LSU Tigers: Oregon State Beavers

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Oregon State coach Mike Riley launched a new Twitter campaign on Tuesday to help the Beavers connect with recruits across the country; LSU’s Frank Wilson didn’t make the first edition of the ESPN recruiting power rankings, but he could be leading the poll by signing day; and a question and answer session on Wednesday helped identify what topics are most important with recruiting fans today.

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Oregon State coach Mike Riley has more than 18,900 followers and is great communicating with fans on Twitter. So it was no surprise to see him launch a campaign Tuesday called “Tweet Film Tuesday” where he asked recruits to send him links to their film, and he and his staffers will then select 10 recruits to evaluate each week. With only 140 characters to work with, Riley didn’t explain how he and his assistants would pick the 10 recruits to evaluate, but the idea is ingenious. Not only does it help Riley and the Beaver coaches communicate with prospects in a way they’re already familiar with, it also allows the OSU coaches to find prospects they might not have been familiar with who are truly interested in the program. Also with Riley’s track record of uncovering hidden talent, you can all but guarantee there will be a story a few years down the road where the Beavers found a sleeper through this approach.

Tigers 13th in Way-Too-Early Top 25

January, 8, 2013
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Alabama CheerleadersStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesAlabama, with three of the past four national titles, is No. 1 in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2013.

There are still seven months before the start of the 2013 season, and the teams and their order figure to change frequently, but it's never too early to take a look at the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2013.

And with three national championships in the past four years, there's no reason to change the team that's on top. With so many players leaving early for the NFL, LSU has some ground to make up at No. 13.

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2014 QB Cornwell with plenty of options 

January, 6, 2013
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Quarterback David Cornwell (Jones, Okla./Jones) came out of nowhere to have an exceptional junior season and is now unquestionably one of the top in-state prospects for the Class of 2014.

Problem is, though, neither Oklahoma nor in-state power Oklahoma State have shown much interest. Cornwell camped at OU and had good contact with former OSU quarterbacks coach Todd Monken.

With Monken’s departure to become the Southern Mississippi head coach combined with little interest from OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel thus far, right now it looks like one of the state’s best prospects will have to look elsewhere.

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As Louisiana's high school football playoffs reach their second week, the matchups get better in the five classes, each whittled down to a field of 16 remaining teams, many who feature some of the state's top prospects. In Class 5A, West Monroe and Scott/Acadiana meet in a matchup of traditional powers. In 4A, Neville meets Breaux Bridge in a rematch of an epic semifinal matchup last year. Here are the top games involving major prospects this week: Class 5A

No. 16 Geismar/Dutchtown (8-2) at No. 1 Metairie/Rummel (10-0): Dutchtown has plenty of talent, including Mississippi State commit Shelby Christy at wide reciever. It was surprising to see the Griffons slip to the No. 16 seed. It's a tough draw for the top-seeded Raiders, led by dual-threat quarterback Damian Williams, who sports a Kansas State offer.

No. 9 Monroe/Ouachita Parish (9-2) at No. 25 Ruston (6-5): The Monroe area, which won three of last year's five state championships last season, showed its toughness again last week when Ruston upset No. 8 seed South Lafourche, creating an all-Northeast Louisiana second-round match. Ouachita features three-star receiver and Washington commit Caleb Tucker at linebacker and Taijuan Thomas and 2014 ESPN Watch List member Cameron Sims at wide receiver.

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Weekend observations: Barbe vs. Evangel 

September, 17, 2012
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Barbe's 48-47 win against Evangel Christian on Friday night will probably be a contender for prep game of the year when it's all said and done. Barbe jumped out to a 28-7 lead before allowing the Eagles back into the game. A go-ahead touchdown with 25 seconds left to make the score 48-41 in Barbe's favor finally seemed like the clincher.

