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Pregame: LSU vs. Rice, Baton Rouge regional championship

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Antoine Duplantis (20) and Kramer Robertson (3) celebrate with Greg Deichmann (7) and Beau Jordan (24) after scoring on Deichmann's in the park grand slam in the first inning in Game 4 of the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional between LSU and Rice

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK — Antoine Duplantis (20) and Kramer Robertson (3) celebrate with Greg Deichmann (7) and Beau Jordan (24) after scoring on Deichmann’s in the park grand slam in LSU’s 4-2 win against Rice on Sunday

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. Check back for any additional updates.

  • When: 7 p.m. Monday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 10. Rice is ranked No. 21 in D1Baseball.com’s poll.
  • Projected Starters: LSU Fr. RH Caleb Gilbert (4-4, 4.64 ERA) vs. Rice So. RHP Dane Myers (1-2, 6.41 ERA)
  • TV: ESPNU, but the network may cut away  to show other games
  • Streaming:  Available uninterrupted online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @Chandler_Rome@RabalaisAdv@RossDellenger

From Last Night

What to Watch

Caleb’s Calm: This isn’t Caleb Gilbert’s first high-leverage situation — not by a long shot. With patches of family, friends and churchgoers packing his hometown Hoover Met, Gilbert threw admirably in the SEC tournament semifinals against Florida, allowing five hits across 5.2 innings of one-run baseball. Known as the smartest player on the team and one of its most poised, the true freshman had no trouble keeping his emotions level while pitching one mile from his high school.

Gilbert thrives on weak contact and keeping the ball low, spreading in strikeouts on his wipeout slider. Rice had a field day against Southeastern pitching — tattooing it for 16 hits — so he’ll face a lefty-heavy lineup that’s riding high.

LINEUPS

LSU

  1. Antoine Duplantis (RF)
  2. Jake Fraley (CF)
  3. Kramer Robertson (SS)
  4. Jordan Romero (DH)
  5. Greg Deichmann (1B)
  6. Beau Jordan (LF)
  7. Chris Reid (3B)
  8. Mike Papierski (C)
  9. Cole Freeman (2B)

Caleb Gilbert (RHP)

RICE

  1. Charlie Warren (RF)
  2. Grayson Lewis (2B)
  3. Ford Proctor (SS)
  4. Connor Teykl (3B)
  5. Tristan Gray (1B)
  6. Ryan Chandler (CF)
  7. Dominic DiCaprio (DH)
  8. Dayne Wunderlich (LF)
  9. Hunter Kopycinski (C)

Dane Myers (RHP)

 

Rain halts LSU-Rice in the sixth inning with Tigers up 4-2; game to resume at 9:20

Greg Deichmann reacts while umpires debate his inside the park grand slam (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Greg Deichmann reacts while umpires debate his inside the park grand slam (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Play was halted between LSU and Rice in the top of the sixth inning with the Tigers ahead 4-2 after a wild first inning — both from the mound and plate.

Rice starter Jon Duplantier, the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year who came into Sunday’s game with 143 strikeouts in 106 innings, walked three of the first four hitters he faced in an abysmal, 42-pitch first inning that later gave a lesson on the Alex Box Stadium ground rules.

With the bases full of Duplantier’s walks, LSU first baseman Greg Deichmann roped a two-strike fastball down the first base line. The ball settled under the bullpen bench, where Owls right fielder Charlie Warren attempted to pick it up before signaling into the infield that it was unplayable.

The Alex Box Stadium ground rule reads: “If the ball goes under the bullpen bench and remains under the bench, the ball is dead … unless the defensive player goes in to retrieve it. A ball that goes under the bench and comes out remains alive.”

Deichmann was originally given a two-RBI ground-rule double, but after a vehement protest from LSU coach Paul Mainieri, the umpires conversed and called it an inside-the-park grand slam, putting the Tigers up 4-0.

LSU starter Alex Lange cruised through four shutout innings, landing his curveball with regularity to pair with a fastball that topped at 95 mph.

