The Advocate Blog Network

Search
Banner image

Balls And Strikes: LSU 10, Arkansas 5

General Info

  • Coverage: Game story; Notebook; Column
  • Twitter:  @DellengerAdv, @RabalaisAdv
  • On Deck: at SEC tournament, Saturday night

STRIKES

Jared Foster has four extra-base hits in two games. (Andrea Mabry)

Jared Foster has four extra-base hits in two games. (Andrea Mabry)

  • Russell Reynolds: For the second straight game LSU’s starter (Austin Bain) made an early exit, giving up four runs in the second. Enter Reynolds, who quashed the Arkansas threat with 3.1 innings of two-hit, shutout relief.
  • Jared Foster: LSU’s starting second baseman remains red hot. After going 2-for-4 Wednesday against Auburn he was 3-for-4 with two doubles. His average has climbed to .304.
  • Alex Bregman: The Tigers shortstop drove in three runs, two on sacrifice flies, and was flawless in the field as he gobbled up several Arkansas hot shots and turned them into outs.

BALLS

  • Austin Bain: Jared Poche lasted only one inning Wednesday, giving up five runs. Bain fared little better, surrendering four runs in the second inning and lasted just 1.2 innings total.
  • Kade Scivicque: The Tigers catcher was 0-for-4 at the plate and is now 1-for-8 in the tournament.
  • Arkansas’ defense: The Razorbacks bumbled their way to a season-high six errors, three of them in LSU’s four-run first inning that set the tone for the entire game.

Pregame: LSU vs. Arkansas

Alex Bregman and LSU try to win a ninth straight game at the SEC tournament tonight. (Andrea Mabry)

Alex Bregman and LSU try to win a ninth straight game at the SEC tournament tonight. (Andrea Mabry)

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.

HOOVER, Alabama – 

General Info

  • What: LSU (47-9) vs. Arkansas (35-20)
  • When: 8 p.m. Thursday (will start 30 minutes after the 4:30 p.m. game)
  • Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover, Alabama
  • Starting pitchers: LSU Fr. RHP Austin Bain (2-2, 2.96) vs. So. RHP James Teague (4-3, 3.42)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Online: ESPN3.com
  • In-game updates on Twitter: @DellengerAdv, @RabalaisAdv
  • On deck: at SEC Tournament, Friday (with a loss) or Saturday (with a win)

Links To Know

What’s At Stake

  • A seat at the SEC tournament semifinals. The winner of this game is off Friday, getting a pass into the semifinals on Saturday. A loss and reaching the championship game on Sunday becomes much more difficult. The loser would have to win an elimination game Friday, spending even more pitching than they already have. That would be tough for Arkansas, which has played one more game than LSU already in this tournament. LSU, by the way, will be the visiting team tonight.

What To Watch

  • The weather: By the game’s end tonight, it may dip into the 50s here in Alabama. The low is 54, and it will be in the low to mid 60s at first pitch. The Tigers haven’t played in chilly weather like that in a while.
  • On or off: We’ve seen Austin Bain when he’s on. The kid from Geismar is capable of striking out six in a row and retiring 13 consecutive batters (he’s done both at points this season). He’s also lasted just two innings against Mississippi State earlier in the year to lose, briefly, his weekend starter spot. LSU is likely to be such a high national seed (maybe No. 1 overall) that the Tigers could pitch Bain in the opening game (against a low 4 seed) of next week’s NCAA regional. He needs a good performance heading into that pressure-packed match.
  • Bullpen depth: It’ll be tested like never before. Because of Jared Poche’s career-short stint on Wednesday (one inning), LSU had to use six relievers, but no relief pitcher threw more than 27 pitches (Godfrey 27, Norman 20, Newman 19, Bugg 18, Person 15, Devall 13). All of them, including Poche, should be able to return at some point during the tournament, especially Person, who could be available to pitch again soon (maybe tonight?). LSU didn’t use Jesse Stallings or Alden Cartwright so they’re both fresh.

