We dropped our second game in a row in Baton Rouge at the Box, 3-2, to the Bengal Tigers of LSU. Kyle Wright started and gave us a good outing, but had a rough bottom of the second, giving up three runs, and we couldn't get enough done with the bats and were not good enough in the field either. Kyle went seven, gave up seven hits, three runs, all earned, with three walks and seven K's. Ben Bowden came in for the bottom of the eighth and gave up three hits, but thanks to a super throw from centerfield by Bryan Reynolds, who had an awesome game and is an awesome player, we cut down the LSU runner at the plate, preventing them from going up 4-2. Ben then got the next two hitters out in impressive fashion with a couple of K's.
Bryan had a homer, his seventh of the season, a solo shot, and a double. Ro Coleman led off the game with a homer to right. Ro is such a great competitor. I love him leading off for us. If he can hit consistently and really get his base stealing down, he's going to be a weapon. He's got such a passion for the game.
We didn't play a bad game, but we committed three errors again, after committing four on Thursday night in a 13-4 loss. Jeren Kendall committed his first error in right field just not getting down on the ball and allowing a runner to get to second. That's not like Jeren. He's kind of in a slump right now. Freshman second baseman Ethan Paul, bless his heart, is really struggling with his throws from second. He committed two throwing errors. It's totally mental. It reminds me of Steve Sax back in 1983 with the Dodgers, when he committed 30 errors, when he just couldn't get the ball to first. Ethan is talented, part of the top recruiting class in the country. He just needs to settle down. He's aiming it and not throwing it. He's just got to see the target, throw it and hit the target. He'll get it. He's too talented a player not to. Maybe it would be better if he sits today and we try somebody else like Penn Murfee, who gives us a great bat, and plays solid D. Ethan will be good, he's just in a slump right now. He's got a pretty solid bat, but I think his fielding woes are carrying over to the plate. He just needs a day off today.
Need this one today. First pitch is at 2 PM CT/3 PM ET on SEC Network + on the computer. We are ranked second in the country by D1 Baseball, but dropped to 24-7 overall and 6-5 in the SEC. LSU, a very good team and really tough at the Box, moved to 21-9 and 6-5 in the SEC West. Florida and South Carolina are 8-2 in the SEC East, so we need to win today.
Right hander Hayden Stone on the hill for us today. Hayden is 0-1 with a 3.44 ERA, with 12 walks and 21 K's. Hayden will face left hander John Valek of LSU, who is 5-1 with a 2.92 ERA, with four walks and 30 K's. So we have our work cut out for us. We're a left handed hitting team mainly, so this could be a factor. This might be a good day to try Penn at second with his right handed bat. I just think Penn brings a lot to the table for us.
David, Sonny and Pedro
David Price and Sonny Gray both got wins, David Tuesday and Sonny Wednesday. Pedro is struggling a little with the bat so far for the Orioles.
David pitched a beauty in his first outing with the BoSox, as he and the Sox won 6-2 over the Cleveland Indians in 32 degree weather in Cleveland. David went six, gave up five hits, two earned, with two walks and 10 K's. He threw 103 pitches, 71 for strikes and 32 balls, a better than 2:1 ratio. David is just a strike thrower. He was hitting 91 mostly on his fastball, but struck a guy out in the bottom of the fifth with a beautiful 93 MPH fastball on the corner. The cold weather and his first outing probably combined for less velocity on his fastball. David gets faster the more he matriculates into the season. If he has a good day to throw on Monday versus the Orioles in Boston, he'll be hitting 93-94 consistently and he'll get to 95 and sometimes 96 by late April, early May.
DP was mixing up his fastball, his cutter, which was coming in at 87-88, his change up was outstanding, and his curve has improved so much, and was pretty electric. David has worked so hard on his other pitches besides his fastball, and he's just a complete pitcher now. He's on a team that is ready to compete for a title. This is Big Papi's last year as a player, as he will be retiring, so I know he wants a championship. The BoSox have three in the last 12 years, so they know how to get it done. They last won it in 2013, and this team has a shot. Loved what I saw out of DP. He's their horse as he always is.
Sonny had a super outing against the White Sox Wednesday night in Oakland. Sonny was set to be the starter on Opening Day on Monday, but got food poisoning and was pushed back to Wednesday. Sonny and the A's beat the ChiSox, 2-1. Sonny went 7, gave up three hits, one earned, with four walks and five K's. He threw 97 pitches with 58 for strikes and 39 for balls. Not the greatest control, but that's Sonny. He just battles and gets out of jams. I watched David, but didn't get a chance to see Sonny. I'm going to watch Sonny today, before our team plays LSU and Brandt tees it up at the Masters, and will give you a better breakdown of Sonny's performance tomorrow.
Pedro hasn't gotten a hit yet for the Orioles at DH, but Pedro is traditionally a slow starter. I hope O's Manager Buck Showalter will stick with Pedro because once he gets the stick going, he's a force. Mike Minor will probably not pitch for the KC Royals till June. Curt Casali is doing a good bit of catching for the Rays. Will keep an eye on Curt. Ryan Flaherty hasn't played much yet for the Orioles, but I expect Ryan to get playing time soon. I love that he and Pedro are on the same team. They're super friends and it's good for them to be together. Haven't seen anything on Drew VerHagen with the Tigers, though the Tigers are starting off well, or Caleb Cotham with the Reds, who are also off to a good start, but will keep an eye on them.
