March 31, 2007

Tide wins 5-2

Alabama takes the game 5-2 to even the series at a game each. Bernard Robert got the win to improve to 4-3. Jared Bradford took the loss to drop to 4-2. Tommy Hunter picked up his third save.

Hunter redeems himself

LSU chased UA starter Bernard Robert in the eighth with a Blake Dean leadoff single and a Jake Smith fielding error to put two on with no outs. Wells went to relief ace Tommy Hunter - who Friday night allowed the three-run home run in the Crimson Tide loss. After a passed ball advanced the runners, Hunter struck out Steven Waguespack, J.T. Wise, and got a tapper back to the mound from Ryan Schimpf.

And the skies just opened up sending the fans scurrying to the exits. They are still playing as the rain falls hard.

Bama 4-2 bottom 8.

High School Showdown

LSU went to the Jared Bradford in the sixth and Alabama greeted him with a seeing-eye leadoff single by Ryan Rhoden and a bunt single by Brandon Belcher. After the runners advanced on a sacrifice, Salem was walked intentionally loading the bases for Bradford’s Hueytown, Alabama high school teammate Jake Smith. Smith blooped a single to left scoring Rhoden and Belcher.

4-2 Bama as we stretch

Matching one-spots

Alabama loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. LSU brought in Nolan Cain. Cain caught both Jeff Texada and Greg Paiml looking and got two strikes on Emeel Salem. Salem tapped a ball out in front of the plate and beat the throw to first to score a run.

LSU scored a run in the fifth with a pair of infield hits and a solid RBI single to center by Blake Dean.

Tide fans upset at "Blue"

Alabama rallied to tie the game in the third but the locals are upset about a pair of calls that went against them.

With a pair of runners on, hitter Jake Smith had a double-thump at bat. Either the bat hit the catcher's mitt - which would have been a catchers' interference and a free base - or a foul ball off the mitt. Smith and coach Jim Wells thought the bat hit the mitt but after an umpire conference, the call was foul ball.

A pitch later, the fans were upset again. As the runners tried to steal, Smith took ball four on a pitch in the dirt. The ball skipped away from catcher Robert Lara and rolled to the dugout. The runners raced around with one scoring and one reaching third. The umpires ruled that the runners could not take the extra base despite the steal attempt.

The umpires sent the runners back to their original bases. In this rare occurrence, LSU actually gained an advantage from the ball going into the dugout.

Alabama did get one run on a sac fly - but the second runner who would have been on third - sat at second for the rest of the inning.

1-1 in the 4th

Tigers strike early

LSU scored an unearned run in the first after a two-out error. Steven Waguespack got the RBI hit with a single to right.

With two outs and a runner on second in the Alabama first, Jared Mitchell raced over and took an RBI double away from Alabama on a hard-hit ball by Kent Matthes.

1-0 LSU in the 2nd

Hoping to play tonight

LSU and Alabama are all set for a 6 p.m. first pitch. It looks like we will get started, but the conditions are very windy with thunderstorms eminent. The question is when?

Bernard Robert (3-3/3.23) will start for the Crimson Tide while T.J. Forrest (1-1/3.21) goes for the Tigers.

March 30, 2007

Final LSU wins 5-4

LSU turned to Hueytown, Alabama native Jared Bradford to pitch the ninth. Bradford, the Saturday starter in SEC play the past two weeks, walked one and allowed an infield hit. The potential winning run go to second but Bradford got pinch-hitter Elvin Vargas on strikes to end it.

Shades of Chad Flack

Jake Smith slammed a home run in the 8th to stretch the Tide lead to 4-2.

Tommy Hunter has three outs to get with the bottom of the LSU lineup coming up.

Hunter walked leadoff man JT Wise and pinch-hitter Ryan Schimpf. Chris Jackson - a kicker on the LSU football team - is pinch-running at second.