Desean Smith
Gary Laney/ESPN.comDeSean Smith might be used in a number of ways at LSU.
But Evangel raced back with an 80-yard hail mary score and seemed poised to send the game to overtime. Instead, the Eagles opted for a two-point conversion and the win. Evangel quarterback Dakota Duron had an open man for the game-winning points, but he overthrew him while scrambling away from the Bucs defense.

Here are some extra thoughts from the night:

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OT Clay Rhodes staying true to Mizzou 

July, 25, 2012
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Three-star offensive tackle Clay Rhodes (Stilwell, Kan./Blue Valley), the No. 2-ranked player in Kansas, got the offer thousands of high school athletes dream of getting.

And he turned it down.

Rhodes, a Missouri commitment, respectfully declined an offer from LSU on Tuesday. While he said the scholarship was beyond intriguing, his loyalties are to his original commitment as Missouri prepares for its first season in the SEC with LSU.

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Goody "electric" for Tigers

June, 4, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU closer Nick Goody slumped before the Baton Rouge regional, but in two shutout innings in two days, the right-hander had fantastic stuff.

He struck out the side in the 10th inning in Sunday's 6-5, 10-inning win over Oregon State for his 11th save of the season, setting up the Beavers hitters with hard fastballs, then finishing them off with nasty sliders on all three third strikes.

"He was electric," said Oregon State closer Scott Schultz, who was pretty good in his own right in 8 2/3 innings of splendid relief work for OSU in the loss. "He spotted his fast ball and his slider was pretty good. But he spotted his fastball, just like a major leaguer."

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A quick recap of LSU's 6-5 regional final win against Oregon State. The Tigers (46-16) battled back from a 5-3 deficit to defeat the Beavers (40-20) in 10 innings and advance to a Super Regional.

Overview: It looked like LSU would cruise into the Super Regionals after a disastrous start for Oregon State pitcher Taylor Starr. Starr lasted just one third of an inning against LSU's lineup -- he surrendered three hits to the four batters he faced, including a two-run homer to Raph Rhymes.

Starr's relief, Scott Schultz, completely dominated, however. Shultz breezed through 8.2 for the Beavers, racking up nine strikeouts and limiting the Tigers to just one run during his time on the mound.

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Beavers to throw Starr vs. LSU

June, 3, 2012
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It's not much of a story that Oregon State eliminated Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday afternoon to advance to the championship round against No. 7 LSU.

The Beavers (40-19) cruised to an 11-2 win against the Warhawks (32-30), and they held a 7-1 advantage as early as the fourth inning -- the upcoming rematch with LSU was a foregone conclusion soon after the first pitch was thrown.

What stands out a little bit more isn't the win itself, but the boost that Oregon State starting pitcher Ben Wetzler delivered to his ball club. Much like LSU ace Kevin Gausman on Saturday night, Wetzler labored through an intensive, 128-pitch start, allowing eight hits but only two runs. More impressive than that, Wetzler nearly pulled off a complete game in the 90-degree heat of a June afternoon in Baton Rouge. He lasted 8.2 innings and struck out eight ULM batters, allowing the Beavers to shelve their bullpen for the Tigers.

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Long climb back for OSU, ULM

June, 3, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU coach Paul Mainieri summed up the stakes in LSU's 7-1 win over Oregon State Saturday quite nicely.

"These kids didn't need any more pressure on them than they already have, so I didn't tell them until after the game was over that the difference of winning this game was the difference of having to win one more game or three more games," Manieri said. "It's pretty significant."

By winning, the Tigers (45-16) are in great shape heading into the championship round, getting two chances to win one game that will wrap up the the Baton Roug regional.

They'll sit back and watch Oregon State and Louisiana-Monroe play the 1:30 p.m. elimination game. After the Beavers and Warhawks go through nine innings of pitching staff depletion, LSU will be there waiting with weekend starter Ryan Eades (5-2, 3.36) ready to go against whatever the winner of the ULM-OSU game has left.

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Some quick thoughts from LSU's grueling 7-1 win against Oregon State.

