Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Miles Puts Tigers through First Spring Workout

Les Miles put LSU through the first of what will be 15 spring practices on Monday as the Tigers started their preparations for the 2007 season with a three hour workout at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

Monday’s workout had the Tigers going in short and helmets. LSU will practice again in shorts and helmets on Tuesday before putting on full pads on Thursday. In all, LSU will practice four times this week.

“It was a really nice first go,” Miles said. “The team is in really good shape. There was a lot of enthusiasm and some new faces looking for playing time. There’s a lot of competition. It was not perfect, but it is not supposed to be because it’s the first day. There was some talent out there, but we are working our way through the learning phase. It was a good practice.”

Monday’s session also had the Tigers welcoming three new coaches to the practice field for the first time. Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, along with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy all enjoyed their first practice with the staff.

“It felt like the new guys were acting like old hands,” Miles said. “They were very comfortable and seemed to handle the players well. They know what to expect from them so it went well.”

One of the most interesting stories of spring football for LSU will be the competition between senior Matt Flynn and sophomore Ryan Perrilloux for the quarterback position. Miles said he liked what he saw out of the quarterbacks on Monday.

“I thought both Matt and Ryan did a nice job,” Miles said. “Both players worked had and had good practices. The issue is to be the best quarterback and to give this team an opportunity for victory. Whether that is Ryan Perrilloux or Matt Flynn only time will tell. It is good competition.”

LSU Hoopsters at Auburn Tonight

The LSU men's basketball team looks to sustain the momentum it picked up Saturday afternoon in beating No. 3 Florida when it travels to Auburn for a Wednesday night 7 p.m. game at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum against the Auburn Tigers.
There is no live or tape-delayed television for the contest, but the radio broadcast will be available on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) and at in the "Geaux Zone."
LSU is 15-13 overall, 4-10 in the SEC West while Auburn is 16-13 and 6-8. Auburn is one game out of the SEC West lead, but is still in the mix for just about any spot in the Western seeding for next week's SEC Tournament because of the way things have played out this year. LSU is still in position to be as high as a fourth seed and as low as its present sixth seed position.
LSU defeated Auburn in a hard-fought game in January in the Maravich Center, 65-63, and LSU will have a final chance for something that has eluded them in 2007, a road league win.
"We need to get a road win," said LSU Coach John Brady. "Hopefully after being able to defeat Florida at home on Saturday, our team will be able to play with a lot of confidence. We played well against Kentucky, and then were good enough to get a win against Florida last Saturday. Hopefully we can go on the road and get a good win against Auburn ... Auburn's playing well right now; I think Jeff Lebo's done a very good job with them, so it will be a tough game for us."
Lebo's team is coming off an 86-77 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
Terry Martin led LSU against the Gators with 18 points, while Garrett Temple had a strong evening offensively with 17 points and defensively holding Gator guard Taurean Green in check. Tasmin Mitchell also had 11 points to make it eight straight games in double figures.
The Tigers are expected to play for the third straight game without the services of All-American forward Glen Davis. Davis returned to the practice court on Monday for the first time in a full practice in 12 days, but after discussion with Coach Brady following the practice, he is expected to remain in Baton Rouge and continuing to strengthen and rehab the strained right quad muscle in preparation for him possibly playing in the regular season finale Saturday against South Carolina.

Pedroia Short in Size, Long in Talent

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If you want to get Dustin Pedroia to roll his eyes, just ask him about his big swing. The diminutive second baseman has been hearing about it for too long. He knows that the "experts" out there think that a little guy should have a shorter swing.
Pedroia unloads on that theory much like a fastball over the heart of the plate.

"I've been successful my whole life with that swing," said Pedroia. "I've hit .300 every single year I've played baseball. Why change? You know what I mean? My swing is short to the ball. It doesn't matter what the swing is through the zone, but if it's short and quick to the ball, I'm going to hit the barrel a lot."

And Pedroia, with that accentuated uppercut, has hit the barrel enough to rise through the Minor League ranks faster than any Red Sox position player in recent memory.

The 65th overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft will be the Opening Day second baseman for the 2007 Red Sox.

That is no small feat. The last time the Red Sox started a rookie on an everyday basis was 2001, when third baseman Shea Hillenbrand came out of nowhere during Spring Training.

This time, it is different. Pedroia did not come to camp needing to win the job. The Red Sox, who promoted the diminutive second baseman last August, plotted their offseason plans with the idea that Pedroia was going to be the mainstay. That is why Mark Loretta was not re-signed, even though he could have been had for a modest salary.

