All posts by Scott Rabalais

Scott Rabalais is a sports columnist and sports writer for The Advocate. A Baton Rouge native, he began working at the paper in 1991 and has covered LSU athletics since 1992.

LSU to start Jared Poche in CWS opener against TCU

OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri announced Friday he will start sophomore left-hander Jared Poche in the Tigers’ College World Series opener against TCU.

Poche is 9-1 with a 2.91 earned run average. In two starts in the NCAA Tournament, the Lutcher native is 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA after a string of rocky starts late in the season.

Mainieri likely chose Poche to start over freshman righty Alex Lange (11-0, 1.89) because of TCU’s lefty-dominated batting order. Five of the Horned Frogs regular starters bat from the left side.

Lange would be expected to start LSU’s second CWS game Tuesday.

TCU will start senior right-hander Preston Morrison (11-3, 2.55), the Horned Frogs top pitcher in victories this season.

The LSU-TCU game will be at 2 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.

TCU: A quick look  

TCU Horned Frogs

National seed: 7

Record: 49-13 (18-5 Big 12)

CWS appearances: 3 (2010, 2014, 2015)

CWS record: 4-4

The road to Omaha: Beat Sacred Heart 10-0, lost to N.C. State 5-4, beat Stony Brook 8-3, beat N.C. State 8-2, beat N.C. State 9-8, beat Texas A&M 13-4, lost to Texas A&M 2-1, beat Texas A&M 5-4.

Top hitter: Sr. OF Cody Jones (.371, 5 HRs, 33 RBIs)

Top pitcher: Sr. RHP Preston Morrison (11-3, 2.55 ERA)

Quick hits: TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle was once an assistant at Tulane and coached LSU SS Alex Bregman on Team USA in 2013. … TCU junior pitcher Preston Guillory is a Baton Rouge native and attended Live Oak HS. … Jones was named Big 12 player of the year. … TCU is one of three teams returning from the 2014 CWS along with Vanderbilt and Virginia.


Nola, Bregman earn honors

LSU pitcher Aaron Nola was named SEC co-pitcher and LSWA pitcher of the week for his three-hit complete game shutout of Alabama on Friday.

Nola shared the SEC honor with Ole Miss’ pitcher Bobby Wahl.

Nola (7-0, 2.15 ERA) leads the SEC in strikeouts with 82. The sophomore right-hander ranks fourth in SEC in wins, innings pitched (71) and opponent batting average (.193).

Meanwhile, LSU freshman Alex Bregman was named Monday as a quarterfinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, given annually to the nation’s best shortstop.

The Albuquerque native leads LSU with a .414 batting average with 11 doubles, seven triples, five home runs and 41 RBIs. He leads the SEC in batting average, hits, runs scored, total bases and triples.

Bregman has also been invited to join Team USA for its 33-game international tour this summer.

LSU (37-4, 15-3 SEC) returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at home against Tulane.


LSU to audition National Anthem singers Aug. 25

Ever dreamed of singing the National Anthem at Alex Box Stadium or in the PMAC? Well, here’s your chance.

Open auditions for national anthem singers are scheduled Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at LSU in the Recital Hall of the School of Music building, located at the corner of Dalrymple and Infirmary drives.

Auditions are for individuals or groups interested in singing the anthem at various athletic events on campus – but not football games.

LSU faculty, staff and students, along with members of the public, can take part in the auditions.

For more information or questions, contact the LSU Athletics Marketing and Promotions Office at (225) 578-6884 or email


Closer look at LSU season stats

Though it may be hard to believe given how anemic LSU’s offense looked in the recently completed NCAA super regional against Stony Brook, the Tigers’ hitting didn’t fare too badly on offense compared with the rest of the SEC.

Through the super regionals, LSU ranked first in the SEC with 397 runs scored in 65 games and fourth in batting at .285, behind only Auburn (.304), Ole Miss (.296) and Kentucky (.294).

Of the three SEC teams in the College World Series, only Florida with 386 runs in 65 games stands a likely chance of passing LSU in that category. Arkansas scored 339 runs in 64 games and South Carolina scored 332 in 62 games.