Grayson Lewis sent his third pitch of the fifth inning deep into the left field bleachers for a solo home run and Ford Proctor, Rice’s dynamite freshman shortstop, sent the final pitch before the delay into the left-center field gap for an RBI double to make it 4-2.

Lange, who added six strikeouts, threw 72 pitches before the delay.

Duplantier regained his advertised form to fire four no-hit innings following his first inning, but went into the delay at 103 pitches — only 54 of which were thrown for strikes.

When play resumes, Tristan Gray will be at the plate with one out, representing the tying run,

Pregame: LSU vs. Rice, Baton Rouge regional

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU starting pitcher Alex Lange (35), right, walks to the mound as his teammates take part in a pregame ritual before taking the field against Florida, Thursday

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK — LSU starting pitcher Alex Lange (35), right, walks to the mound as his teammates take part in a pregame ritual before taking the field against Florida, Thursday

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. Check back for any additional updates.

  • When: Fifty-five minutes after the conclusion of Southeastern-Utah Valley
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 10. Rice is ranked No. 21 in D1Baseball.com’s poll.
  • Projected Starters: LSU So. RH Alex Lange (7-3, 3.56 ERA) vs. Rice Jr. RHP Jon Duplantier (7-6, 3.06 ERA)
  • TV: None
  • Streaming:  Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @Chandler_Rome@RabalaisAdv@RossDellenger

Pregame Reading

What to Watch:

Duplantier Duel: Rice coach Wayne Graham likened Duplantier, his ace, to the Owls’ adversary — LSU righty Alex Lange — following Rice’s 7-2 victory against Southeastern Louisiana. Duplantier is the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year, using a mid-90s fastball and power breaking ball to amass 143 strikeouts in 106 innings.

Sound familiar?

Both pitchers possess similar repertoires. Command will determine who has a more effective outing. Lange’s got 45 walks in 98.2 innings while Duplantier’s issued 41 free passes in 106 innings. Remember, too, that this LSU offense does not strike out often (4.8 times per game). It will make Duplantier throw his breaking ball for strikes while hunting the fastball early in counts.

Alex’s Aces: After consecutive starts against Florida stalwarts Logan Shore and A.J. Puk, Lange gets Duplantier.

Such is the life of an ace.

Lange thrives on facing top-flight competition and says it raises his game when an opposing pitcher is matching him. That could be the case in LSU’s all-important “marble game.”

LINEUPS

LSU

  1. Antoine Duplantis (RF)
  2. Jake Fraley (CF)
  3. Kramer Robertson (SS)
  4. Bryce Jordan (DH)
  5. Greg Deichmann (1B)
  6. Beau Jordan (LF)
  7. Chris Reid (3B)
  8. Mike Papierski (C)
  9. Cole Freeman (2B)

Alex Lange (RHP)

RICE

  1. Charlie Warren (RF)
  2. Ryan Chandler (CF)
  3. Ford Proctor (SS)
  4. Tristan Gray (1B)
  5. Connor Teykl (3B)
  6. Grayson Lewis (2B)
  7. Dominic DiCaprio (DH)
  8. Dayne Wunderlich (LF)
  9. Hunter Kopycinski (C)

Jon Duplantier (RHP)

 

 

LSU’s second game of the Baton Rouge regional delayed until Sunday

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LSU’s Baton Rouge regional winners bracket game scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. has been delayed until Sunday. A time was not immediately announced.

The Tigers, which won the regional opener 7-1 against Utah Valley late Friday night, will play the winner of Saturday’s Rice-Southeastern Louisiana game, which is currently in a rain delay.

The Owls lead 4-1 after six innings.

This story will be updated.

After a five-hour delay, LSU and Utah Valley will begin at 8:34 p.m.; Southeastern-Rice postponed

LSU and Utah Valley are in a weather delay.

LSU and Utah Valley are in a weather delay.

The opener of the Baton Rouge regional between LSU and Utah Valley was delayed after storms passed through Alex Box Stadium Friday afternoon.

