LSU opens Johnson era with series against Maine – Crescent City Sports
Maine Black Bears (0-0) vs. No. 3 LSU Fighting Tigers (0-0)
Friday, February 18 – 6:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, February 19 – 1:30 p.m. CT
Sunday, February 20 – 1 p.m. CT
Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field (10,326)
• LSU – No. 3 Collegiate Baseball; No. 7 USA Today; Baseball No. 8 D1; No. 10 Baseball America
• Maine – unranked
• Affiliated with the LSU Sports Radio Network
• Live audio at www.LSUsports.net/live; Live statistics at www.LSUstats.com
SEC Network+, accessible on Watch ESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app
• Paul Mainieri, who retired as LSU head coach at the end of the 2021 season, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Friday’s game… Mainieri led LSU to the 2009 national championship, five appearances to the University World Series, nine NCAA regional titles, four SEC Regular Season titles and six SEC Tournament championships in his 15 years with the Tigers…he coached 39 total seasons at St. Thomas, Air Force, Notre Dame and LSU, and he is one of only five coaches in NCAA Baseball Division I history to win 1,500 career games and a national championship.
• The first 1,000 fans on Friday night will receive “College Sports’ Biggest Fans” t-shirts
VS SERIES RECORD. MAINE
LSU leads the all-time series against Maine, 6-1, and the teams meet this weekend for the first time since 1995, when the Tigers swept a three-game series at Alex Box Stadium … LSU has also won two of three games over the Black Bears in 1992 at “The Box”…the schools’ first meeting was in the 1986 College World Series, when LSU earned its first-ever win in a CWS game, defeating Maine , 8-4, June 1, 1986 … LSU is 12-3 all-time record against current members of the America East Conference – Tigers are 6-1 against Maine , 2-2 against Stony Brook, 3-0 against UMass Lowell and 1-0 against .Binghamton.
LSU – So. RH Blake Money (1-2, 8.68 ERA, 28.0 IP, 10 BB, 28 SO in 2021)
UM – Gr. RH Brett Erwin (at UC Davis in 2021: 1-4, 5.06 ERA, 58.2 IP, 28 BB, 37 SO)
LSU – Sr. RH Ma’Khail Hilliard (6-0, 4.31 ERA, 54.1 IP, 12 BB, 53 SO in 2021)
UM – So. RH Noah Lewis (4-6, 5.16 ERA, 61.0 IP, 28 BB, 45 SO in 2021)
LSU – TBD
UM – Gr. RH Jordan Schulefand (at Richmond in 2021: 4-1, 4.19 ERA, 19.1 IP, 4 BB, 10 SO)
QUOTE COACH JAY JOHNSON
“We’re extremely excited about this weekend and can’t wait to play in front of our great fans in a stadium with no capacity restrictions. Our team is starting to take shape; there are so many guys who can contribute, and it’s our job to set them up to succeed. I like the versatility of our team – we’re a strong team, but we also have a lot of athleticism. We can mix and match our players on any given day to give us the best chance of winning. I’m looking for our guys to have the right mindset and do their jobs the way they’ve been trained. The most important thing for opening weekend is that the players are in control of their heartbeats; they’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point, so we just want to follow our default training and get a good heartbeat on what we’re doing.
• Coach Jay Johnson begins his first season at the helm of the LSU program this weekend against Maine… Johnson worked nine seasons as a collegiate head coach, including one season (2005) at Point Loma Nazarene, two seasons (2014-15) at Nevada and six seasons (2016-21) at Arizona … he led Arizona to College World Series appearances in 2016 and 2021, and the Wildcats finished second nationally in 2016 against Coastal Carolina … Johnson’s 2021 Arizona club also won the Pac-12 conference title, and he was named league coach of the year.
• LSU went 38-25 overall last season, 13-17 in the Southeastern Conference…the Tigers won the 2021 NCAA Eugene (Ore.) Regional – after losing their regional opener to Gonzaga, LSU bounced back to defeat Central Connecticut State, Gonzaga and Oregon (twice) to win the regional … the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Knoxville Super Regional, where LSU was eliminated in two games by Tennessee.
• The Tigers, ranked 3rd by Collegiate Baseball in the 2022 preseason polls, return nine position players with starting experience and 10 pitchers who recorded innings last season. LSU was expected to finish fourth in the SEC West Division in the league’s annual coaches’ poll.
• Eleven LSU players appear in the 2022 D1 baseball preseason positional rankings: Dylan Crews is ranked No. 1 among outfielders, Tre’ Morgan is the No. 1 first baseman, Jacob Berry is the No. No. 1 third baseman and Cade Doughty is No. 1 first baseman. No. 4 second baseman. 23), Tyler McManus (#29 catcher), Eric Reyzelman (#42 relief pitcher), Paul Gervase (#51 relief pitcher), Javen Coleman (#98 starting pitcher) and Devin Fontenot (#102 starting pitcher) ).
• LSU leads the nation with three players on the 2022 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list released by USA Baseball on Tuesday. The announcement of the 55-player watch list kicks off the process of identifying the nation’s top amateur baseball player for the 2022 season. LSU players on the Golden Spikes Award watch list are sophomore outfielder Dylan Crews, second-year first baseman Tre ‘Morgan and second-year infielder Jacob Berry. LSU is the only school with three players on the roster and is followed by Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Florida, Ole Miss, Texas and Vanderbilt, all of whom have reps.
• LSU has won 20 consecutive season openers; The Tigers’ last loss in a season opener came on February 10, 2001, when LSU dropped a 9-8 decision to Kansas State at the original Alex Box Stadium.
ABOUT BLACK BEARS
• Maine posted a 22-22 overall record in 2021, including a 16-17 mark in the America East Conference… Maine was No. 2 in the conference in batting average, as the Black Bears hit .270 with 36 homers and 28 interceptions in 39 attempts… Maine was also No. 2 in the conference on the ERA team (4.76), and the Black Bears staff recorded 368 strikeouts in 353.1 innings.
• Maine head coach Nick Derba enters his fifth season with the Black Bears after going 83-131, 47-53 overall in the America East Conference.
Maine’s top returning hitter is senior receiver Ryan Turenne, who batted .308 last season with four doubles, five home runs and 19 RBIs…other top returning hitters include senior outfielder Scout Knotts (.295, eight doubles, three triples, four home runs, 21 RBIs). ) and graduate infielder Joe Bramanti (.293, seven doubles, six home runs, 28 RBIs