NCAA Baseball Championships:
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5/15/19 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Fueled by home runs from Daniel Cabrera and Antoine Duplantis, Coach Mainieri’s Tigers improved to 32-21 on the season with a 7-5 win over UNO. Now, having won two games in a row, and with a big home series coming up against Auburn, the Tigers are still holding on to the hope of hosting an NCAA Regional. Winning this weekend’s series and a couple of games in the SEC tournament could very well do it, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Back to last night’s game…
Devin Fontenot made his first start on the mound and gave up three hits in two innings, including a two-run blast over the left-field wall in the second inning. Fontenot was one of six pitchers Coach Mainieri would send to the mound in an effort to not overextend anyone and keep as many arms as possible available for this weekend.
LSU got on the board in the third to take a 4-2 lead. The Tigers caught a break when a throwing error on a would-be double play gave LSU runners on first and second with no outs. Josh Smith followed with a single to load the bases, and then the Tigers traded two outs for a run when Broussard grounded into a double play. Antoine Duplantis followed with a clutch 2-out RBI single to tie it up, and then Daniel Cabrera launched a 2-run homer over the left field wall to make it 4-2 Tigers.
Mathew Beck, the first LSU pitcher out of the pen, worked his way out of a couple of jams to keep UNO off the board in the third and fourth innings. Aaron George entered in the fifth, retired the first two batters he faced, and then gave up a solo homer to make it 4-3.
The Tigers got the run back in the fifth when Duplantis launched a solo shot over the right field wall, his tenth homer of the season and third hit of the night. (Raise your hand if you had Duplantis with double-digit dingers this year?) It wasn’t long ago we were asking who would step up and spur LSU offensively, and Duplantis has answered that question as well as anybody. In the last six games, he’s recorded three home runs and 11 RBI.
Aaron George and Chase Costello combined to keep the Privateers off the board in the sixth and seventh innings and then gave way to Will Ripoll, who recorded the first two outs of the eighth. After issuing a two-out single, Ripoll was replaced by Zach Hess, who recorded the final out of the inning.
LSU scored a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Walks by Chris Reid and Zach Watson put two on with one out, and then Hal Hughes singled through the right side to score Reid. The third walk of the inning loaded the bases and the fourth one made it 7-3 LSU.
Those two insurance runs proved to be valuable in the ninth. After giving up a one-out double, Zack Hess gave up a two-run homer to make it 7-5. A walk brought the tying run to the plate, but Hess was able to secure the win with a pair of strikeouts.
Next up, the Tigers return to action tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:30 for the start of a very important three-game series versus Auburn at The Box. Unfortunately, LSU will be without yet another pitcher. Ben McDonald said during last night’s broadcast that the shoulder injury Trent Vietmeier suffered in Arkansas will likely keep him out for the rest of the season. Vietmeier has logged more innings pitched out of the bullpen than any other LSU reliever and will be missed. The good news is it’s looking like LSU will get Jaden Hill and Cole Henry back in time for SEC tournament play, though neither is expected to pitch before then.
Turning to football, yesterday we began a brief series in which we’ll take a look at a few members of LSU’s latest signing class who haven’t received a ton of hype but could be big impact players this year. Today’s selection almost doesn’t qualify as someone flying under the radar after special teams coach Greg McMahon talked him up so much earlier this week in the TAF Tiger Tour, but he’s a relatively low-rated player who will likely have as significant an impact as anyone on the team.
K, 6-1, 182, Prosper, Texas
I don’t need to tell you just how valuable a field goal kicker is after Cole Tracy’s 29-for-33 effort a year ago. Tracy was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week and 2018 Lou Garza Player of the Week four times last season (Miami, Auburn, Georgia, and Mississippi State). He was so good that LSU fans sent donations to Assumption College (a liberal arts school in New England and Tracy’s previous school) after Tracy’s game-winner against Auburn. A week after that game-winner, the donations swelled to more than $14,000 from more than 200 LSU fans. So to put it lightly, Cade York, Tracy’s heir apparent, has big shoes to fill.
