NCAA Baseball Championships:
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4/13/19 5:30 am CST
Good morning, Tiger fans,
In today’s report, the baseball team overcomes adversity, softball falls in a low-scoring affair and basketball gets a welcomed announcement. But first, here’s a quick update on my camping trip. The water is so high up here that the fishing is shot. But there’s nothing like convening around the campfire to share ten innings of Tiger baseball with the guys. Thanks to Jake Martin for providing the following report while I’m in semi-vacation mode.
It might’ve taken ten innings, but the No. 8 LSU Tigers took the first game of another SEC series with a 12-11 victory against Missouri. In that 10th inning, Smith singled and Giovanni DiGiacomo, who was pinch-hitting for an injured Zach Watson, followed with another. Smith beat a play at the plate after an Antoine Duplantis grounder that gave the Tigers the 12-11 lead and eventual victory. But that was just the dramatic ending to what was a rollercoaster ride of a game…
LSU couldn’t have asked for a better start, as the Tigers scored three runs on three hits and an error in the top of the first. Watson got the inning started with a single and Duplantis reached after a Missouri error to set the stage for another clutch moment for Chris Reid. Reid came through with a 2-RBI double before Brandt Broussard ripped a single up the middle to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead on the road.
Unfortunately, a fast start was met with an inexplicably strange bottom half of the first. A couple of freebies (beaned batter and walk) put Zach Hess in a tough spot. Then, with a 3-2 count on Missouri’s three-hole hitter, Hess called on the dugout. Hess met with Paul Mainieri and athletic trainer Cory Couture before exiting the game with a strained muscle in his leg, according to Mainieri during an in-game interview. Ma’Kahil Hilliard replaced him with two on and no outs. Three walks and three wild pitches helped Missouri post six runs in the inning despite getting only three hits. Mizzou scored six runs and batted around before LSU got its first out of the game. Hilliard threw 43 pitches in the inning.
Missouri had to know it wasn’t going to be that easy, though. In the third, LSU loaded the bases and a returning Daniel Cabrera recorded an RBI single before Broussard came through with another clutch hit. This one was a double down the third base line that scored two and tied the game, 6-6. A 2-RBI double from Cade Beloso that followed put the visiting Tigers up by two runs.
LSU tacked on three more runs in the fourth off of a two-run Watson homer and RBI single from Beloso. Watson, by the way, left the game in the eighth after he came up limping trying to beat a throw to first. Watson had an apparent ankle injury. Mizzou later tied the game in the sixth with a 3-run homer.
Enough can’t be said about Hilliard coming into the game in a tough spot, surrendering four earned runs in the first inning and rebounding with three straight scoreless innings before exiting in the fifth. Todd Peterson did an outstanding job after he entered in the seventh inning. Peterson faced nine batters and got them all out before Devin Fontenot came in and recorded the save in the 12th.
Also in the victory, Duplantis collected his 411th career hit, which gave him the fourth most hits in school history.
The Tigers will go for the series win today at 5 p.m. 3 p.,m. with freshman right-hander Cole Henry (3-1, 3.55 ERA) on the mound. Mizzou will counter with junior left-hander LH TJ Sikkema (3-2, 1.27 ERA). The game will be streamed on SECN+.
In softball, the No. 7 Tigers fell to No. 23 Kentucky, 3-2. LSU fell behind 2-0 in the second inning and tied the game in the third before Kentucky took a one-run advantage in the fifth. LSU was limited to just four hits in the loss. For a complete breakdown of the game, click here.
In basketball news, Darius Days announced he would return for his sophomore season at LSU in an Instagram post Friday morning. Days wrote, “Bonding with my brothers as we battled through highs and lows to come out as SEC Champs was a journey unlike any other. There’s still plenty left to achieve together in Baton Rouge though.” Days averaged 5.3 points per game and four rebounds per contest last season.
Lastly, it was great hearing from many of you about Part 1 of our Q&A with Mike Detillier on the topic of LSU football. In the first installment, Mike gave his thoughts on the offense. Tune in tomorrow for his thoughts on a loaded Tiger defense, and on Monday for a few final thoughts on the 2019 Tigers and recruiting.
Enjoy your Saturday, Tiger Fans.
4/12/19 5:25 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
In today’s report, we’ll look ahead to LSU’s baseball series against Missouri and run Part 1 of my Q&A with Mike Detillier on LSU football, but first there’s some breaking news regarding the basketball program.
Will Wade and LSU officials have scheduled a meeting, ending a month-long standoff, according to a report by Sports Illustrated. The meeting will end a 34-day stalemate and NCAA officials will be present for the meeting. LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson provided the following statement to Sports Illustrated, “I can confirm there is a meeting scheduled (Friday) with Coach Wade, LSU officials and the NCAA within the parameters LSU first requested in early March. University officials have made clear their expectation for full cooperation and transparency in this first step in a process toward resolution.” For more on this planned meeting, you can read the full story here.