Instead of bunting the tying runner to second, LSU let freshman Jared Mitchell hit. Mitchell popped the first pitch into foul territory at third. Smith made a great catch against wall for out one. After Chris McGhee moved the runners over with a groundout, Hunter got two strikes on Michael Hollander. The Tiger shortstop drove a pitch just over the wall in right for a three-run home run.

For Tide fans, it was eerily familiar to the hit that ended their season in a loss to North Carolina in the Supers when Chad Flack ended the game with a home run.

LSU leads 5-4 with Alabama coming to the plate.

Tommy "the Save" Hunter

After two walks in the eighth ended UA starter Miers Quigley's night, Tide coach Jim Wells went to the pen for Tommy Hunter.

Hunter had mixed results surrendering a run but holding the slim lead.

Sean Ochinko laced a full-count one-out RBI single to right to cut the LSU deficit to one. Hunter went full-count again to Jordan Mayer before a swinging strikeout. He followed that with three straight strikes to Steven Waguespack to end the threat.

3-2 Bama in the bottom of the 8th.

LSU rally ends Quigley's night

Miers Quigley allowed just three hits and one run (so far) through seven and a third innings. But a pair of eighth inning walks ended his night. With two on and one out, Tide coach Jim Wells just made the call to the pen for staff ace Tommy Hunter.

Hunter pitched in all three Alabama games last weekend and will be counted on to get the final five outs tonight.

3-1 Bama but LSU has a chance here with their cleanup hitter Sean Ochinko up.

Sometimes fans are pretty cool

There are times when baseball fans can get mean. Heckles that go over the top - even mean spirited. Then there those who get it.

After the seventh inning stretch here at Alabama, the Baseball SID Barry Allen sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" Harry Caray style. After he finishes his rendition, he and the marketing staff throw out free T-shirts to the crowd.

There were a few thrown out to the under the pressbox where I was sitting. A man pulled one in, smiled, and immediately handed it to a young girl who matched his smile with one ten-times larger. It wasn't his daughter. He didn't even know her. But he made her night. And most likely ... left the park feeling pretty good about himself too.

It is 3-1 here in Sewell-Thomas in the bottom of the seventh.

A gift run for the Tide

I see now why Furbush is striking everyone out. His defense has a tendency to let him down.

Alabama added an unearned run in the sixth with a two-out hit batsman, a single and an error on centerfielder Jared Mitchell, and a groundball error on shortstop Michael Hollander.

It is 3-1 Crimson Tide in the top of the seventh.

Furbush is nassssssty

LSU starter Charlie Furbush has ten strikeouts through five. He has overmatched most of the Tide hitters.

Only Emeel Salem (L3/HR) and Kent Matthes (F8/HR) have had any success at all.

Oddly enough, the game has three hits - all solo home runs.

2-1 Alabama top six.

Didn't we just see this?

Just a half inning after Charlie Furbush lost his perfect game bid with a leadoff home run, Miers Quigley lost his no-hitter as Jordan Mayer led off the fifth with a long blast to left.

2-1 Alabama in the top of the fifth

No-hitter is gone - one of em anyway

Charlie Furbush was perfect through three with five strikeouts. He couldn't have been more dominant with only one hard-hit ball - a long fly to center to lead off the second by Kent Matthes.

The second time through the Tide lineup has been a little tougher . Emeel Salem hit the first pitch of the UA fourth over the wall in right. After a walk and a caught stealing, Matthes hit another long shot to center - this one having the distance for the inning's second home run.

Speed to burn

These centerfielders can go. Alabama senior Emeel Salem leads the SEC in steals with 19 while LSU freshman Jared Mitchell is 11-11 in thefts.

What I want to see is one of these guys get on first and some gap one.

That hasn't happened yet. In fact, we've only had one baserunner in the game - an LSU walk in the second.

We go to the bottom of the third in front a strong crowd, probably 5,000 or so at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Pitchers looking good early

Alabama's Miers Quigley and LSU's Charlie Furbush pitch on Friday for a reason. College teams lead off the weekend with their top starting pitcher and each of these guys are on their game in the first inning.

Quigley already has three strikeouts as he pitches in the second. Furbush sat the Tide down in order in the first.