"[Pedroia] does everything he's supposed to," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He understands situations on the field. Just because he's young, you don't have to explain to him three times what you're doing or what to expect. He gets it pretty quick. That's part of what makes him good."

Another thing that has made Pedroia good is the useful chip that he carries on his shoulder. He uses it for motivation and it has gotten him this far. Perhaps that's why he is keeping No. 64 -- a number typically used for September callups -- on his back for now.

At every turn, there have been those who have looked at him and laughed. Pedroia merely takes the high road publicly and snarls inside.

"It hasn't been just here, I got it in college and high school," Pedroia said. "When I committed to Arizona State, everyone was laughing at me, 'You're not going to play there.' You just have to use it as motivation. I think it's great. There's always people that are definitely 100 percent behind you and believe in you, so it makes it a lot more special when you prove people wrong."

It is fortunate for Pedroia that some of the people who believe in him so much are the ones who have the most control over his fate.

General manager Theo Epstein could have gone after a second baseman over the winter. He didn't. Francona could have put the microscope on Pedroia this spring. He hasn't.

"I think if you'd ask him, he knows we have confidence in him as a player," said Francona.

The only thing the Red Sox asked Pedroia to do over the winter was get in better shape. He got a little pudgy last year, partly due to some misguided training and also from a shoulder injury that derailed him early in the year. All Pedroia did was come to camp looking like a different person. He lost nearly 30 pounds.

"I just tried to get a lot faster and quicker," said Pedroia. "It's definitely helped out with my bat speed and things like that, to where I can handle Major League pitching. Last year, I got run down at the end of the year. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen this year, so I changed some things in the offseason."

Calorie counting became a way of life, and the results are obvious upon first glance. The loss in weight once again has Pedroia resembling another little guy who used to wear the same uniform, albeit at the Minor League level.

When the Red Sox were controlled by other decision-makers, a young man named David Eckstein was put on waivers and claimed by the Angels on Aug. 16, 2000.

All Eckstein has done since then is help two teams win a World Series, most recently the 2006 Cardinals.

"He's proved people wrong every day, too," said Pedroia. "People have questioned him from the start. I know he came up with the Red Sox. I'm sure he's had to deal with some things, but he's always proved everybody wrong and everybody sits back and looks at him and he has a couple of rings. That's definitely an accomplishment."

There's no question that Pedroia struggled at the plate (.191, two homers, seven RBIs in 89 at-bats) after his recall to Boston on Aug. 22. But that learning curve couldn't have come at a better time. The Red Sox were struggling as a team and didn't have much hope of making the postseason, so it gave Pedroia time to take his lumps at a time it wasn't detrimental in the big picture.

He hopes that things will be different from the start this year.

"It's always good to go through a struggle and kind of come out of it," said Pedroia. "I started like 4-for-40 and you can go two ways. You can either go 4-for-50 or maybe 8-for-50. I definitely came out of it. I started hitting the ball well, calming down, it showed me a lot because I've never been through something like that."

His teammates got a chance to observe the way he handled his initiation, and there's confidence in the clubhouse that the kid is going to do fine.

"I like his approach," said third baseman Mike Lowell. "He's aggressive. I think he brings a little fiery attitude and he's got a little bit of pop. He can sneak up on you and get a hold of one. He's very capable defensively. I think he's going to do a good job for us, and the fact that you can hit him ninth, you don't have to shove him into a spot where he feels like he has to get on base. I think that's a good atmosphere for him to do well in."

Instead of being giddy or wide-eyed about his opportunity, Pedroia is taking the all-business approach.

"I work hard," Pedroia said. "I've had to work for everything I have. It's been great getting to the big leagues within a couple of years of when I signed. It's just an accomplishment, but I'm not happy with that, and I want to stay here for a long time."

Red Sox, Shilling Open Spring Games Tonight

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The lights will come on for the 2007 Red Sox on Wednesday night at 7:05 ET, with an exhibition game against the Twins at City of Palms Park. In a few weeks, the game will be a distant memory, and not all that relevant in the big picture. But as far as immediacy goes, the players are excited to get back into a gameday environment.
Ace Curt Schilling will take the ball for the Red Sox. He'll be opposed by Matt Garza.
"You get a little excited, because you have a packed house, you have a lot of fans, you just get into the swing of baseball again," Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis said. "It's exciting to get out there and see all the Red Sox fans. They're so enthusiastic to see baseball again. For us, we don't put too many measurements on how we do. We just go out there and get a feel for the game again."
It beats the monotony of cutoffs and relays, baserunning drills and endless rounds of batting practice.
"I'm sick of this," Youkilis said after the final drill-only day of camp. "These are long days. It's hot; it's draining. When you get out here at 9 [a.m.], it's a draining day. When you play in the games, it's a little easier. Plus, you get your mind focused on the game and the crowd helps out."
Manager Terry Francona won't have his "A" lineup out there, but he'll have a pretty good one.
Julio Lugo will lead off and play shortstop. Youkilis (first base), David Ortiz (designated hitter), Jason Varitek (catcher) and Mike Lowell (third base) will fill out the middle of the order. Wily Mo Pena will bat sixth and play right field, followed by second baseman Dustin Pedroia, left fielder David Murphy and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
With split-squad games to follow Thursday and Friday, Francona will hold back starters J.D. Drew and Coco Crisp. Left fielder Manny Ramirez didn't arrive in camp until Monday, so he'll be held out a few more days.