At 6 p.m., LSU announced the second game of the regional — No. 2 seed Rice against No. 3 seed Southeastern — was postponed until Saturday. One hour later, a start time of 8:34 was rendered for the Tigers and Wolverines.

LSU tarped the field at 11:25 a.m. and it remained in place for more than two hours, absorbing a heavy storm that passed through just before noon.

The tarp was set to be removed just before 1:00, but lightning was detected in the area. A 30-minute clock resets each time lightning is detected within a 10-mile radius of the ballpark.

LSU announced at 1:52 p.m. the game was in a lightning advisory and it was hoping to get the game “started as soon as possible.”

This story will be updated.

 

Pregame: LSU vs. Utah Valley, Baton Rouge regional

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Jared Poche gets the ball to open the 2016 Baton Rouge regional

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. Check back for any additional updates.

  • When: 2:00 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 10. Utah Valley is not ranked.
  • Projected Starters: LSU Jr. LHP Jared Poche’ (7-4, 3.61 ERA) vs. Utah Valley Sr. RHP Danny Beddes (9-3, 4.33 ERA)
  • TV: None
  • Streaming:  Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @Chandler_Rome

Pregame Reading

What to Watch

Rain: Rain is expected throughout the day. No plans or alterations have been made to Friday’s schedule, but Paul Mainieri said Thursday he has an ‘alternative’ pitching plan if forecasts just before the game indicate it may be stopped. You can read what he said here.

Veteran Takes Charge: At the very least, LSU will have six players in its starting lineup today with no regional experience. Kramer Robertson and Mike Papierski saw bits of action in the last two seasons, but the team that doesn’t like to be called young is again facing questions. Enter Jared Poche, a 25-game winner who has started regional, super regional and College World Series games. Poche started the Tigers’ 2014 regional opener against Southeastern, where he permitted four runs across six innings. He admitted Thursday that he was a bit “out of control.” Now with more seasoning, Poche will be tasked with setting a tone and steadying the inexperienced team behind him.

Big Beddes: Danny Beddes is 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. He is an imposing, power right-hander who is Utah Valley’s senior ace. Beddes has had issues commanding the ball — he has 51 walks and 13 hit batsmen in 99.2 innings — but his 96 strikeouts are indicative of his repertoire. LSU does not strike out and is, usually, very selective at the plate. Regional jitters may get them a bit antsy, but if the Tigers can lay off bad pitches and force Beddes to find the strike zone, they can set themselves up for success.

LINEUPS

LSU

  1. Antoine Duplantis (RF)
  2. Jake Fraley (CF)
  3. Kramer Robertson (SS)
  4. Chris Reid (3B)
  5. Bryce Jordan (DH)
  6. Beau Jordan (LF)
  7. Greg Deichmann (1B)
  8. Mike Papierski (C)
  9. Cole Freeman (2B)

Jared Poche (LHP)

UTAH VALLEY

  1. Trevor Howell (2B)
  2. Zac Willis (C)
  3. Greyson Bogden (SS)
  4. Craig Brinkerhoff (LF)
  5. Mark Krueger (RF)
  6. Spencer Gothberg (1B)
  7. Stone Ramsey (DH)
  8. Justin Erlandson (CF)
  9. Jordan Schlehuber (3B)

Danny Beddes (RHP)

LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson named Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American, Brooks Wallace Award semifinalist

(HILARY SCHEINUK)

Kramer Robertson was named a Second Team All-American on Thursday. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Kramer Robertson, who shifted from second base to shortstop early in the season, was named a second team Louisville Slugger All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper Thursday.

The only shortstop named to the second team, Robertson hit .316 with 75 hits and 36 RBI. He posted a .953 fielding percentage while going 14-for-18 stealing bases, entrenching his spot as LSU’s No. 3 hitter while starting all 60 games.

The McGregor, Texas native was named to the Brooks Wallace Award midseason watch list, given to the nation’s top shortstop, and was named First-Team All-SEC at the position.

