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COLLEGE BASEBALL

Rabalais: Rare early exit from the SEC tournament could work in the LSU Tigers’ favor

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY-- Head coach Paul Mainieri and Andy Cannizaro talk with Kade Scivicque before he goes up to bat as LSU faces Florida in the semifinal round of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament in Hoover, Ala. Saturday, May 23, 2015.

With the huge crowd at the Hoover Met still abuzz from the game that just ended, a member of the grounds crew took a shovel to the letters “LSU” painted on the path between the Tigers’ dugout and home plate. For the first time since 2012, they won’t… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Hot? Cold? Hitting? Hurting? However you label them, these Tigers just keep winning

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY -- Jared Foster and Jake Fraley celebrate after Foster scored during Thursday's game against Arkansas at the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala.

Hot, or cold? Hitting, or hurting? Label the LSU Tigers as you may in this Southeastern Conference tournament, depending on whether their bruising hitting allows you gloss over their startlingly ineffective starting pitching to reminisce wistfully about the Geauxrilla Ball days. Just label them winners once again here,… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU’s win over Auburn was nice ... but what about that pitching?

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY -- LSU pitcher Jared Poche drops the ball as Daniel Robert reaches first base Wednesday during the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament in Hoover, Ala.

HOOVER, Ala. — If you were wondering how the LSU Tigers would inject meaning into what so many were calling meaningless trip to Southeastern Conference tournament, the nation’s No. 1 team figured out a way in inning No. 1 Wednesday against Auburn. One is the position in the LSU starting rotation Jared Poché has occupied almost this entire season.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why restraint by LSU in SEC baseball tournament could turn into a national championship in a few weeks

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU players reach to touch the championship trophy after LSU's 2-0 win over Florida to win the SEC Tournment  in the Championship Game in May 2014 in the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, AL.

HOOVER, Ala. — Since the minute it clinched the Southeastern Conference championship, 45 minutes before Saturday’s regular-season finale at South Carolina, the question has hung out there like a chest-high fastball: Should LSU care about winning the SEC tournament? On the face of it, it’s a ridiculous question. Should you want to… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Bianka Bell goes from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs as the LSU softball team roars into super regionals

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU shortstop Bianka Bell (27) bats against Arizona State in the first inning during the Division I NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, Sunday, May 17, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La.

Bianka Bell was having a day. And not in a good sense. After carrying the LSU softball team to so many victories during a storybook run through the regular season, with their season on the line, her bat went all Sunday silence in the Tigers’ first game against Arizona State. Bell was 0-for-4. LSU… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Believe it or not, but the SEC could miss out on the second College Football Playoff

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott breaks free on a long run as Alabama defensive back Landon Collins (26) and linebacker Ryan Anderson (7) give chase during the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Southeastern Conference is in the midst of a significant trend, and we’re not talking about spread offenses. In three years, the SEC went from the last of its seven straight BCS national championships to losing the final BCS title game (Auburn against an SEC-like Florida State team) to Alabama getting bounced from the semifinals of the… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Garrett Grayson a 'fascinating' pick by Saints; now the big question...

Colorado's State quarterback Garrett Grayson (18) runs in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada, in Reno, Nev., on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Colorado State defeated Nevada 31-24. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison) ORG XMIT: NVCA118

If you went into the Saints draft this season expecting fireworks, you were disappointed by their first three picks. If you thought we’d be in store for more of Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis’ trademark wheeling and dealing once the picks started flying, you were mistaken. With their first three choices of this Extreme Hoarding… Continue reading →

Rabalais: The selection of Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat at No. 13 fills one of the Saints' many needs

Stanford offensive lineman Andrus Peat poses for photos with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the New Orleans Saints as the 13th pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft,  Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

One offensive tackle’s dream came true Thursday. Another’s life has become a nightmare. The New Orleans Saints drafted Stanford’s Andrus Peat with their first selection, the 13th overall pick of the first round. You have to wonder were circumstances different, if the calendar was spun back a month, would the Saints have taken former LSU… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Saints mostly mum on plans heading into NFL draft

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis answers questions at his news conference Wednesday at the Saints training center.