Overview: When the matchup of Tigers (45-16) against Beavers (39-19) was decided during Friday night's opening round, the assumption was the two squads would grind through a low-scoring pitching duel. LSU brought its all-everything ace in Kevin Gausman, and Oregon State countered with righty Dan Child and his impressive 2.75 ERA.

Gausman gave himself something to sweat over during every trip to the mound in his eight innings of work. The sophomore labored to a massive pitch count, as he threw 61 pitches in the first three innings on the way to 129 total pitches for the night. The SEC's strikeout king didn't rack up many K's, either, as he punched out just three batters.

That said, Gausman stubbornly refused to allow Oregon State runners across home plate. The Beavers managed one run in the third inning when Gausman gave up three straight base hits. After that, however, he only allowed one runner to reach third base. He stranded 10 Oregon State runners on the base paths.

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BATON ROUGE, La. – With the top seeds holding serve in the first day of the Baton Rouge regional Friday at Alex Box Stadium, it set the stage for an early NCAA tournament meeting of national powers.

No. 7 LSU (44-16), the region's top seed, will face No. 17 Oregon State (39-18), the tourney's No. 2 seed. The pair have won three of the last six national championships and their conferences have won five of the last six national titles.

"It's SEC vs. Pac-12," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "That's a big game."

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If the scoreline wasn't evidence enough, expect runs to come at a premium no matter which of these squads LSU faces on Saturday.

Pitching was on display during Friday's regional opener between Oregon State (39-18) and Belmont (39-23). The Beavers eked out a 2-1 victory against the Bruins despite managing a paltry three hits all afternoon. The Bruins didn't fare much better with just six hits of their own, but they could muster only one run to compete with Oregon State's pair.

Those runs weren't easily earned, either. The Beavers opened the scoring in the second frame when Ryan Barnes doubled to open the inning and moved to third on a fielder's choice. Kavin Keyes brought Barnes home on a sacrifice fly with one out.

The Bruins responded to tie the score in the fifth inning when Dylan Craig hit a leadoff triple before scoring on a fielder's choice -- but that would be the only run Belmont could muster -- although there were opportunities. The Oregon State pitching staff was clutch when it needed to be, as the Beavers wound up stranding nine Belmont runners. The most glaring gaffe was a two-out rally in the fourth inning, when the Bruins loaded the bases with two men gone but couldn't push a run across.

The pitching performances will give LSU's righty-laden lineup something to think about. The Beavers used two lefties to devastating effect. Starter Jace Fry went five innings and allowed four hits and one run, and reliever Matt Boyd went 2.1 innings and allowed just one hit to pick up his third save. Right-handed reliever Tony Bryant (6-2) picked up the win while working in between Fry and Boyd.

Impressive as the Oregon State bullpen looked (just two hits allowed over four innings of work), LSU will be happy it dodged a potential matchup with Belmont starter Chase Brookshire (8-4). Brookshire was the definition of a tough luck loser Friday. He went seven innings against the Beavers and allowed just three hits and two earned runs. But he picked up the loss when the Beaver bullpen shut down the comeback attempt.

If the regional opener is any indication, LSU is in for quite a struggle at the plate on Saturday -- regardless of whom the Tigers face.
On Monday, LSU might be playing to continue its baseball season.

But its most notable player will also be getting his name called on the first day of Baseball's First-Year Player Draft.

Kevin Gausman, the LSU right-hander who will pitch Saturday, is likely to be among the first picks, if not the first pick, when the draft starts Monday.

"Hopefully, we'll all be together Monday night to watch it, but for a positive reason," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Thursday after his team held a brief practice before Friday's start of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.

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Rhymes a bargain for LSU

May, 30, 2012
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As far as bang for your buck, Raph Rhymes has to be the best deal in college baseball.

He is the best player in the mighty Southeastern Conference, at least in the eyes of the league's coaches who named him SEC Player of the Year on Tuesday.

He's also the nation's leading hitter, at .459, 29 points better than the second-best hitter.

And what does this cost LSU?

This season, nothing.

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