Conversely, LSU’s team ERA probably isn’t quite as high as might have been expected considering pitching is considered such a team strength. The Tigers rank fifth in the SEC with a 3.25 ERA, well off the league-leading pace of 2.58 by Mississippi State.

LSU also leads the SEC in fielding at .980, one point ahead of South Carolina and Florida.


Rhymes is Howser Trophy finalist

LSU left fielder Raph Rhymes was named Thursday as one of three finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, one of the major national player of the year awards.

The other two finalists are Florida catcher Mike Zunino and Utah Valley first baseman Goose Kallunki.

The winner will be named Friday, June 15, the first day of the 2012 College World Series, at TD Ameritrade Park In Omaha, Neb.

Former LSU first baseman Eddy Furniss was the Tigers’ only Howser Trophy winner in 1998.

LSU-Stony Brook Super Regional game times, TV set

Game times have been set for the LSU-Stony Brook Super Regional this weekend at Alex Box Stadium, and it’s a horse race to figure out who will be less thrilled.

Is it LSU, a school where night games in all sports are part of the culture? Or is it Stony Brook, a team from Long Island, N.Y., which can’t be excited about playing in Southern daytime heat and humidity?

Either way, Game 1 is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Game 2 is 11 a.m. Saturday and Game 3 (if necessary) is at noon Sunday.

All three games will be televised on ESPN2.

Stony Brook, the No. 4 seed in the Coral Gables (Fla.) regional, qualified for its first-ever super regional Monday night with a 10-6 win over No. 2 UCF. The Seawolves clobbered regional host and perennial power Miami 10-2 in Friday’s regional opener.

This will be LSU’s ninth time in a super regional since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1999 and its sixth time to serve as a super regional host site.

The Tigers have won all five of their previous home super regionals, most recently beating Rice in two games en route to the 2009 College World Series title.


Kevin Gausman goes 4th to Baltimore Orioles

It’s been a long time, but the Baltimore Orioles have reopened their pitching pipeline to LSU.

The Orioles selected Tigers right-hander Kevin Gausman with the fourth overall pick Monday of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.

Gausman is the highest-drafted LSU player since Ben McDonald went with the No. 1 overall pick to the Orioles in 1989 and is the second highest-drafted LSU player ever.

A draft-eligible sophomore (Gausman turned 21 in January) from Centennial, Colo., the 6-foot-4 Gausman has been the Tigers’ ace this season. He is 11-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 115.2 innings pitched.

With former LSU center fielder Mikie Mahtook going in the first round last year to the Tampa Bay Rays, this marks the first time in program history that the Tigers have had first-round picks in back-to-back years.

Gausman is the 15th first-round pick for LSU since 1965.



Rhymes grounds out again, now at .497

LSU left fielder Raph Rhymes went after the first pitch to start the eighth inning and grounded out to second.

Unless there are extra innings, his night will likely end with a 1-for-3 effort and an average of .497 after coming into the game hitting an even .500.

Earlier, Rhymes grounded out to third, hit a sacrifice fly to left and doubled to center, extending his hitting streak to eight games.

LSU holds a precarious 4-3 lead, and is only still in front because of a couple of questionable base-running decisions by the Lions, most recently Brock Hebert getting tagged out at home trying to score when a ball trickled away from Ty Ross.

Rhymes doubles in 5th, average back to .500

LSU left fielder Raph Rhymes got his average back to .500 (71-for-142) in the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday night against SLU.

Facing an 0-2 count against new Lions relief pitcher Matt Pittari, Rhymes lobbed a shot into shallow center field. SLU center fielder Harry Slade was charging hard, but his diving attempt wasn’t good enough as the ball kicked away toward right.

Austin Nola and Tyler Moore then flied out, stranding Rhymes at second base. LSU leads 4-1 going to the sixth inning.

So far tonight, Rhymes has a ground out to third (though replays show he beat the throw), a sacrifice fly to left as part of LSU’s four-run third inning and a double.

His current hitting streak is now at eight games. Rhymes also has two nine-game hitting streaks.

More to come …