News and features:
•Among other storylines to follow with the arrival of games is the closer competition. Joel Pineiro, Brendan Donnelly and Julian Tavarez, three of the four candidates, will get their first looks in Wednesday's game.
"We'll have all the fans and the game situations, and that adrenaline is going to jump in," Pineiro said. "I'm going to be so excited to get out there the first time."
Rookie second baseman Pedroia can start getting acclimated to everyday life in the Major Leagues.
"I'm excited," Pedroia said. "It's been a while since we've played. All this practice and offseason training and stuff; you're always excited to be out there. It takes some time to get back into it, but it's going to be fun."

#16 Ole Miss Topples Belmont 4-2

OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels found a rhythm at the plate and put up runs in three straight innings down the stretch as No. 16 Ole Miss (7-3) defeated Belmont (5-1) by a score of 4-2 on Tuesday.

Four Rebels notched multiple hits in the game as Jordan Henry led the way with a 2-for-4 performance with a run scored and an RBI. Zack Cozart went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI, while Logan Power scored two runs and added an RBI of his own.

Phillip Irwin (1-0) picked up the win as he entered the game in the sixth inning to relieve starter Nathan Baker. Irwin worked 1.2 innings, allowing no runs on two hits. Baker worked 5.2 innings in the start as he gave up one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Scott Bittle picked up his third save of the season as he closed out the ninth with one run on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts.

Charles Lee (1-1) suffered the loss for the Bruins as he entered the game for the sixth inning. He turned in 1.0 inning of work, allowing three runs on four hits as he was unable to record an out in the seventh inning before being pulled. Starter Ben Meador worked 5.0 innings, allowing only one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two.

“We did what we needed to do today to get the win,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We played good defense and we got good pitching, especially out of Nathan Baker. He really battled through some adversity. We needed him today.”

Belmont scored in the fifth inning when McCall scored from third on a passed ball. McCall singled to lead off the inning before moving to second on a sac bunt from Elkins. He then advanced to third on a groundout to second from Manifold.

The Rebels answered in the bottom half of the frame as Jordan Henry hit a single through the left side to score Andrew Clark from second, knotting the game at one. Clark walked to lead off and then advanced to second on a single to left field from Evan Button.

Ole Miss took the lead, 2-1, in the sixth off a single to right field from Fuller Smith that scored Logan Power from second. Power doubled down the left field line to open the inning.

The Rebels extended the lead in the seventh when Jordan Henry scored from third on a ground ball to short from Power. Henry singled up the middle to lead off the inning and moved to third on a throwing error from the pitcher after Brett Basham laid down a bunt on the first base line, reaching safely as the throw sailed into left field. Another run scored as Power crossed the plate on a single through the left side from Cozart to make the lead 4-1 after seven innings.

Belmont attempted a rally in the ninth as Wagner scored from second on a single to left field from Petsch. Wagner reached on a single through the right side and then moved to second on a walk of Reynolds. The run cut the lead to 4-2, but that was all the Bruins could muster as Bittle struck out the final batter to end the game and pick up his third save.

Ole Miss will return to action this weekend as the Rebels will compete in the Dairy Queen Classic at the Minneapolis Metrodome. The tournament is hosted by the University of Minnesota. Ole Miss will open the tournament with a game against Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas on Friday at 12:15 p.m.know

