NCAA Baseball Championships:
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6/11/19 5:35 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
As promised, we’ve got a “Scott’s semi-day-off” style report today since I’m out of town. What that means is that I’ll quickly fill you in on a couple of newsy tidbits, post Part 1 of Mike Detillier’s series on LSU football, and continue with our countdown to Game Day. Then I’ll close out with a quick update on my fishing trip, all in a half-dozen quick hitters. Here we go…
1. Following an outstanding visit to LSU over the weekend, JUCO defensive end Ali Gaye of Garden City C.C has announced his commitment to the Tigers. At 6-6, 275, Gaye is ranked by 247Sports as a Top 25 prospect in JUCO and one of the five best strong-side defensive ends in the 2020 class. He chose LSU over offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska and Washington, and others, and will have two years of eligibility. With his pledge, the Tigers’ 2020 class now contains 18 commitments and is back at No. 2 in the nation, slightly ahead of No. 3 Alabama and behind No. 1 Clemson. Kudos to Coach O and his staff for tearing it up on the recruiting trail.
Gaye is one of two players whose commitment led Coach Ed Orgeron to tweet “Hold that Tiger!” twice on Sunday. The other commitment has not yet been made public.
2. On the baseball front, here are two good reads on a couple of young men who will always be among my favorite Tigers, partly because they come from my hometown of Lafayette, but also because their family are such great representatives of LSU. Dear LSU: A Letter From Mondo | For the Duplantis Brothers, Every Moment Matters
3. LSU football announced yesterday the jersey numbers for the incoming class. One thing that might catch your eye in this list is seeing linebacker Marcel Brooks at No. 9, the number formerly worn by LSU All-American safety Grant Delpit. That’s because Delpit has been switched to the prestigious No. 7. As for who will be awarded No. 18, we’ll likely have to wait until the start of fall camp to find out.
4. Mentioning that incoming class makes for a good transition to Part 1 of Mike Detillier’s Series on LSU football. That’s because in this installment, Mike shares his thoughts on incomers who will make the biggest impact in 2019. Good stuff from Mike, as always.
5. Now for our countdown: With just 81 days until kickoff, we can only hope a new LSU player will make an instant splash like Justin Jefferson did a year ago against Miami in the season opener For months, we had talked about how tough LSU’s first few weeks were going to be, and as the Tigers took center stage for a Sunday night contest, Jefferson made an instant impact with 81 receiving yards in his debut as a Tiger. Though the 33-17 victory against the Hurricanes might’ve technically been Jefferson’s first start, his five catches for 81 yards were not a big surprise to hardcore fans who watched Jefferson showcase his skills in LSU’s spring game. And it was evidently clear from the jump, Joe Burrow and Jefferson had a special chemistry. It showed throughout the season, as Jefferson went on to lead the Tigers in receptions (54), receiving yards (875) and touchdown receptions (six).
Have a great day, Tiger Fans.
6/10/19 5:44 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
It’s over, and I miss it already.
LSU’s season that began with the highest of expectations came to an end last night in a gut-wrenching, extra-innings 5-4 loss to Florida State. It was devastating to see Florida walk it off in the 12th inning with a single off of reliever Devin Fontenot, who pitched his heart out in what was easily the best pitching performance LSU received all year. Fontenot pitched 6.1 innings of scoreless one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts before giving up the walk-off single in the 12th.
LSU showed a heck of a lot of fight to overcome a 4-1 sixth-inning deficit and send the game to extras, but just not quite enough to overcome a few critical mistakes that were the difference in the game. The first came in the second inning when the Seminoles loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles off of Landon Marceaux. A tailor-made double play ball was hit to Cade Beloso at first, who stepped on the bag and made a great throw to home that was dropped by Saul Garza. Then there were base-running gaffs like when freshman Giovani DiGiacomo was picked off of third base in the sixth inning when LSU was riding a big wave of momentum, and when Zack Watson was thrown out at second trying to extend a clutch RBI single into a double. In DiGiacomo’s instance, the gaff squandered a ton of momentum LSU had built on three consecutive hits, including Antoine Duplantis’ RBI single which cut the Tigers’ deficit to two runs and loaded the bases. Had DiGiacomo not been picked off, LSU would have almost certainly plated another run on Beloso’s fly out to centerfield, which instead ended the inning. There was also a key passed ball in the 12th inning which put the Florida State’s Mike Salvatore in scoring position. Technically, it was ruled a “wild pitch,” but it was one Garza should have caught. Two batters later, Florida State power-hitter Drew Mendoza drove in Salvatore with a walk-off single.
