Dig Baton Rouge

The Sports Troll: Questions, questions, questions about LSU baseball

Man, do you guys have LSU baseball fever.

The Tigers are white hot right now, and just about all of your LSU-related questions had to do with Paul Mainieri’s club.

Heck, with the way LSU crushed Missouri to open the SEC Tournament, I can’t blame you guys. I’d probably be asking about those guys, too.

Q: Do the Tigers have a national seed locked up yet? (Asked by Wilson, New Orleans)
A: Yes, I think so. Going into the SEC Tournament, I’d have said no, because if LSU would have lost both of their tournament games, I could have seen the committee working a snub job. But after crushing Missouri and moving into the winner’s bracket, I don’t see any possible way that the Tigers, the SEC Western Division Champions and the SEC overall co-champions, are not at home in the Super Regionals – assuming they win the Regional, which has been a struggle, in and of itself.

Q: Who would be LSU’s fourth starter in a Regional weekend setting? (Asked by Thomas, Baton Rouge)
A: I think that is maybe the best question of the week. I think Eric Walker or Jared Poche’ will open the Regional next weekend, depending on how formidable the No. 4 seed in the Baton Rouge Regional is. From there is the easy one: Alex Lange will be called upon to pitch the “hammer game” and/or the loser’s bracket game. In the third game, whoever didn’t pitch game one out of Poche’ and Walker will be the guy. What happens in game four is a mystery. I suppose Caleb Gilbert would have to be a nominee after going five strong in the SEC Tournament against Missouri. He’s probably the safest bet.

Q: Is there any chance we see another Louisiana team in The Box next weekend? (Asked by Lou, Metairie)
A: I’d think so. Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese and Louisiana Tech all have pretty good shots to make the field, and they’re all in the ballpark of that two or three seed area. I think one of those teams will end up in Baton Rouge and the others will end up in the Southern Miss Regional. UL-Lafayette is also a possibility, but I think they are very much on the bubble to make the tournament at all.

Q: What worries you most about LSU going into the postseason? (Asked by Rob, Houma)
A: Pitching depth – especially if LSU gets behind the eight-ball in a weekend Regional or Super Regional. I believe in Alex Lange, and I think Poche’ is crafty enough to give a gutsy effort – even if not dominant. But Eric Walker is a freshman and has been awfully hit or miss. After him, I don’t trust anyone else on the staff to give competitive innings in a high-stakes setting – a problem that’s plagued the team often in recent years.

Q: Are you concerned by the Lanard Fournette arrest? (Asked by NolaCat)
A: It’s not ideal. Having a young player arrested never is. But I’m not overly concerned about this situation because of the lack of severity of the crime. Lanard was shooting craps at a casino a few months before he turned 21. That’s something literally thousands of college students do every year without having their names being slung through the mud. I know college athletes have a higher profile and all that, but this was a 100 percent non-violent crime that we can chalk up to a young man being a tad immature. Far worse things have happened in college football.

Q: Will LSU softball beat Florida State this weekend? (Asked by LadyTiger, Baton Rouge)
A: If I knew that answer with 100 percent certainty, I’d be in Vegas. Obviously, Florida State is the favorite in this series. They’re the higher seeded team and they’re on their home field. But the SEC is the Queen Conference of college softball, owning eight of the final 16 remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament. So for that reason, I think LSU has a puncher’s chance – just because they’re battle tested and have won games against quality competition on the road before.

Q: Who will score LSU’s first touchdown of the season? (Asked by Chase, Luling)
A: The safe money would be on Derrius Guice, but I like to take chances. Give me Darrel Williams on a 2-yard scamper on the goal line.

Now, for a few non-LSU questions.

Q: Jinder Mahal … WWE Champion…? Say it isn’t so! (Asked by WrestlingMark)
A: I love it. It’s different. It’s interesting. I think the wrestling universe needs to realize that no one really cares about generic, little-to-no-personality guys like Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and several others the company has tried to push. Mahal is far from a whiz in the ring, but at least his storyline is interesting. I want to see how far WWE will take the elephant in the room – his Middle Eastern ties. I also want to see if he can stay over as a heel once the shock and awe is off.

Q: NBA Finals prediction, please? (Asked by Mark, Kenner)
A: Warriors in 5. I’m not budging. They’re much better than the Cavs.

Q: Who will win? Triple-G or Canelo? (Asked by Richie, Brownsville)
A: I see this fight in my head 100 times and every, single time, I see it going a different way. I lean toward Canelo, though, because I’ve seen him in the ring against the best competition the world has to offer. He lost to Floyd Mayweather, but was starting to peak toward the end of the fight. He’s beaten other top guys along the way. GGG hasn’t been challenged. He’s never fought someone who realistically could beat him. I think it’s about a 50 percent chance of a Canelo decision win, a 30 percent chance of a GGG knockout, a 15 percent chance of a Canelo knockout and a 5 percent chance of a GGG decision win.


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