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Story Archives: LSU baseball - a wild ride
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|LSU baseball - a wild ride|
I've seen some amazing turnarounds from one season to the next through the years. I don't know that I have ever seen anything like what this LSU baseball team has done this season.
You would have had trouble paying people to go to a game in March.
You had people hanging from trees and standing on railroads in June.
Let's face it, losses to Indiana, Stetson and Southeastern Louisiana by early March did not have anyone making plans for Omaha.
The Tigers were swept by Tennessee in their SEC opener and finished the first half of the SEC season with a 6-8-1 record with little or no chance to make the SEC tournament.
The Tigers went 15-0 in the second half of the SEC season, undefeated in the SEC tournament and entered Super Regional play on a 23-game winning streak. After they lost the first game to UC-Irvine 11-5 and was three outs away from losing the second game of the Super Regional, this amazing bunch scored seven runs in the last two innings including five runs in the top of the ninth to defeat the Anteaters 9-7.
Monday the Anteaters should have called in sick after the Tigers pounded them, 21-7.
Credit a bunch of young kids growing up pretty fast and some junior college guys stepping up big time.
Senior pitcher Jared Bradford has obviously benefitted from the offensive production and is showing a lot of confidence on the mound.
Junior college transfers who have made a difference include pitcher Jordan Brown, who attended Meridian Community College, Matt Clark of Riverside (Cal.) Community College, Derek Helenihi of Ohlone College, Blake Martin of Birmingham-Southern and Ryan Verdugo Skagit College in Mount Vernon Washington.
Verdugo's teammates call him "Dugi." Tiger fans call him a welcome addition after some of the debacles on the pitching mound the last two or three years.
Clark, whose father, Terry, pitched for the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros and five other teams, looks a lot like former Boston Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski at the plate.
Paul Mainieri has been phenomenal stepping in for Smoke Laval, who brought the program to its knees.
Mainieri talked guys like Blake Dean of Fort Walton Beach, who was considered the top prospect in Florida by a number of folks, into coming to Baton Rouge.
Freshman Johnny Dishon, who did a great job in relief of Leon Landry after the exciting centerfielder left Monday's game with a cut below his eye trying to make another spectacular catch.
Along with Jared Mitchell and Chad Jones, Dison is considered one of the top athletes on the baseball team as he rushed for 1,100 yards and passed for 600 as a senior at Bridge City (Texas) High School.
And just think if Jones had not been academically ineligible for baseball how much better this team would be, although I don't know where they would have put him.
Freshman Michael Gibbs did not play high school baseball as a senior because he had just transferred to Pflugerville (Texas) High. His father, Glenn, was a catcher at Kansas State.
Freshman Anthony Ranaudo of New Jersey loves paintball and does a great job of painting the corners of home plate.
And D.J. LeMahieu has certainly lived up to his billing as senior Michael Hollander was moved to third base even before the first pitch.
LeMahieu was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Michigan, and while those folks will tell you they didn't want Les Miles, you can bet they regret not having LeMahieu.
It's been a wild ride.
And now it's back to Alex Box North for even more thrills.
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