Many of you asked after the game why Coach Paul Mainieri didn’t intentionally walk Mendoza since first base was open, and that’s a good question. After the game, Mainieri said he preferred having hard-throwing Fontenot pitch to Mendoza, a power hitter who has 69 strikeouts on the season and had been struggling with Fontenot’s velocity, rather than pitch to the hitter behind him, Robby Martin, who is more of a contact hitter with just as many RBI and fewer strikeouts.
“I am so proud of our guys, they just gave it everything they had,” said Coach Mainieri. “That performance by Devin Fontenot tonight. If we had won the ballgame, we would be talking about it 15 years from now. He gave everything he had for our team. I am so proud of how far Devin has come. It makes you excited about his future as we go forward. The toughest thing about this business is not just the losing and seeing the season come to an end, it is having to say goodbye to people that are such a big part of your life.”
Two of the many players Coach Mainieri and Tiger fans now have to say goodbye to are Antoine Duplantis and Josh Smith, who capped tremendous LSU careers with a strong night at the plate. Those two veterans either drove in or scored all four of LSU’s runs, one of which came on Duplantis’s 11th home run of the season. The all-time LSU hit leader ended the night 4-for-6 with three RBI and two runs scored. Smith ended 2-for-6 with two runs scored.
One last thought related to last night’s game: It was brought up during the broadcast that the previous three teams to eliminate LSU in the NCAA tournament – Oregon State, Florida, and Coastal Carolina – went on to win the College World Series. I sure do hope for Mike Martin’s sake that the trend continues this year. The legendary coach is a class act who deserves nothing less.
Later, maybe in a few days, we’ll take a retrospective look at all the highs and lows of LSU’s roller coaster season and look ahead to the future. But from a mental health standpoint, I’m not ready for that. LOL. No really, the creek is calling and I need to get up to north Louisiana to take care of a few things, including my potato patch. So, for the next two or three days, I’ll treat you to a multi-part series on LSU football in which Mike Detillier gives his thoughts on newcomers who will make the biggest impact, how different he expects LSU’s 2019 offense to be, and positions of greatest concern. And, of course, we’ll continue with our ongoing countdown to game day and pass along any newsy tidbits.
With 82 days remaining until the start of LSU football, today’s countdown topic takes us back to a game that made a lasting impression on me as a 12-year old in Tiger Stadium. Remembered by many as “The night it rained Oranges,” LSU thumped Florida State 55-21 in 1982 to win a berth in the Orange Bowl. LSU was coming off a 27-24 upset loss at Mississippi State but the Orange and Gator Bowls set up a deal with the LSU-Florida State winner getting the Orange and the loser the Gator. LSU was off and running on a 46-yard TD pass from Alan Risher to Dalton Hilliard. Two touchdowns before half put the Tigers up 28-14 at the break and they continued to roll in the second half as a fog settled over the field. Hilliard would finish with four touchdowns to give him 16 for the season, which broke the national record for touchdowns by a freshman previously shared by Georgia’s Herschel Walker and Hugh Kusserow of Columbia. Eric Martin caught scoring passes of 70 and 34 yards from Risher, and the Tiger defense held the visitors to seven points and 187 yards in the second half. It also took the ball away three times on fumbles. As the game wound down, fans wound up and pelted the field relentlessly with oranges. When the clock his zero, they stormed the field and tried to pull down the goalposts. What made the night all the more memorable for me as a 12-year old was seeing a somewhat elderly lady beside us get whacked in the head by an orange thrown from above, and seeing my Dad help her to her feet. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
Lastly, a bit of recruiting news: Coach Ed Orgeron tweeted “Hold that Tiger” twice yesterday, indicating that LSU received two new commitments. The commitments have not yet been made public, but as soon as they are, I will tweet the news.
That’s it for now, but be sure to tune in tomorrow for Mike Detillier on LSU football.
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