Sticking with basketball, it’s official — Javonté Smart and Emmitt Williams have announced they will enter the 2019 NBA Draft. LSU’s talented guard, who took over big games like the Tennessee one, wrote, “Being at LSU has been a great experience for me and I will cherish these moments forever. Becoming a Tiger was the best decision I have made in my life so far. Being with my brothers and LSU family has been a wonderful experience that I could never forget! Boot Up!” And the highly energetic Williams, who had a strong plus-minus all season long, stated, “Being at LSU has allowed me to grow and develop on and off the court. I am forever grateful for this experience and the memories I have created with my brothers.”
As we wrote in yesterday’s report, Smart and Williams, along with Skylar Mays, Tremont Waters and Naz Reid, who have also declared, have the option to return if they terminate their agent by late May. A lot of players in college basketball will do this to get important feedback from NBA scouts, like Waters did a year ago before returning to LSU. The difference is that players can now retain an agent to guide them through the decision process and then terminate them later if they wish to return to school.
One more note about the upcoming NBA Draft, in ESPN’s latest mock draft, the site has Waters going to the Spurs as the 49th pick and Reid going to the Clippers as the 50th pick.
Turning to baseball, LSU is looking to rebound from a disappointing midweek loss to Southern with a three-game road series at Missouri that begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. And just like last week, weather could become a factor. As of now, there’s a 100 percent chance of rain for Saturday, so adjustments to the schedule could follow. As for the matchup, LSU (23-11, 8-4 SEC) enters as the No. 8 team in the country, while Missouri enters 23-11-1 overall, 5-6-1 in the SEC, and a 14-2 record at home. Paul Mainieri told the media yesterday that he hoped Daniel Cabrera (wrist) could play this weekend and he hit off the tee Wednesday. On Cabrera, Mainieri said, “He swung the bat a little yesterday at probably 50 to 70 percent force. He took some dry swings and hit 15 balls off the batting tee, and he didn’t have any pain.” Mainieri also noted Landon Marceaux did not make the trip and that Chase Costello would be available.
PITCHING, START TIMES, AND COVERAGE:
Game 1 - Friday, 6:30 p.m. CT (SECN +)
LSU – Jr. RH Zack Hess (2-2, 3.71 ERA, 43.2 IP, 21 BB, 44 SO)
MIZZ – Jr. LH Jacob Cantleberry (3-2, 2.62 ERA, 44.2 IP, 17 BB 61 SO)
Game 2 - Saturday, 5 p.m. CT (SECN +)
LSU – Fr. RH Cole Henry (3-1, 3.55 ERA, 38.0 IP, 10 BB, 43 SO)
MIZZ – Jr. LH TJ Sikkema (3-2, 1.27 ERA, 49.2 IP, 15 BB, 54 SO)
Game 3 - Sunday, 12 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
LSU – So. RH Eric Walker (2-2, 4.86 ERA, 33.1 IP, 13 BB, 25 SO)
MIZZ – TBA
QUOTING PAUL MAINIERI:
“It never gets any easier in the SEC. In the past three weekends, we’ve played three Top 10 teams, including the best offensive team in the league (Mississippi State) and the team with the best ERA in the conference (Texas A&M). Now, we play a Missouri team on the road that has taken over the lead for best ERA in the SEC, and they have a rotation of left-handed starters that is outstanding. This series already represents the halfway mark of our SEC schedule, and we’re looking forward to great competition with Missouri this weekend.”
• Missouri is in third place in the SEC Eastern Division with a 5-6-1 mark, 3.5 games behind first-place Georgia.
• Missouri has the best ERA in the Southeastern Conference with a 2.77 mark. Their staff is limiting opponents to a .223 batting average, and Mizzou is fourth in the league in strikeouts pitched with 354.
• Junior left-hander TJ Sikkema has the SEC’s second-best ERA (1.27), and he’s recorded 54 strikeouts in 49.2 innings; junior left-hander Jacob Cantleberry is fifth in the league in strikeouts with 61
• Missouri is 12th in the SEC in team batting average, hitting .263 with 33 home runs … Mizzou has recorded an SEC-best 66 steals in 85 attempts … Junior outfielder/infielder Kameron Misner leads the SEC in walks (42), and he’s fourth in stolen bases with 14.
Now let’s close out with Part 1 of my Q&A with College Football and NFL analyst Mike Detillier on his post-spring impression of the 2019 LSU football team. In this installment, I get Mike’s thoughts on just how different this year’s LSU offense will be, on the offensive line, the quarterbacks, and every other position on that side of the ball.
Look for Part II of the series (defense) either tomorrow or Sunday, and for his thoughts on spring standouts and recruiting after that.
Thanks to Jake Martin for his assistance with today’s report. He covered all the newsy stuff and will continue to do that through Monday while I’m away on my annual camping trip with my brothers and three of my nephews. Also, please note that since I’m away, I won’t be tweeting much, if any, during this baseball series. I look forward to listening to it from the campsite while running a few bank poles like the three I set out last night. Wish me luck.
Enjoy your Friday, Tiger Fans.
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