#WEIRDBASEBALL is upon us!
It’s the week before Memorial Day, one of my favorite weeks on the sports calendar due to one event: the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. LSU has had great success in this tournament’s history, especially during the Paul Mainieri years.
While LSU doesn’t win the tournament every year, their appearances are very consistent in one regard: being weird. LSU just can’t win normally. Let’s celebrate that weirdness by looking back at the ten weirdest games LSU has played in Hoover in the past decade.
10: (5/25/21) 4-1 loss to Georgia: That’s It??
This game doesn’t seem that weird at first glance. Sure it’s weird that all five runs came in the first inning, but otherwise this is a pretty normal baseball game.
That is what makes this weird.
It would’ve been fitting that Paul Mainieri’s farewell tour featured some Hoover dramatics, but that’s what we were expecting. Hoover Weirdness kept us on our toes by giving us the thing we least expected: a snoozer that sent LSU home after just one game.
9: (5/20/15) 9-8 win over Auburn: The Comeback
The 2015 team is the only team on this list to secure the 1 seed in the tournament. So how did they make an entrance? By surrendering five runs in the first inning and barely climbing out of it.
Auburn pushed the lead to 8-3 in the fifth, but LSU answered back with a wild bottom frame where they scored six runs. I have scoured the web and sadly cannot find any video of this game, but I’m fairly certain the inning would’ve ended with an 8-7 Auburn lead except the outfielder dropped a routine flyball to let LSU score the final two runs of the game. Until lsusports.net restores their once great highlight archives, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Also remember the Jared Foster eligibility saga? I distinctly remember that this was not long after his reinstatement and he hammered one of the hardest hit balls I’ve ever seen into the Hoover Met parking lot early in the game.
8: (5/24/16) 5-4 win over Tennessee: The Rally Possum Legend Continues
Of all the unnecessarily dramatic teams of the Mainieri Era, I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I call 2016 the most unnecessarily dramatic. This team opened their season by hitting a walk-off at the Box, and ended it by getting walked-off at the Box. But all anyone remembers is that damn possum.
Rejuvenated by the magic possum powers, LSU entered Hoover as a 5-seed, meaning they had to play a single elimination game against Tennessee, the worst team in Hoover. Should be an easy win right? Of course not. You may remember this as the game where LSU got thrown out at the plate THREE TIMES! I really hope Nolan Cain didn’t search his name on Twitter after.
After a 4-0 deficit was cut to 4-3, LSU entered the ninth needing a run to stay alive in the SEC Tournament. A deep run was needed to secure a Top 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In need of heroics, Greg Deichmann and Kramer Robertson came through.
(Click on this tweet to see the highlights)
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 25, 2016
With the win, LSU advanced to play a game that you will see in a few entries.
7: (5/25/14) 2-0 win over Florida: The Back-to-Back Championship
The 2014 LSU baseball team was good but not as dominant as the prior two years. A top 8 seed wasn’t a guarantee until they caught fire heading into the 2014 Tournament. They rolled into the championship game undefeated after wins by scores of 11-1, 7-2 and 11-1. The championship opponent was the top-seeded Florida Gators who swept LSU earlier that season, the only sweep the Tigers had suffered in the past three years.
After scoring effortlessly the first three games, both teams’ bats went quiet. It seemed like nobody would score until DH Sean McMullen notched every RBI of the game with one swing.
The second best part of this game after LSU winning was it only last two hours and 39 minutes. We can all appreciate that.
6: (5/26/13) 5-4 win over Vanderbilt: The Heavyweight Championship
This game isn’t really that weird. It was just a damn good baseball game.
The Tigers and Commodores were near the top of the rankings all season long and this championship matchup felt like fate. both teams delivered enough clutch hits and outstanding defensive plays (Jared Foster’s dart to Ty ross at the three-minute mark is my favorite) to have us knotted at 4-4 after nine innings. Foster was then the winning run thanks to a clutch hit by pinch hitter Chris Sciambra in the 11th. The door was then shut by Chris Cotton, who was basically prime Mariano Rivera in this tourney. We may never understand what went wrong with this team in Omaha because they were awesome all year.
5: (5/25/16) 5-3 win over Florida: 14 Inning Possum Magic
After that dramatic walk-off against Tennessee, LSU faced the Gators in Hoover for the third straight year. LSU ace Alex Lange got off to a rough start surrendering two runs in the first inning, but settled in and dominated the next six innings, tallying 11 strikeouts. The LSU offense came alive and scored three runs in the top of the 8th. But closer Hunter Newman couldn’t get the final out of the 9th and allowed Florida to tie the game 3-3. It looked like Florida was going to deal the final blow two innings later when they loaded the bases with one out. Mainieri even subbed out Jake Fraley so he could play five infielders. Then this insane double play happened.
If the SEC wasn’t for some reason still using Vine to post highlights five months before it died, that clip would’ve gone on long enough for us to see an iconic sad crowd shot.
We were subjected to two more scoreless innings until LSU scored two runs in the top of the 14th. LSU secured the win at 1:48 am CST, five hours and seven minutes after first pitch.