Hours after getting the All-American honor, Robertson was named one of 11 semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, joining Florida’s Dalton Guthrie as the only two SEC representatives. The award will be presented July 2 in Lubbock, Texas.

Kent State lefty Eric Lauer, who was 10-2 with a 0.69 ERA in 104 innings, was named Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year.

Southeastern Louisiana’s Jameson Fisher, the nation’s leading hitter who will play this weekend in the Baton Rouge regional, was named a first-team selection.

You can view the full All-American team here. You can view the list of Brooks Wallace Award semifinalists here

 

Pregame: LSU vs. Florida, SEC Tournament Semifinals

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Caleb Gilbert (41) pitches against Tulane on Tuesday, March 29

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK — Caleb Gilbert (41) pitches against Tulane on Tuesday, March 29

HOOVER, Alabama — The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. Check back for any additional updates.

  • When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
  • Rankings: No. 5 seed LSU is ranked as high as No. 8 and as low as No. 10. No. 4 seed Florida is ranked as high as No. 1 and as low as No. 3
  • Projected Starters: LSU Fr. RHP Caleb Gilbert (4-3, 5.11 ERA) vs. Florida So. LHP Scott Moss (2-0, 2.20 ERA)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Streaming:  Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @Chandler_Rome@RabalaisAdv

Pregame Reading

What to Watch

Hometown Hurler: Caleb Gilbert assured reporters Friday that pitching in his hometown, 1.4 miles from his high school, wouldn’t overwhelm him. He displays inordinate poise for a 19-year-old and his teammates hail him as the most intelligent person on the team, but even Paul Mainieri said he’d be a bit nervous once he took the mound.

“If he’s not,” Mainieri joked, “he’s probably not breathing.”

Gilbert faced this Florida lineup last week and, after a rough first inning that was marked by a one-out walk, he mowed through the Gators in 4.1 innings. Getting ahead in the count to set up the wipeout slider will be key for the former closer. And, of course, managing his emotions.

Who’s on Third? Chris Reid fell ill during the eighth inning of Thursday’s 6-2 win against Mississippi State. Mainieri pulled him for Trey Dawson and Reid didn’t join the team during its off-day activities yesterday. Mainieri said he hoped Reid’s illness was just a “24-hour thing” and he’d be ready to play today. Reid’s been one of LSU’s most patient hitters in the middle of its order, taking at-bats deep into the count and running pitch counts up. He possesses an uncanny ability to spoil bad pitches and his pitch selection is among the best on a team that, as it is, does not strike out. Missing him could give the Tigers a big hole to fill in their lineup.

Reid was a full participant in LSU’s batting practice at Hoover High School before the game and was in the Tigers’ starting lineup, which is listed below.

LINEUPS

LSU

  1. Antoine Duplantis (RF)
  2. Jake Fraley (CF)
  3. Kramer Robertson (SS)
  4. Bryce Jordan (DH)
  5. Chris Reid (3B)
  6. Beau Jordan (LF)
  7. Greg Deichmann (1B)
  8. Mike Papierski (C)
  9. Cole Freeman (2B)

Caleb Gilbert (RHP)

FLORIDA

  1. Buddy Reed (CF)
  2. Dalton Guthrie (SS)
  3. JJ Schwarz (1B)
  4. Mike Rivera (C)
  5. Jonathan India (3B)
  6. Deacon Liput (2B)
  7. Danny Reyes (LF)
  8. Jeremy Vasquez (DH)
  9. Nelson Maldonado (RF)

Scott Moss (LHP_

LSU will retire former slugger Todd Walker’s jersey in 2017

LSU coach Skip Bertman walking off the field with College World Series MVP Todd Walker (12) (ADVOCATE FILE PHOTO by Travis Spradling)

LSU coach Skip Bertman walking off the field with College World Series MVP Todd Walker (12) (ADVOCATE FILE PHOTO by Travis Spradling)

Todd Walker, who finished his three-year LSU career with a .396 batting average and played 11 Major League seasons, will become the fourth person LSU baseball history to have his jersey retired.