Tulane Pitching Throttles Tigers 8-3

BATON ROUGE -- Three Tulane pitchers combined to limit LSU to three runs on five hits Tuesday night as the Green Wave handcuffed the Tigers, 8-3, before 5,360 fans at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU dropped to 7-4 with the loss while Tulane improved to 6-4. Tulane has won three of its last four games in Alex Box Stadium.
The third-largest paid attendance in Alex Box Stadium history was recorded Tuesday as 8,577 fans purchased tickets. It marked the largest home paid crowd since LSU drew a school-record 8,683 fans against Houston on March 6, 2004.
The Tigers play host to Lipscomb in a three-game series this weekend. Game times are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Live audio and streaming video are available to members of the Geaux Zone on
Sophomore right-hander Louis Coleman (2-2), who handcuffed Tulane for seven-plus innings last March, was touched for four runs on five hits in five innings of work.
Green Wave designated hitter Nate Simon led the way, going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI. Catcher Jared Dyer added two hits and scored three runs.
"Their lineup is strong, one through nine," said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. "That is what good teams have. They have lineups that make the pitchers work. Louis would get 0-2 counts on people and just not be able to put people away. We have to come up with something that has a little more deception for him."
LSU second baseman Chris Jackson returned from a stomach ulcer he suffered following the Tigers' season-opening sweep of Saint Mary's (Calif.). Jackson, who was cleared to play Monday night, went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI despite rarely swinging a bat the past two weeks.
Freshman left fielder Blake Dean raised his average to .417 with two more hits, and designated hitter Buzzy Haydel saw his hitting streak come to an end at six games.
Tulane starter Matt Goebel failed to earn the win after exiting in the fifth, but he allowed only two runs on two hits. Freshman right-hander Preston Claiborne (1-1) tossed 3.2 innings of effective relief to qualify for his first victory.
Claiborne and senior righty Daniel Latham held the Tigers to one run on three hits in the final 4.2 innings.
"I don't think we made a hard out the entire night," said Mainieri. "I wish I had a good explanation. I know the kids have practiced really hard. In practice, the kids are focused and they want to do well. We had some very, very feeble at-bats tonight."
Neither team was able to manufacture a hit until the third when Tulane went out in front 2-0. Simon belted a 3-1 Coleman offering into the left field bleachers for a solo homer. Following a double by third baseman Seth Henry, shortstop Cat Everett lined an RBI single in front of Jared Mitchell in center.
Simon extended the Green Wave lead to 4-0 in the fourth with a two-out, two-run single to centerfield. The four-run margin proved to be more than enough for Tulane pitching.
LSU cut the deficit to 4-2 on an RBI single from left fielder Blake Dean in the fourth and a sacrifice fly from shortstop Michael Hollander in the fifth.
However, it would be as close as the Tigers would get as the Green Wave put the game away with two more runs in the eighth courtesy of two LSU errors. Dyer reached third on a throwing error by catcher Robert Lara and came into score on a wild pitch.
Jackson added an RBI single in the eighth, but Latham blanked the Tigers in the ninth with a perfect frame.
Tulane 8, LSU 3 (Feb 27, 2007 at Baton Rouge, La.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Tulane.............. 002 202 020 - 8 11 1 (6-4)LSU................. 000 110 010 - 3 5 3 (7-4)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Tulane - Matt Goebel; Preston Claiborne(5); Daniel Latham(9). LSU - Louis Coleman; Ryan Byrd(6); Paul Bertuccini(6); Michael Bonura(7); Nolan Cain(8).Win-Preston Claiborne(1-1) Loss-Louis Coleman(2-2) T-3:05 A-8577HR TLN - Tim Guidry (1); Nate Simon (1).Third-largest paid attendance (8,577) in Alex Box Stadium history.Actual attendance: 5,360

Monday, February 26, 2007

#11 Ole Miss Drops Rain Shortened GAme to Wright State

The Rebels put the pressure on, but couldn’t push a run across as No. 11 Ole Miss (6-2) fell to Wright State (1-1) by a score of 1-0 in a rain shortened game that was called in the middle of the fifth due to lightning and rain.

Ole Miss will play the final game of the series at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

Lance Lynn (1-2) suffered the loss as he worked 6.0 innings allowing the one run on five hits as he walked four and struck out nine. One of his four walks was an intentional walk.

Danny Barker (1-0) picked up the win as he worked 5.0 innings, allowing three hits and walking four batters. Barker did not strike out a Rebel batter on the afternoon.

Justin Henry led Ole Miss at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, while Zack Cozart went 1-for-2 at the plate and was hit by a pitch.

Wright State scored first, plating a run on a sacrifice bunt from Dan Biedenharn to score John Kopilchack from third. Kopilchack reached on a single and then advanced to third on a single to right center from the lead-off man in Ross Oeder.

The Rebels loaded the bases in the bottom of the third on back-to-back walks to Jordan Henry and Brett Basham before Justin Henry laid down a bunt down the third base line and beat the throw. Ole Miss was unable to push a runner across, however, as the Raiders turned a double play and then got the final out on a pop up to short.

The Raiders loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth, but Lynn struck out the next two batters to end the Wright State rally and send the game into the bottom of the fifth with Ole Miss still trailing 1-0.