Know Your Opponent

  • Arkansas, a likely No. 2 seed in an NCAA regional, is streaking. The Hogs have won 20 of their last 26 games, hitting their stride shortly after LSU won two of three from them in Fayetteville in mid-March. James Teague has served as Arkansas’ long reliever/No. 4 starter this season, and LSU has seen him before. He allowed seven hits and four runs in a three-inning start in LSU’s 16-3 win over Arkansas in Game 2 of the regular season series. He has control issues at times. He’s walked 24 in 47.1 innings pitched.

Lineups

LSU

  • Mark Laird, RF
  • Jake Fraley, LF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Conner Hale, 3B
  • Kade Scivicque, C
  • Andrew Stevenson, CF
  • Chris Chinea, 1B
  • Chris Sciambra, DH
  • Jared Foster, 2B

Arkansas

  • Clark Eagan, 1B
  • Joe Serrano, LF
  • Andrew Benintendi, CF
  • Tyler Spoon, RF
  • Rick Nomura, 2B
  • Bobby Wernes, 3B
  • Brett McAfee, DH
  • Michael Bernal, SS
  • Carson Shaddy, C

Balls And Strikes: LSU 9, Auburn 8

General Info

  • Coverage: Gamer story; Notebook; Photo gallery
  • Twitter:  @DellengerAdv, @RabalaisAdv
  • On Deck: at SEC tournament, Thursday (30 minutes after the 4:30 p.m. game)

STRIKES

Jared Foster blasted a two-run shot over the left field wall. (Andrea Mabry)

Jared Foster blasted a two-run shot over the left field wall. (Andrea Mabry)

  • Jared Foster: The senior from Lake Charles hit his ninth homer – a two-run shot over the left field wall that led to this reaction. It was Foster’s first homer in 17 games and in 18 conference games. Foster also led off the fifth inning with a double. That sparked LSU’s six-run, six-hit fifth.
  • Chris Sciambra: Another senior, Sciambra went 2-for-4 at the plate and both of his hits – a double and single – drove in runs. He brought in what turned into the the eventual winning run in the game on a single to right field in the fifth inning. It followed this game-tying double from Chris Chinea on a dropped pop-fly.
  • Zac Person: Person entered the game in a precarious situation. Nursing a one-run lead, LSU pitcher Hunter Newman walked two batters to put two on with two outs. Person entered and struck out Alex Polston to strand the runners. He also struck out two of his final three batters to strand the possible game-tying run at second base in the eighth inning. Caoch Paul Mainieri had thought about leaving Person in to pitch the ninth, but he wants the reliever to return at some point later in the SEC tournament.

BALLS

  • Jared Poché: Poché had, arguably, the worst inning of his LSU career. He allowed five runs on three hits and walked two in the first inning. Mainieri yanked him after the first, his shortest start of his career. Poché left a host of breaking balls up, and Auburn made him pay.

Pregame: LSU vs. Auburn (SEC tournament)

CFeUIEfVAAAv9xB

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.

HOOVER, Alabama – 

General Info

  • What: LSU (46-9) vs. Auburn (35-22)
  • When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover, Alabama
  • Starting pitchers: : LSU So. LHP Jared Poché (7-1, 3.18) vs. AU Sr. RHP Rocky McCord (5-4, 3.65)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Online: ESPN3.com
  • In-game updates on Twitter: @DellengerAdv, @RabalaisAdv
  • On deck: at SEC Tournament, Thursday

Links To Know

What’s At Stake

  • The loser drops into an elimination game, and it’s a rare feat to lose the opener of a tournament such as this and come back to win the event. For Auburn, a neutral site win over LSU would almost certainly secure the Tigers a spot in an NCAA regional. For coach Paul Mainieri and crew, LSU can even more solidify its standing as not just a national seed – but the No. 1 overall national seed.

What To Watch

  • Getting back on track: Jared Poché needs a boost before heading into NCAA regionals. The lefty has allowed 24 hits and 12 runs in his last three starts – a combined 18 innings – after pitching a stellar six consecutive games. Poché allowed two runs and eight hits in 5.2 innings against Auburn earlier this season in a 3-2 win.