Both pitchers are tall southpaws with good velocity.

no score in the top of the second in Tuscaloosa

March 24, 2007

Wow, what a game

Kentucky freshman reliever James Paxton retired LSU freshman Jared Mitchell with the tying run on third to end the game. Wildcats win 6-5.

I don't think I've ever seen this

LSU's Sean Ochinko just hit an apparent two-run walkoff home run down the leftfield line. Third base umpire Jeff Head called it foul. Home plate umpire Dennis McComb called it fair. Ochinko rounded the bases as the home team and fans went nuts. As did Kentucky's bench - but for different reasons. But what was the call?

After about a ten minute discussion that seemed like an eternity, the hit was ruled foul. Ochinko stepped back in and popped to left setting off a chorus of boos.

Two outs now in the ninth.

Hold that Tiger

Hold that Tiger is playing over the PA system and the fans are clapping in unison. While many of the fans went home after a long day in the sun, the two teams are putting on a show for those of us who stuck it out.

It is the bottom of the ninth with the Tigers 2,3, & 4 hitters up. The LSU dugout is lively with guys waiving towels. There's definitely some adrenaline flowing.

This is fun folks.

Rally Cats - on both sides

Kentucky grabbed the lead in the eighth as Matt McKinney greeted reliever Louis Coleman with a leadoff triple. He scored on Brian Spear’s single through the drawn-in infied. One batter later, the freshman Jason Kipnis slammed a long home run opposite-field to left - pausing in the box to admire his handiwork. For Kipnis, it was his second home run in the series and third in five SEC games.

Continue reading "Rally Cats - on both sides" »

Tie game as we stretch

LSU's Chris McGhee has done the big damage for the Tigers. He scored in the first after a single and in the third on a solo home run. He drove in LSU’s third in the fifth on a single to left.

Kentucky just tied the game on Mike Brown's RBI single. It came after LSU leftfielder Ryan Schimpf allowed an extra base on a Antone DeJesus single - just seconds after making the catch of the day on an outstretched dive into bullpen mound. One has to wonder if Schmipf was a little gimpy after the pop he took making the highlight catch.

3-3 as the organ plays

LSU: A different doubleheader

As the train rumbles past the stadium deafening all within miles, that is a suitable segue to football, as in LSU head football coach Les Miles.

The football team had their spring game earlier today with the Purple beating the Gold 20-17. In that game was LSU freshman Jared Mitchell - who is hitting fifth for LSU after crossing the street. A receiver on the football team and an outfielder on the baseball, Mitchell split time this spring. He is in the mix for reps this fall on the gridiron. On the diamond, the speedster came in hitting .299 starting all 24 games. He has already made a name for himself scoring from first on an errant pickoff throw and scoring from second on a sac fly (with an error).

In other words, he is a budding star in baseball but still has a chance to earn that same status in football. By all indications, he is a great kid too - willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

We are tied here in the fifth at 2.

LSU: K-Lady sighting

After LSU strikes out a batter here at Alex Box Stadium, they have a lady who runs the length of grandstand holding a K card over her head. She is just one of the traditions here at the venerable old stadium. Many remember the "Geaux" -- "Tigers" chant repeated over and over again. We haven't had much of that one yet.

On the field, LSU starter Jared Bradford is living a charmed life. Despite allowing six hits through four innings, he has allowed only two runs.

In the bottom of the fourth, we are tied at 2-2.

LSU bounces back

After getting thumped by Kentucky 16-2 last night, LSU has come out swinging Saturday. With a strong crowd here (the football spring game was earlier), the Tigers are off to a good start.

The key for LSU is starting pitching and thus far Jared Bradford (4-1/2.68) has been their best. He has an early 2-1 in third today thanks to Chris McGhee's home run.

Andrew Albers (4-0/2.63) started for the Wildcats and is pitching well - despite the long ball.

On another note, I froze in a thick coat last Saturday watching Kentucky. I'm sweating in the humidity watching the Wildcats this week. Gotta love spring in the south.

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