Ole Miss held the Raiders off the board in the top of the sixth, as Lynn retired all three batters before the weather hit in the middle of the inning.

The game was called after an hour and 45 minutes of rain delay.

Ole Miss and Wright State will conclude the series with a single game at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. The game time was moved up to accommodate the travel plans of Wright State.

Third baseman Shane Brown broke a 4-4 tie with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday as Central Florida avoided a sweep with a 5-4 win over LSU at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (7-3) saw their four-game win streak come to an end and lost their first home game of the season. LSU was previously 6-0 at home and 2-0 in one-run games before Sunday's contest.
The Golden Knights (4-7) won for the first time in seven tries in Baton Rouge.
LSU plays host to Tulane at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the first of two meetings between the teams. Live audio and streaming video are available to members of the Geaux Zone at
The contest will be televised on a tape-delayed basis (9 p.m. Tuesday) by Cox Sports Television (cable ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).
LSU second baseman Buzzy Haydel went 2-for-5 with two runs Sunday, and centerfielder Jared Mitchell tallied two more hits and finished 6-for-13 on the weekend.
The Tigers looked to be on their way to a sweep with two runs in each of the first two innings, but LSU did not manage to score in the final seven frames.
"It's happened a few times this year where we scored runs early in games and had some good at-bats and then I don't know if it's we lose our focus or that they have such great relief pitching that it shuts us down," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "When you score four runs in the first two innings, it looked like we were swinging the bats well. Then we let them off the hook."
UCF's bullpen fired four scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Right-hander Matt McClung (1-0) qualified for the win with two perfect innings of work in relief of starter Jaager Good, who allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.
LSU picked up offensively where it left off on Saturday with a two-run first. Haydel and Mitchell started the inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, third baseman J.T. Wise delivered an RBI sacrifice fly.
Mitchell displayed his speed and hustle when he took third on the fly ball and then dived safely home after taking advantage of a throwing error by right fielder Chadd Hartman.
The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the second courtesy of another Golden Knight error. Shortstop Eric Kallstrom misplayed a Michael Hollander grounder with one out.
Following a Haydel single, right fielder Blake Dean drove an RBI liner to right, and Wise guided a two-out RBI single to center.
Trailing 4-2 in the third, UCF cut the deficit to a run on an RBI single by Hartman off of LSU starter Kyle Beerbohm.
Beerbohm, who allowed three runs in his first LSU start, exited after four innings of work.
UCF designated hitter Matt Horwath tied the game in the seventh with an RBI sacrifice fly off of reliever Michael Bonura.
Mainieri elected to go with ace reliever Jared Bradford with two outs in the seventh. Bradford allowed the go-ahead, two-out single to Brown in the eighth after first baseman Kiko Vazquez singled with one out and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt.
LSU was presented with a chance at tying the game in the eighth, but the Tigers could not come through with a timely hit. First baseman Sean Ochinko lined a one-out single to right before UCF head coach Jay Bergman elected to go to right-hander Justin Weiss out of the bullpen.
Weiss fanned pinch hitter Ryan Schimpf, and catcher Robert Lara flied to centerfield to end the threat.
Weiss ended LSU's final scoring opportunity in the ninth to pick up his second save. Haydel and Hollander were retired to start the inning, but Mitchell kept the game alive with a two-out double into the right field corner.
Weiss then induced a groundout from Dean, leaving the tying run in scoring position.
"You have got to take advantage of your scoring opportunities when you are not a power-hitting team," said Mainieri. "It allowed Central Florida to stay in the game, and ultimately, they get a couple of breaks and we lose."
Bradford (1-1) suffered his first loss, allowing a run on three hits in 2.1 innings of work. He walked none and struck out three.
Central Florida 5, LSU 4 (Feb 25, 2007 at Baton Rouge, La.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Central Florida..... 201 000 110 - 5 8 3 (4-7)LSU...................... 220 000 000 - 4 9 2 (7-3)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Central Florida - Jaager Good; Matt McClung(6); Carmine Giardina(8); Justin Weiss(8).LSU - Kyle Beerbohm; Michael Bonura(5); Nolan Cain(7); Jared Bradford(7).Win-Matt McClung(1-0) Save-Justin Weiss(2) Loss-Jared Bradford(1-1) T-3:01 A-7399Actual attendance: 3,217Bonura faced 1 batter in the 7th.
LSU Baseball Report – February 26, 2007

Manny in Camp

Though he said he wasn't going to arrive until March 1, outfielder Manny Ramirez showed up at Sox camp in Fort Myers this morning with agents Greg Genske and Gene Matos.