The No.5 women's tennis team beat No. 60 Missouri, 4-0, as No. 19 Sydney Campbell, No. 13 Frances Altick and No.21 Astra Sharma, all ranked that way nationally, won their matches in straight sets. Our other three girls in singles, Georgina Sellyn, Fernanda Contreras and Ellie Yates were in good shape in their matches when we closed out the match before they finished. Georgina was up 6-4, 6-5, Fernanda was up in the third, 5-1, and Ellie had split sets, when we finished the match off. Our No. 10 ranked doubles team of Courtney Colton and Sydney won their doubles match, 6-2, and Sellyn and Contreras won their match 6-2 to get the doubles point for our team. There are three doubles matches played, and when you get two wins, you get a point. Then you get three singles points and the first team that gets to four points, or one doubles point and three singles points, wins the match. We play No.27 Arkansas on the road tomorrow at Noon CT/1 PM ET. Another tough SEC war for the girls. Geoff McDonald's team looks to be peaking right now as Geoff wants them too. Frances competed in a professional tournament earlier in the week. She played in a Volvo tournament and didn't win her first match, but it was a great experience for her. Frances, Sydney and Astra could be world class players before they finish playing tennis, and they've got a lot of great years ahead of them. But I know they're totally homed in on winning an SEC championship and going from there. Next up, the Razorbacks of Arkansas tomorrow.
Brandt Snedeker, men's golf
Brandt shot 71 yesterday at Augusta National and is presently tied for fifth at the Masters, three shots back of leader Jordan Spieth. Brandt tees it up today at 1:30 PM CT/2:30 PM ET. He's playing with Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark, who is also at -1. This is the one Brandt wants, the Masters. I can see Brandt getting through in the 80th edition of Augusta National. He would love to get this. It's been really windy and tough over there with winds at 20-25 MPH the last two days; tough scoring conditions. Today the winds are 14-18 MPH, so they will be a factor. Tomorrow is a little more benign with winds 4-8 MPH, so better scoring conditions. If Brandt can hang tough today, and shoot a 70 or 69, he'll have a very good shot tomorrow. A 71 would keep him in it, even a 72, even par. Would love to see this for Sneds. I know he wants multiple majors, but this is the one he's always dreamed of getting. I picked Adam Scott on my regular blog, but I'm absolutely pulling for Brandt. I didn't want to be hassled by people saying it was a homer pick, but I knew Brandt had a good shot. He can do this.
Our No.8 Men's golf team plays in the SEC Championship at Sea Island, Georgia next Friday through Sunday. We are playing extremely well and have a good shot to win this thing and have a great regional chance. Love what Coach Scott Limbaugh has done with the program. Junior Matthias Schwab and freshmen Will Gordon and Patrick Martin have been stellar. After winning the Mason Rudolph tournament on Nashville's Legends Course last week, beating Florida by a shot, we have a ton of momentum heading into the conference tournament. Will keep you posted on our progress next weekend.
Liked what we did in the spring game. Kyle looks very comfortable in Coach Ludwig's system. Like Kyle Shurmur as our quarterback next year, but Wade Freebeck, Stank and frosh Deuce Wallace will provide Kyle with some good competition. Wade had a really good spring, so there will be competition in fall practice for the starting job. Coach Mason and Coach Ludwig are keeping the competition open. I love Kyle at qb, but Wade has done some great things. We'll see how things develop in August. The players look good, I love our new coaches, so we've got a shot to have a really good season in 2016. The South Carolina game on Thursday, Sept. 1st, at Vanderbilt Stadium, is a gigantic opener for this football team. If we can win that game, that would really catapult us into the season. Can't emphasize enough the importance of the South Carolina game.
We lost 2017 commit Lamont Atkins, who decided to open his recruiting back up on March 28th. I hope we can get the solid three star running back from Burke, Virginia back in the fold. He's quite a good running back. We're competing with Virginia and their new coach Bronco Mendenhall, and Northwestern for Lamont's services. Would like to get Lamont back on board.
I love what I'm seeing and hearing about our new basketball coach Bryce Drew. He's going to be a terrific coach for us. Wade Baldwin IV has declared for the NBA draft. Don't totally understand it. Wade is a really good player, but could really develop his skills with another year. He has more to learn as a point guard. He has been projected to be a first round pick in a weaker draft this year, so I understand his decision somewhat. But I absolutely think Wade would have served himself better to stick around and learn under Coach Drew, who was an exceptional player and is an exceptional teacher of guard play. Damian Jones has not decided what he's going to do. Would love to see Dame come back for his senior year. He's projected as a possible first rounder also, but under Coach Drew and his staff, Damian could really enhance his play, and earn a very high draft pick in 2017. Dame would be a huge asset to this team if he comes back. As far as point guard next season, we have Riley LaChance, who is really more of a two, and freshman Payton Willis coming in. Payton is highly regarded, so maybe he can step in and let Riley play the two. There were rumors that Matthew Fisher-Davis might transfer, but MFD will be back.
I love Coach Drew, his character, his desire to develop his players into good husbands and fathers one day, his passion for the game, and his belief that we can go to the Final Four and play in and win the national championship. I believe him. He's hired two high quality assistants, who are good recruiters and good coaches, so I'm really excited to see what Bryce can do with our team next season with a talented squad that Kevin Stallings left him.
Will keep you posted on Brandt, our baseball team and our girls tennis team over the rest of this weekend. Have a great weekend.