    Chris Chinea is on a hot streak. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

    Chris Chinea is on a hot streak. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

  • Streaking Chinea: Chris Chinea has 11 home runs – in the last 29 games. He had a single, double and homer in the series opener at South Carolina and had six hits and six RBIs over the three games. There’s no hotter player on LSU’s roster. He now leads the team in batting average at .374.
  • Balancing the bullpen: Mainieri doesn’t plan on using his starters for extended stays as the NCAA regional is just a week away. That means he must balance the bullpen enough to have pitchers left by the end of this thing Sunday – if the Tigers are still alive. Mainieri brought one more pitcher (Hunter Devall) than he normally does on road trips for, likely, this purpose.

Know Your Opponent

  • Auburn is somewhat on the NCAA regional bubble. The Tigers have an RPI of 22, but they finished the SEC regular season with a 13-17 league record. Rocky McCord lasted just two innings against LSU earlier this season, allowing six hits and six runs in just two innings in a 6-2 LSU win in the rubber match of the regular season series between the two teams.

Lineups

LSU

  • Mark Laird, RF
  • Jake Fraley, LF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Conner Hale, 3B
  • Kade Scivicque, C
  • Andrew Stevenson, CF
  • Chris Chinea, 1B
  • Chris Sciambra, DH
  • Jared Foster, 2B

Auburn

  • Anfernee Grier, CF
  • Melvin Gray, 2B
  • Damon Haecker, RF
  • Daniel Robert, 1B
  • Blake Logan, C
  • Alex Polston, 3B
  • Jordan Ebert, DH
  • Cody Nulph, SS
  • Jackson Burgreen, LF

LSU with five on All-SEC first team, including freshman RHP Alex Lange

Alex Lange made first team Al-SEC. (Angela Major)

Alex Lange made first team Al-SEC. (Angela Major)

Half of LSU’s starting lineup is All-Southeastern Conference, and so is its No. 2 pitcher.

Catcher Kade Scivicque, outfielder Andrew Stevenson, third baseman Conner Hale, shortstop Alex Bregman and freshman starter Alex Lange made the All-SEC first team released Monday.

Paul Mainieri was named SEC Coach of the Year, and Lange is the fifth LSU player to be named SEC Freshman of the Year. It’s the 14th time an LSU coach was named to that honor and the second for Mainieri.

LSU’s five players on the first team is the most of any other team, out-distancing Arkansas’ two. The teams are voted on by league coaches.

First baseman Chris Chinea, and his team-leading 11 home runs, made the second team All-SEC, and Mark Laird, Scivicque, Bregman and Stevenson landed on the All-SEC Defensive Team.

Arkansas’ Andrew Benintendi was named the SEC Player of the Year and Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer is the SEC Pitcher of the Year.

Lange, a Missouri native, grabbed an All-SEC honor in his rookie season. He capped a 10-0 regular season with a nine-strikeout performance in a start at Missouri on Saturday. He’s just one of five LSU freshman pitchers to reach a 10-0 mark. He finished the regular season – 13 starts – with a 2.11 ERA and struck out 91 to 35 walks, helping the Tigers secure a 16th SEC championship in program history.

Bregman, a projected top-10 first round pick in June’s MLB draft, picked up his third All-SEC honor in three years. Bregman, batting .329 with a .977 fielding percentage, made second team last year and first team as a freshman.

Scivicque is batting .363 with five home runs. He’s made the 20-man cut for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation’s best college catcher, and is a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, an award for the top college baseball players.

The speedy Stevenson is known most for his diving web gems in center field, but he’s stolen 22 of 28 bases and is hitting .360. Hale is hitting .363 and has made just six errors in 53 games – most of them at the hot corner.

Paul Mainieri: LSU assistant Will Davis would be “tremendous” for head job at UNO

Will Davis would be a "tremendous" hire at UNO, coach Paul Mainieri said. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Will Davis would be a “tremendous” hire at UNO, coach Paul Mainieri said. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Longtime LSU assistant coach Will Davis would be a “tremendous selection” to take over at UNO, coach Paul Mainieri said Monday at the Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon.

UNO coach Ron Maestri is retiring after a two-year second stint with the program. Mainieri is pushing for his eight-year assistant Davis and, also, current UNO and former LSU player Blake Dean to get the open Southland Conference gig.

