Sunday, June 21, 2009

LSU Ready For Finals; Houston Bates is a Commitment


After dismantling Arkansas on Friday afternoon, LSU has clearly made their case as the best team in the College World Series. Unfortunately that means nothing from this point forward, and the Tigers will need to win 2 more games in order to be National Champions. While LSU has been impressive on their way to the Finals, the Texas Longhorns have relied on a little luck along with some very timely hitting to earn their way.

LSU has to like where they stand since they're able to throw their senior ace Louis Coleman for the opener Monday night. Coleman will be going against sophomore right hander Chance Ruffin who has also had a fantastic season. Ruffin is 10-2 with a 3.27 ERA on the season. He has 104 strikeouts in 118 innings with just 24 walks. Ruffin pitched the second game for Texas against Arizona State and got roughed up, going just 2 innings and giving up 7 hits and 6 runs. He'll certainly be looking to redeem himself after that poor outing.

The big question mark for LSU is who will Pitch Game 2 on Tuesday? Ideally, LSU would be able to throw Anthony Randaudo, but he just started on Friday. Would he be as effective? Would he be able to pitch as long as normal? The other option would be to pitch Austin Ross, who hasn't started a game in almost a month since he opened the Baton Rouge regional against Southern. Paul Maineri hasn't tipped his hand yet, but the consensus seems to be that if LSU wins on Monday, then Ross will start Tuesday. If LSU loses Monday, then Ranaudo would start on Tuesday. I tend to think that we might see Ranaudo pitch on Tuesday regardless since he only threw 77 pitches Friday.

Texas plans to pitch freshman right hander Taylor Jungmann in Game 2 on Tuesday. Jungmann has also had a great year, going 10-3 with a 2.10 ERA. He has 92 strikeouts and 32 walks in over 85 innings. Batters have a very low .197 batting average against him. Texas coach Augie Garrido has said that he'd be willing to use Jungmann on Monday if the game was close. Jungmann pitched two-thirds of an inning in the Longhorns' first game of the College World Series and gave up a hit and walked a batter. He also came in to their second game and put out the fire that Ruffin started. He did very well, pitching over 5 innings and giving up just 2 hits and no runs to earn the win.

Scheduled to pitch Game 3 for Texas is righty Cole Green. Green just pitched on Friday night against Arizona State and went 6 innings, gave up 8 hits and 2 runs. For the season, Green is 5-3 with a 3.07 ERA. He has 84 strikeouts and 34 walks in 108 innings. Batters hit .235 against Green.

At the plate, Texas is very underwhelming. Only 2 of their everyday starters bat over .300 and they hit .289 as a team. For a comparison, 5 of LSU's everyday players hit over .300 (6 if you count Tyler Hanover) and they hit .318 as a team. LSU has also hit 103 home runs on the season compared to just 45 for Texas. However, the Horns have hit 6 HR during the College World Series while LSU has hit 9. Texas obviously relies on great pitching and good defense in the field with solid execution and timely hitting at the plate.

The thing that stands out to me is that all 3 of the Longhorn starters are right-handers. And has been often reported, LSU has just 3 losses this season when facing a right-handed starter. To face a team with all right handers in the finals is a bit of good fortune for LSU.

Predictions? I think LSU keeps up their very high level of play. And I think they'll be getting fitted for rings sometime Tuesday night. I like LSU in a sweep.


If you haven't heard yet, St Pauls HS defensive end Houston Bates gave his verbal commitment to LSU last week. Bates is LSU's 15th commitment for the Class of 2010. Much discussion has been made as to what position Bates will play at LSU. He's a defensive end in high school, but he may project better as a linebacker in college. LSU reportedly offered him as an athlete, and they'll figure out where he plays once he gets to campus. I know that LSU offered him after seeing him perform at camp as a linebacker and a fullback.

A new name to watch could be OP Walker HS offensive lineman Charles Barkins.


It's been reported by a few that wide receiver Tim Molton has torn his ACL and is out for the season. This is a very bad break for the Tigers. I haven't seen this come from anywhere official yet, so I can't verify whether it's true or not but it seems to be. We've been hearing great things about Molton after spring practice, and he was considered the top guy to be LSU's #3 WR at the start of the season. Senior RJ Jackson, freshman Chris Tolliver, and true freshman Reuben Randle will have to step up to fill the void.


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