’s a full report on that game. Beth Torina’s Tigers will look to even the series at one game apiece today at noon CT. The game will air on ESPN2 and will be available on the WatchESPN app.  

The LSU football team will hold it’s final scrimmage of the spring session today – not counting next week’s annual spring game, of course – and Coach Orgeron will meet with the media afterward. In tomorrow’s report, we’ll have a full report on what was said. In the meantime, here’s a little news on the football recruiting front…

LSU is looking to sign a quarterback or two in this year’s class and one who is somewhat on the radar will be on campus this weekend for an unofficial visit. Cornelious “Quad” Brown, a 6-foot-5, 180-pounder from Calera, Alabama, is hoping to garner an LSU offer, though one is not likely to come without LSU seeing him workout in summer camps. Still, the three-star pro-style signal caller is one to keep in the back of your mind as a potential second quarterback in a two-quarterback class, especially if he has a strong camp circuit and senior season. As of now, LSU’s priority quarterback target remains four-star Grant Gunnell of Houston, Texas, the second-ranked pro-style QB in the nation. Gunnell was once committed to Texas A&M but reports indicate that LSU, Oregon and Ohio State are now his top-three schools. 

One Tidbit in Closing:

• Attention LSU fans in the Shreveport/Bossier City, Houston, and New Orleans areas: Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF) and LSU Athletics have announced that the LSU Tiger Football Caravan will be making stops in your areas in the coming weeks. At the events, Tiger fans will get a spring football wrap-up and a preview of the 2018 season from Orgeron, while also enjoying dinner, a silent auction, LSU trivia, LSU football highlight videos and a “chalk talk” session with members of the LSU coaching staff. 

The 2018 Tiger Football Caravan stops:

Monday, April 23– Shreveport at Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, LA
Presented by the Ark-La-Tex TAF Chapter
Tickets available at lsutaf.events/ShreveportCaravan 

Wednesday, May 2 – Houston, Texas at JW Marriott Galleria
Presented by the Houston Touchdown Club
Ticket available at www.touchdownclub.org/ 

Thursday, June 28 – New Orleans Louisiana
More details coming soon.

Have a great day, Tiger Fans.

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4/13/18 5:30 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans, it’s Game Day!

The 19th-ranked LSU baseball team (21-13, 6-6 SEC) returns to action tonight for the start of an important home series against unranked Tennessee (21-14, 5-7 SEC). The Tigers enter tonight’s contest with two home series wins and two road series losses and are still just two games out of first place in the SEC West despite dropping last week’s series at Texas A&M. To remain in the hunt for an SEC title and prove DandyDon readers who predicted that the Tigers would win six SEC series this season correct, this is a series the Tigers really need to win. Don’t get me wrong, Tennessee is a good club that can’t be taken lightly, but a quick glance at the schedule (not to mention the stats below) reveals that this is one of the two most favorable series remaining this season. 

Tennessee’s record and stats aren’t overly impressive, but it would be foolish to take this series for granted. The Volunteers seem to be hitting their stride and are coming off of three consecutive wins, which includes a Game 3 win against No. 1 Florida. In fact, Tennessee was just one out away from winning the series against Florida but lost Game two in 11 innings. We fully expect this to be a competitive series, and a particularly interesting one since LSU has shaken up its weekend pitching rotation and has yet to name a Sunday starter. 

SCHEDULE & STARTERS:

Friday, 7 p.m. CT, SECN+
LSU – So. RH Zack Hess (5-3, 4.08 ERA, 46.1 IP, 24 BB, 60 SO)
UT – Fr. LH Garrett Crochet (2-4, 5.64 ERA, 44.2 IP, 13 BB, 40 SO) 

Saturday, 6:30 8:00 p.m. CT, SECN+
LSU – Fr. RH Ma’Khail Hilliard (6-2, 1.34 ERA, 40.1 IP, 14 BB, 41 SO)
UT – So. RH Garrett Stallings (4-2, 3.13 ERA, 54.2 IP, 4 BB, 27 SO) 

Sunday, 4:00 p.m. CT, SEC Network
LSU – TBA
UT – Jr. RH Will Neely (4-1, 3.31 ERA, 49.0 IP, 12 BB, 34 SO) 

SERIES RECORD:

LSU leads the all-time series with Tennessee, 55-22, and this weekend’s series marks the first meeting between the clubs since 2016, when the Tigers swept three games from the Volunteers in Knoxville. It’s also the first meeting in Baton Rouge since 2014, when the Tigers won two of three games over the Vols. The Tigers have won 11 of their last 12 games over UT.