“I think he’s ready for a head coaching job,” Mainieri said of Davis. “I think he would be a tremendous selection. Another candidate is Blake Dean, who’s on the (UNO) staff. I think there’s two phenomenal candidates right there.”

Davis, a former LSU catcher under Mainieri and former coach Smoke Laval, has served as LSU’s volunteer assistant coach for the last eight seasons after a one-year stint as the team’s director of baseball operations.

“I think he’s an outstanding candidate,” Mainieri said. “Will has been an amazingly loyal, hard-working, competent coach. I’ve watched him grow with each passing year. He possess all of the qualities that it takes to be successful. I hope they give him the strongest consideration. I think he’d do a tremendous job for a school I love dearly.”

Davis has tutored outfielders, catchers and taught base running for the Tigers. He’s coached third base, too. Davis has been instrumental this season in developing former junior college player and current LSU starting catcher Kade Scivicque.

Scivicque made the 20-man cut for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation’s best college catcher, and is a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, an award for the top college baseball player.

Dean, a former All-SEC first baseman for the Tigers, just completed his first season as a full-time assistant coach at UNO. He was a volunteer coach last season and served as an undergraduate assistant at LSU in 2013.

Poll Speak Monday

Austin Bain helped LSU take the series at Carolina.

Austin Bain helped LSU take the series at Carolina.

Each Monday, you can track the Tigers in the polls as the rankings are released. 

LSU went 3-1 last week, beating UNO and taking two of three at South Carolina.

Polls

RPI

(previous week’s ranking)

On Deck

  • Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. vs. Auburn or Kentucky
  • Thursday, after the 4:30 p.m. game (with Wednesday win)
  • Thursday, after the 9:30 a.m. game (with Wednesday loss)

Around The SEC: SEC tournament bracket set

Around The SEC brings you results and standings after each weekend of SEC baseball action. Series winners are in bold. Series sweepers are initalicized-bold.

  • LSU at South Carolina
  • Vanderbilt at Alabama
  • Kentucky at Missouri
  • Tennessee vs. Mississippi State
  • Florida vs. Auburn
  • Arkansas at Georgia
  • Texas A&M at Ole Miss*

* split two games

Final SEC Standings (click to enlarge)

standings

SEC tournament bracket (click to enlarge)

bracket

Pregame: LSU vs. South Carolina (G3)

LSU coach Paul Mainieri, right, and former LSU golfer and PGA pro David Toms talk before Saturday's game. Toms will remain in LSU's dugout for the game after making the 90-minute drive from a PGA tour even in Charlotte, N.C.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri, right, and former LSU golfer and PGA pro David Toms talk before Saturday’s game. Toms will remain in LSU’s dugout for the game after making the 90-minute drive from a PGA tour even in Charlotte, N.C.

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina – 

General Info

  • What: LSU (45-9, 20-8) vs. South Carolina (32-23, 13-16)
  • When: 7 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Carolina Stadium, Columbia, SC
  • Starting pitchers: LSU Fr. RHP Alex Lange (9-0, 2.13 ERA) vs. USC  So. RHP Taylow Widener (1-4, 4.03)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Online: ESPN3.com
  • In-game updates on Twitter: @DellengerAdv
  • On deck: at SEC Tournament, Wednesday
  • In the hole: at SEC Tournament, Thursday

Links To Know

What’s At Stake

  • The Tigers can win a regular season championship with a victory over South Carolina. It would be the 16th regular season title in school history and the third under coach Paul Mainieri. Here’s the thing – the Tigers can win the SEC title before first pitch. If Vanderbilt loses to Alabama (a 3:30 p.m. start), LSU would win the league no matter of the result Saturday night. If Vandy wins, the Tigers will have to win Saturday night to take the conference crown.

What To Watch

  • Hitting fools: LSU has a combined 30 hits in the first two games in this series (15 in each game). That’s the fourth time this LSU team has had 30 or more hits in back-to-back SEC games this season (twice against Mississippi State, at Arkansas and vs. Ole Miss). They need at least 16 hits tonight to make this their best hitting three-game SEC series of the season.