But York comes to LSU with a big boot of his own. He set the record for a 59-yard field goal in the Under Armour All-America Game and ranked among the Top 10 in field goals, punts, and kickoffs at the 2018 National Scholarship Camp. And he’s impressed the staff with more than just his world-class leg. “I like his moxie,” McMahon is quoted as saying of York in this article by The Advocate. “When you’re a placekicker in the SEC or the NFL, you’ve got to be able to deal with pressure. You’ve got to be able to deal with expectations. You’ve got to be able to deal with weakness. We like this player. There’s a confidence about this player, and it’s obvious how strong his leg is.” When asked about York’s chances of playing right away, McMahon didn’t hesitate. “He’s our kicker,” he said. “He’s got to compete and perform.”
Two recruiting briefs in closing:
• Five-star power forward Trendon Watford (6-9, 230) of Birmingham, Alabama will be announcing his college decision on May 20th at Mountain Brook High School at 2:30. LSU, Alabama, and Memphis are said to be his leaders, but all the chatter I’ve heard, including some from folks close to the LSU basketball program, suggest that LSU is out on top.
• And in football, there’s a new name to keep in mind. Four-star strong-side defensive end Princely Umanmielen of Manor, Texas, announced his top five schools on Monday and included LSU along with Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M, and Texas.
• Lastly, it was great to hear from a few of you yesterday with topic suggestions for our upcoming LSU Football 100-Day Countdown. Keep ’em coming!
5/14/19 5:50 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
TUESDAY TIDBITS: YOUR DAILY DOSE OF TIGER NEWS DELIVERED IN A BAKER’S DOZEN QUICK HITTERS
1. After going 1-3 last week with a loss to Louisiana Tech and a series loss at Arkansas, the LSU baseball team took an understandable drop in the weekly polls. Here’s where LSU checks in this week, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis.
Perfect Game: No. 20 (Last Week: 15)
D1 Baseball.com: No. 19 (LW: 15)
Baseball America: No. 22 (LW: 16)
Collegiate Baseball: No. 20 (LW: 18)
2. Perhaps more important than the weekly polls are SEC standings and NCAA RPI rankings. The Tigers are currently 15-12 in the SEC, which puts them tied for third in the SEC West and tied for fifth in the overall standings. The Tigers are No. 22 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings with 17 wins over Top 50 RPI teams, which is the fifth-highest total in the nation.
3. The Tigers will conclude the regular season this week with a Thursday, Friday, Saturday series at home against Auburn. But before that, the Tigers take on University of New Orleans tonight at 6:30 p.m. Here’s a look at this week’s schedule and coverage:
May 14 (Tue.) – NEW ORLEANS, 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
May 16 (Thu.) – AUBURN, 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
May 17 (Fri.) – AUBURN, 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
May 18 (Sat.) – AUBURN, 2 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
4. Coach Mainieri announced yesterday that Devin Fontenot will get the start on the mound for LSU tonight. This will be Fontenot’s first start of the season, but don’t see this as an audition for a regular starting role. This is more about the fact that Fontenot didn’t pitch any against Arkansas and needs the work.
5. As for LSU’s injured pitchers, Coach Mainieri provided me with an update yesterday. Jaden Hill threw off the front of the mound and “looked like a Major Leaguer.” He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session today. As for Cole Henry, he played long catch yesterday and looked good with no pain. He will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. Mainieri hopes that he can pitch some in the SEC tournament. Primary reliever Trent Vietmeier, who left Friday’s game shoulder discomfort, is still sore and will have an MRI.
6. Before leaving the topic of baseball, here is an interview from 104.5 FM’s Off the Bench radio program in which Coach Mainieri gives on his thoughts on this past weekend’s series at Arkansas.