SEC STAT COMPARISON:

As we’ll do for each remaining series, we’ve put together the following comparison of the two teams using stats from SEC contests only, as opposed to all games

LSU-Tenn-SEC-Stat-Comparison

• LSU has a pretty significant advantage in all of the stats we charted except two – “sacrifice bunts” and “caught stealing by.” LSU is one of three SEC teams that have yet to throw out a runner on a steal attempt in SEC play.  

• It’s interesting to note that LSU’s pitching has really come a long way. The Tigers lead the conference in fewest hits allowed and have the third-best ERA in SEC contests. 

QUOTING PAUL MAINIERI:

“Tennessee has a very talented team, and they’re playing well entering this weekend. They beat Florida, the No. 1 team in the country, once last week, and could have won twice; I think they were one out away from winning another game that Florida eventually won in extra innings. I’ve watched their games – they’ve got good arms, good athletes all over the place. We’ve got a big weekend ahead of us, so we’ve got to be ready to meet the challenge. Despite the adversity we’ve faced this season, we’re still in the thick of things in the SEC race.”

Jumping over to football, LSU practiced Thursday with the final scrimmage of the spring set for Saturday. Next week the team will wrap up the spring sessions with the annual spring game on April 21. A practice schedule change prevented us from making it out there yesterday to shoot any video, but here are a few tidbits picked up from The Advocate’s report:

• LB Ray Thornton, CB Cary Vincent and safeties, Cameron Lewis, Ed Paris and JaCoby Stevens weren’t there.

• Attending but not participating were OT Saahdiq Charles, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and NT Ed Alexander. Wearing gold jerseys for the first time were LB Patrick Queen and OG Garrett Brumfield. LB Michael Divinity has worn gold all spring and TE Thaddeus Moss shed the gold jersey he was wearing Tuesday.

• The starting offensive line looked like this: RT Adrian Magee, RG Ed Ingram, C Lloyd Cushenberry, LG Brumfield, LT Jakori Savage. Former JUCO standout Badara Traore, (one of LSU’s most highly hyped signees this year, has been running with the second group at left tackle.

In football recruiting, the Tiger nation is still buzzing over the news of landing Stanford cornerback graduate transfer Terrence Alexander. You may recall that the cornerback position was the biggest recruiting miss back in February when the Tigers failed to sign a true cornerback in this year’s class (unless you count Kelvin Joseph who was originally recruited as a safety). That, on top of losing two corners to the NFL and the uncertainty of Kristian Fulton’s status, made adding a cornerback with immediate eligibility a top priority of Coach Ed Orgeron. Hats off to him for finding one that fits the bill. 

Alexander (5-11, 187) is a Louisiana native who prepped at John Curtis high school and was ranked No. 28 on our list of Top LA Prospects for the Class of 2014. In his four years at Stanford, Alexander appeared in 41 games and tallied 57 tackles, one interception and eight passes defended. His senior season was cut short after he suffered a season-ending injuring in his season-opener against Rice, thereby making him eligible for a medical redshirt. He comes to LSU with one year of eligibility and is expected to join the team for summer workouts. Expect him to compete for the starting cornerback spot opposite of Greedy Williams and to get some looks at the nickel and on special teams. 

Closing Tidbits:

As if LSU’s baseball season hasn’t been hindered enough by injuries, mother nature took a turn at slowing the Tigers down yesterday. Get this: A swarm of bees descended upon the field and settled on the batting cage, causing Coach Mainieri to have to cancel practice and get a bee specialist out there.

Speaking of injuries, there were expectations that infielder Josh Smith might return to action this weekend after not playing since the opening weekend due to a “stress reaction” in his back. Unfortunately, he had a minor setback this week and will have to remain out a bit longer. Reports indicate that Smith experienced some tightness in his back on Monday and feared the worst, but an MRI came back “clean” indicating that it was simply a back spasm due to a weakness in the muscles.

In recognition of 15 years of hosting the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Classic at the Shrine on Airline, the New Orleans Baby Cakes will retire Pontiff’s jersey number 31 during a ceremony on Friday, July 27 when the Baby Cakes host the Tacoma Rainiers. Props to the Baby Cakes for this kind gesture in honor of a Tiger legend and the great Wally Pontiff, Jr. Foundation which has contributed more than $1.5 million to over 60 nonprofits, schools, charities and community programs in the past 15 years. #Forever31

Attention LSU students: The Tiger football team will welcome LSU students to football practice on Thursday afternoon (April 19) in Tiger Stadium for the annual “LSU Student Day.” The Tigers are scheduled to practice in shorts and helmets on Thursday from 4 p.m. until approximately 5:30. Once they are done with practice, LSU students will get a chance to take the field in Tiger Stadium to participate in several drills, including catching a punt, throwing a TD pass to an LSU football player, and catching a touchdown pass from a Tiger. There will also be a 40-yard dash competition for the students, so start your training now ;) Here’s more info on what’s planned.

Have a great Friday, Tiger Fans.



 

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