    Alex Lange will pitch tonight for LSU. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

    Alex Lange will pitch tonight for LSU. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

  • Old Alex: Old Alex Lange re-emerged in his last start last week against Missouri. He shook of a month of so-so starting nods, flashing signs of the freshman LSU fans saw in February and in March. Can he do it twice in a row? And will he get the chance to go far in the game? LSU could win the SEC title if Vanderbilt losses before the Tigers’ game starts.
  • Fresh pen: Everyone in LSU’s bullpen – save Jake Godfrey – is available for Saturday night’s game. That could bode well if Mainieri wants Lange to go only 4-5 innings. LSU’s time at the SEC tournament begins Wednesday. Mainieri might want Lange available for Game 2 on Thursday or, at least, Game 3 on Friday. Godfrey, who pitched Thursday, has some soreness in his shoulder, but everyone else is good to go, including Parker Bugg. He threw just 21 pitches in 1.2 innings Friday night. Mainieri hasn’t used Zac Person, Jesse Stallings and Alden Cartwright. Hunter Newman threw just 16 pitches Thursday.

Know Your Opponent

  • South Carolina is in trouble. The Gamecocks really need a series win over LSU to have a shot at advancing to an NCAA regional. Taylor Widener has 41 strikeouts to 19 walks. He’s made just two other SEC starts, lasing 5 innings and 3.1 innings in those nods.

Lineups

LSU

  • Chris Sciambra, DH
  • Jake Fraley, LF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Conner Hale, 3B
  • Kade Scivicque, C
  • Andrew Stevenson, CF
  • Chris Chinea, 1B
  • Mark Laird, RF
  • Jared Foster, 2B

South Carolina

  • Gene Cone, CF
  • Max Schrock, 2B
  • Kyle Martin, 1B
  • Elliott Caldwell, RF
  • Alex Destino, DH
  • Hunter Taylor, C
  • DC Arendas, 3B
  • Marcus Mooney, SS
  • Clark Scolamiero, LF

Kade Scivicque reels in more honors; LSU accepting ticket requests for NCAA regionals

Catcher Kade Scivicque, a former junior college player from Maurepas, is a semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy and the Johnny Bench Award.

Kade Scivicque is reeling in the honors. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Kade Scivicque is reeling in the honors. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Freshman pitcher Alex Lange joins Scivicque as one of 33 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, an award given to the nation’s top college baseball player. Scivicque made the 20-man cut for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation’s best college catcher.

Scivicque, a senior who’s batting .369 and at one point had a 23-game hitting streak, is also one of three LSU players on the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award.

Dick Howser Trophy finalists will be announced June 10. A winner will be announced June 12. The SEC leads the nation with eight semifinalists for the award.

The Johnny Bench Award  finalists will be announced June 2, and a final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series.

NCAA regional tickets

LSU is taking requests from season ticket holders for NCAA postseason at Alex Box Stadium.

The top-ranked Tigers (44-9), most feel, have secured a top eight NCAA national seed, meaning they’ll host a regional and a super regional, if they advance past regionals.

Regional sites are announced at 8 p.m. May 24. NCAA regionals are May 29-June 1. Super regionals are June 5-8.

Season ticket holders may log-on to their online account at www.LSUTIX.net, or call the LSU ticket office at (225)578-2184, or toll free at (800)960-8587 to reserve tickets. At this time, season ticket holders will be paying just a $1 processing fee to use their credit card to reserve tickets. Should LSU be announced as a host site for either the regional or super regional round, the credit card submitted for the reservation will automatically be charged the full ticket price, plus an applicable processing fee.

Regional ticket books are $100 for Suites, Tiger Terrace, and Champion’s Club; $75 for Gold Field box, Gold Grandstand, and Grandstand seating; and $50 for bleachers and standing room only. Super Regional ticket books will be $60 for Suites, Tiger Terrace, and Champion’s Club; $45 for Gold Field Box, Gold Grandstand, and Grandstand seating; and $50 for bleachers and standing room only.

Season ticket holders will have until 5 p.m. on May 25 to submit their reservations for the regional round and until 5 p.m. on June 2 to submit super regional reservations. If available, regional all-session books will go on sale to the general public at 8 a.m. on May 28.