The school announced Friday that the Hall of Fame Committee voted unanimously to retire Walker’s No. 12 jersey prior to a 2017 game in Alex Box Stadium. The exact date is not yet known.

Walker, a Bossier City native, left Baton Rouge as the SEC’s all-time leader in hits (310), runs (234), RBI (246) and total bases (557). The 1993 SEC Player of the Year was a two-time finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the country, and was drafted eighth overall in the 1994 MLB Draft.

“Todd Walker epitomizes the values that we promote at LSU,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement. “He is in the College Baseball Hall of Fame, and his exploits as one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game are well-documented. What is even more impressive is his commitment to education, as he completed his LSU degree requirements while he was an active Major League player. He generously donates his time and energy to charitable causes, and he is a tremendous ambassador for our university. We look forward to having his jersey number take its place among those of LSU legends.”

Walker, who will join his coach Skip Bertman, Ben McDonald and Eddy Furniss among the retired jerseys at Alex Box Stadium, was a part of the 1993 national championship team, where he was named the College World Series’ Most Outstanding Player. He was named to the CWS Legends Team in 2010

Recently named a baseball analyst on the SEC Network, Walker played for seven teams during his Major League career. He was inducted into the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Including Walker, eleven LSU athletes or coach to have their jerseys retired — Furniss, Bertman and McDonald, Bob Pettit, Pete Maravich, Rudy Macklin, Shaquille O’Neal, Billy Cannon, Tommy Casanova and Seimone Augustus.

Pregame Blog: LSU vs. Mississippi State, SEC Tournament

Kramer Robertson celebrates scoring what was then the go-ahead run in last night's 5-3 win against Florida

Kramer Robertson celebrates scoring what was then the go-ahead run in last night’s 5-3 win against Florida

HOOVER, Alabama — The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. Check back for any additional updates.

  • When: 8 p.m. Thursday
  • Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
  • Rankings: No. 5 seed LSU is ranked as high as No. 8 and as low as No. 10. No. 1 seed Mississippi State is ranked as high as No. 1 and as low as No. 3
  • Projected Starters: LSU Jr. LHP Jared Poche (6-4, 3.81 ERA) vs. Mississippi State Jr. RHP Dakota Hudson (9-3, 2.29 ERA)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Streaming:  Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @Chandler_Rome@RabalaisAdv

About Last Night

What to Watch

Dakota’s Dealing: Hudson’s thrown a complete game shutout in each of his last two appearances, albeit against SEC cellar-dwellers Auburn and Arkansas. LSU hit Hudson well a month ago in a 12-8 loss in Baton Rouge, tagging the righty with a Craig Kimbrel-esque stance for 12 hits and seven earned runs — both season highs. It’s becoming trite to detail the Tigers’ success against top-flight talent, so just know the young, scrappy team won’t be daunted by another first-round arm.

Starting Early: In its two wins in Hoover, LSU hasn’t scored a run in the first six innings, instead opting to stage late-game heroics to pull itself back into ballgames. The Tigers are finding themselves adept at winning one-run games — they’ve won seven in their last 14 — but getting out to an early cushion would aid starter Jared Poche, who hasn’t been his typical self lately.

LINEUPS

LSU

  1. Antoine Duplantis (RF)
  2. Jake Fraley (CF)
  3. Kramer Robertson (SS)
  4. Chris Reid (3B)
  5. Bryce Jordan (DH)
  6. Beau Jordan (LF)
  7. Greg Deichmann (1B)
  8. Mike Papierski (C)
  9. Cole Freeman (2B)

Jared Poche (LHP)

MISSISSIPPI STATE

  1. Jake Mangum (RF)
  2. Jack Kruger (C)
  3. Gavin Collins (3B)
  4. Brent Rooker (DH)
  5. Nathaniel Lowe (1B)
  6. Reid Humphreys (LF)
  7. Jacob Robson (CF)
  8. Ryan Gridley (SS)
  9. Hunter Stovall (2B)

Dakota Hudson (RHP)