The perfect blend of affability and caginess, a smiling Mickey Loomis met with the media Wednesday morning and said … nothing. That’s not a knock on the New Orleans Saints general manager. Like the reporters massed at the Saints’ Metairie headquarters, Loomis was held hostage by the circumstances of that most unusual of question-and-answer sessions: the pre-draft… Continue reading →

Tigers try to take good with bad

LSU looked like it had done enough. Texas A&M looked like it had enough. After two breathlessly dramatic victories Thursday and Friday night over Texas A&M, then a Saturday soaker before the game could be played after a three-plus hour rain delay, the Tigers came out swinging. And running. Into outs. “That’s as bang-bang… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Thankfully, this LSU game vs. Texas A&M lived up to the hype

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  LSU's Jake Fraley is safe stealing third base under Texas A&M in Alex Box Stadium Thursday, April 23, 2015.

It’s hard to have a first when it comes to LSU baseball. So much history. So much success. So many great players. So many incredible games. But a first it was Thursday as the No. 1-ranked Tigers hosted No. 2 Texas A&M in the first 1-2 matchup at Alex Box Stadium — new or old. As such, you wanted… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Billy Horschel, former Zurich Classic winner, is a hard worker, a giving golfer, and easy to pull for

Associated Press file photo by JOHN BAZEMORE -- Bily Horschel hits from the tee on the third hole during first round of play in the Tour Championship golf tournament Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in Atlanta.

Buddy Alexander had only one last piece of a scholarship to give when he went to the Florida state golf championships in 2004. The former LSU and then-Florida men’s golf coach was going to offer the scholarship money to one of two players. One player had the better swing. The other was Billy Horschel.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Saints’ schedule looks better than last year’s, but the start of the season looks mighty tough

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Saints coach Sean Payton

The Pelicans are in the midst of a playoff series against the NBA’s top team, Golden State. LSU and Tulane played in baseball Tuesday night, the prelude to a huge No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown this weekend between the Tigers and Texas A&M. The PGA Tour is swinging through south Louisiana this week with the Zurich Classic… Continue reading →

Rabalais: The Masters is still Jordan Spieth’s to lose, but some Sunday drama may be coming our way

Jordan Spieth hits out of the gallery on the 18th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Beauty, tradition and drama. They’re the holy trinity of Masters week. On the final day of worship at Augusta National Golf Club, it looks like we’re going to get all three after all. Jordan Spieth’s lead bounced from huge to enormous Saturday. A birdie on the par-3 16th put him to 18-under-par… Continue reading →

Jack Nicklaus makes hole-in-one; Streelman wins Par-3 contest

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, applauds during a media conference before the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

AUGUSTA, GA. — Jack Nicklaus called his shot. During an ESPN interview Wednesday morning, the six-time Masters winner joked that if he won the Par-3 contest maybe he would be allowed to play in the big tournament again. “But maybe a hole-in-one, how’s that?” Nicklaus asked ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. “We’ll try to get one for you.” On the… Continue reading →

LSU baseball concession stand prices soar above other sports venues, including Augusta National Golf Club

Spectators wait at the 16th hole for golfers to play through during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 10, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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AUGUSTA, GA. – When it comes to getting a ticket to an LSU baseball game compared to a Masters badge, there’s no comparison. Tickets online for Saturday’s LSU-Auburn game could be had for $10-12 from LSU. For a Masters ticket you had to go online and pay around $750 for Saturday only. The only way for… Continue reading →

Keegan Bradley heads list of latest additions to Zurich Classic field

Keegan Bradley watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, March 19, 2015.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Three players with victories in golf’s majors are among the latest commitments to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Fore!Kids CEO Steve Worthy announced Tuesday the addition of Keegan Bradley, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen to the field for the April 23-26 event to be played at TPC Louisiana. Also committing to the $6.9 million PGA… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Time for new SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to do something about transfers involved in domestic violence cases

New SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks before an NCAA college basketball game in the quarter final round of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Friday, March 13, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Sankey replaces the retiring Mike Slive as commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

New SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey no doubt will have a lot of pressing items on his agenda when he takes over Aug. 1. Here’s an issue that should be near the top: creating a conference rule as it regards the transfers of student-athletes involved in domestic violence cases. The case of former Georgia and now former Alabama football player… Continue reading →

Rabalais: His resilience on display, Anthony Jennings won’t give up LSU’s starting quarterback job without a fight

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Quarterback Anthony Jennings

It’s long been the assumption at LSU regarding the quarterback candidacy of one Brandon Harris that it’s only a matter of time. He will eventually burst through the dreaded “potential” barrier and cast Anthony Jennings aside like a deflated New England football. What if it never happens, though? What if Harris turns out to be a paper cowboy,… Continue reading →

Rabalais: The not-so-hidden secret to LSU women's sports teams having massive success this year is . . .

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU celebrates with teammate Bianka Bell (27) at home plate after Bell's home run in the third inning against Stephen F. Austin during LSU's Purple and Gold Challenge, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La. Bell's home run tied the career home run mark.

“Tigers, not daughters …” — William Shakespeare, King Lear A winter of discontent on the LSU football field has been followed by an LSU spring with successful teams blooming everywhere. And LSU’s women’s programs are leading the charge. The LSU softball team, 28-1 after beating Nicholls State 6-1… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why LSU made the NCAA tournament with room to spare

LSU coach Johnny Jones celebrates the Tigers' selection to the NCAA men's basketball tournament Sunday, March 15, 2015.

LSU’s upset loss to Auburn in the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday begat 48 hours of hand wringing and rampant speculation, bracketology dissection and bubble watching, and probably in at least one corner, an exorcism for the Tigers’ free-throw shooting. As the hours ticked away until the 5 p.m. NCAA selection show, LSU guard Josh Gray had to… Continue reading →

Rabalais:LSU's Jalen Mills excited to lead the secondary; Mom's influence helped make it happen

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU safety Jalen Mills (28) moves in to bring Arkansas wide receiver Jared Cornelius (1) down after the completion during the first half Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 in Fayetteville, Ark.

LSU’s reputation as “DBU” is something Tigers senior safety Jalen Mills takes quite seriously. “For me, it’s about having high expectations for myself,” Mills said this week. “We put a target on ourselves calling ourselves ‘DBU.’ Whether you feel like it or not, we have to come in every day and give 110 percent.” Mills returned… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Lady Tigers have earned their likely spot in NCAA field

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --LSU's Danielle Ballard gets a defensive rebound in the second half of LSU's  80-63 win over Texas A&M Sunday in the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In his latest NCAA women’s tournament projections Sunday morning, ESPN analyst Charlie Crème looked into his crystal basketball and put the LSU Lady Tigers on the No. 10 seed line, playing Rutgers in the Greensboro regional in Tallahassee, Florida. LSU and Rutgers played back on Nov. 22, with Rutgers winning 64-57… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Tigers starting to look dangerous at the right time

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU's Jordan Mickey dunks over Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody in the second half Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Moment by moment, possession by possession, by each rebound and dunk and block and steal, the LSU Tigers may finally be evolving into the basketball team we all thought it could be. The latest evidence: Saturday’s 73-63 over Ole Miss. For just the second time this season the Tigers are proud owners of a three-game Southeastern Conference… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU gambled and lost — but you can also blame the NCAA and another mindless rule

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU coach Les Miles gestures to an official during a review during the Alabama game Nov. 8.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to be in Indianapolis for an NCAA men’s basketball tournament mock selection exercise. It was a highly organized, informative, exceptionally professional event. It was the NCAA at its big-time best. Thursday, we were witness once again to the NCAA at its bureaucratic worst. LSU’s football program was… Continue reading →

Rabalais: It’s cold outside, but Lady Tigers are riding a hot streak

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Beth Torina coaches against Memphis, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La.

The weather at Tiger Park on Tuesday was chilling. The home team couldn’t be hotter. The LSU softball team returned from the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in posh Palm Springs, California, over the weekend with another sack full of victories, five of them, pushing their record to16-0. It’s the best start in school history. LSU’s ranking… Continue reading →