7. Turning to softball, Beth Torina’s Tigers were selected as the No. 10 overall seed for the 2019 NCAA tournament and will host the Baton Rouge Regional this weekend. Other teams in the Baton Rouge region are Monmouth, Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech. LSU will take on Monmouth at 4:30 p.m. CT Friday. Here’s a look at the complete NCAA Softball Tournament Bracket. LSU finished the season in a three-way tie for second place in the SEC, and this is the fifth consecutive year that Beth Torina’s Tigers are hosting a regional.
8. Turning to the topic of football, today we’ll begin a brief series on three or four members of LSU’s most recent signing class who haven’t received a ton of props but could be impact players this year. We’ll start with defensive lineman Joseph Evans:
It’s true — they make ’em different in Haynesville. Haynesville’s storied high school football program has produced back-to-back Top 10 prospects in the state. This year it was Joseph Evans, who the Tigers got to sign the dotted line, and next year, it’ll be former teammate CamRon Jackson, who has already committed to the Tigers. The hope is these two could dominate the trenches at LSU like they did in high school, side by side. But before Jackson comes to campus (fingers crossed he remains committed), Evans will get an early jump on becoming a producer on the Tigers’ defensive line. And that’s going to be a little bit tougher this year than in recent years. The Tigers finally have experienced depth with backups Tyler Shelvin (nose), Neil Farrell (end) and Justin Thomas (end) all getting varsity action in their careers. Evans, who is 6’2”, 302 pounds, is projected to play outside and back up the likes Rashard Lawrence and Glen Logan. Should there come an injury, and we know how this goes on the defensive side of the ball, Evans will be a big bodied terror on defense the Tigers will have to rely on.
9. Seeing all of those LSU D-linemen listed above makes it easy to see why there are big expectations for that unit this year. According to a tweet by College Football Rankings, LSU’s D-line is ranked as the nation’s third-best in 2019, behind only Auburn and Michigan State, and one spot ahead of Clemson. Alabama’s, by the way, is rated seventh-best.
10. One more D-line tidbit while we’re at it. In yesterday’s Mail Call I responded to a question about LSU’s recruitment of two big-time DTs, Jacqueline Roy of University High and Jacobian Guillory of Alexandria Senior High. But there’s a third elite in-state DT to keep in mind, Jalen Lee of Live Oak. He’s been garnering a ton of interest and offers lately and LSU is very high on him. Those three guys and several others will have a chance to work out in front of LSU in a few weeks when LSU hosts its lineman camp. Here’s a look at the upcoming camp schedule:
Coach O’s O-Line/D-Line Camp: June 1
Coach O’s Kicking Camp: June 1
Coach O’s Tiger Skills Camp: June 2
Coach O’s Youth Camp: June 6–7
7 on 7 Team & Lineman Camp: June 15
Coach O’s High School Session: June 20-22
11. Believe it or not, it will soon be time for our 100-day countdown to the start of LSU’s football season. (We’re at 109 days now.) That means it’s time to start thinking about our annual countdown feature. This year we’ll stick to the flexible format we introduced a few years ago and write about any football topic related to the number of days left on our countdown. For example, at the 58-day mark, we might write about the legendary 1958 team and its national championship. For 57, we might go with the 2013 Tiger team’s nation-leading third-down conversion rate of 57.14%. And, of course, on some days we just highlighted a player or two who wore the jersey number. I’m bringing this up now because I would like your help. If you have any suggestions for the countdown that you would like me to consider, especially for numbers 100-90, please send them my way.
12. Last week produced a lot of good moments for LSU’s weekly Top Plays video. This one features an NCAA track and field record, a game-winning home run, a great grab, and a rundown in the 4x100 relay.
13. LAGNIAPPE: Remember that Boudin and Cream Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin I first mentioned last week? Well, I cooked it for a second week in a row last night and this time I documented the steps so I could add it to our Recipes section. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. And if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a boudin source close by, feel free to substitute any fresh sausage in the stuffing or just leave that part out. Tonnére mes chiens, c’est bon!
This web site is not officially affiliated with Louisiana State University. Opinions expressed herein are the property of Donald Long, Scott Long and friends, not Louisiana State University.