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 26, 2016
As the tweet says, the thrilling game was the longest in SEC Tournament history, a record that surely stood for many years wait why do I hear ominous music playing oh god
4: (5/22/19) 6-5 loss to Mississippi State: 17 Inning nightmare
LSU once again found itself as a 5-seed playing in the latest time slot of the day, and made sure to see as much of the night as possible. Trailing 4-2 in the top of the 9th, freshman OF Giovanni DiGiacomo stepped to the plate. After not hitting a home run all season, he somehow sent a ball soaring over the deep walls of the Hoover Met.
WE. ARE. TIED. pic.twitter.com/YSophC8x3F
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 23, 2019
Exciting right? Hope you enjoyed it because the teams then spent six innings immediately after forgetting how to score.
The game went on for a comically long time until Gio hit a sac fly in the top of the 16th. Happy ending right? Sadly no, as State answered back in the bottom of the frame. One inning later another single gave them the win. Remember how crazy a five hour, seven minute game ending at 1:48 am sounded? How about a six hour, 43 minute game ending at 3:03 am.
The game’s final time clocked in at 2.23 Avengers: Endgames. https://t.co/QwzlUtUcy3
— Evan Saacks Everywhere All At Once (@evansaacks) May 23, 2019
Former ATVS contributor, current Texas Rangers beat writer for MLB.com and friend of the site Kennedi Landry was in the press box for this game, so I asked if she wanted to share her experience of covering this game. She said, “I’ve never questioned my career choice quite like that night.” She then sent a meme her friend made at some point during the game.
Wanna know why that loss really stung for LSU? Because a win would’ve given them a day off to rest, but a loss meant they had to play an elimination game NINE HOURS LATER. So how did that game go?
3: (5/23/19) 4-3 win over Auburn: The Kicked Ball Game
LSU understandably struggled through a lethargic follow-up elimination game against Auburn, but still had a chance to win trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th. LSU got two runners in scoring position with no outs, but were unable to score on the first out. Then this happened:
Not sure if we’ve seen anything quite like this LSU-Auburn finish pic.twitter.com/JwnfWK1W20
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 23, 2019
With the win, LSU advanced to a rematch against Mississippi State. LSU got its sweet revenge with a 12-2 run-rule victory. Enjoy these highlights of that!
2: (5/25-26/18) 11-0 win over Florida: The Fog Game
The 2017 LSU Tigers seemed like a team of destiny until it all came crashing down in the College World Series Finals against, of all teams, the hated Florida Gators. There was no regular season rematch in 2018 which was probably for the best as it was a rebuilding year for LSU while Florida continued its dominance. A rematch happened early in the SEC Tournament, a ho hum 4-3 Florida win. LSU let an opportunity for revenge slip through their fingers, but were given another chance thanks to a win that you may or may not hear about in a second.
The next game was significantly better. LSU pitching dominated despite being made up entirely of bullpen arms, while LSU’s solid approach at the plate gave them a 3-0 lead. Things came apart for Florida in the sixth inning as a combination of walks, wild pitches and errors allowed the LSU lead to balloon to 8-0. As this happened, viewers began to notice a subtle change in the weather.
There’s, like, a fog rolling through the outfield at Hoover Met.
— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) May 26, 2018
The fog became a fun thing for Tom Hart and Kyle Peterson to joke about as they sat through this late-night blowout, but then Daniel Cabrera stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and did exactly the thing everyone joked might happen.
The game then entered a fog delay where, as is tradition when LSU is in Hoover, hijinks ensued.
— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) May 26, 2018
Shortly before midnight the rest of the game was delayed until 10 am the next morning. Because of the SEC Tournament’s run-rule, LSU only needed three outs to end the game. So LSU showed up the following morning, scored one more run for good measure, then recorded three Devin Fontenot strikeouts to finish the game.
In a two day affair, the Tigers defeated Florida, 11-0 in seven innings, their twelfth mercy-rule victory in the SEC Tournament ever! LSU will face Arkansas later this afternoon in the semi-finals of the tournament! #GeauxTigers pic.twitter.com/QYML1qpEpN
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 26, 2018
So after scoring all those runs in the sixth inning, LSU had to show back up at the stadium nine hours later, play one inning, go back to the hotel, then come back AGAIN that afternoon to play a well-rested Arkansas team in an elimination game. LSU won 2-1 behind an Alex Lange gem and a Zach Watson homer. Like I said, this team is fun in Hoover.
1: (5/24/18) 6-4 win over South Carolina: The Todd Peterson Game
You knew this was gonna be No. 1, but let’s set the stage first. Following that intial failed attempt at Gator revenge, LSU had to play an elimination game against a South Carolina team that swept them a month ago. Tied 2-2 in the 8th, Antoine Duplantis was thrown out at the plate for the third out, until replay confirmed he is actually Baseball Neo.
T8: HE’S SAFE!
After further review, @antoine_dupl avoids the tag at the plate as LSU takes the lead, 3-2!
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 24, 2018
However, South Carolina was able to get a run back in the bottom of the 9th as Todd Peterson blew a save. But short on arms, Mainieri stuck with him. Peterson held the Gamecocks scoreless for two innings until a Daniel Cabrera single gave LSU a 4-3 lead in the top of the 12th. Because DH Austin Bain moved to first base, the next batter would either have to be the pitcher, Peterson, or a pinch hitter. With the lead in hand Mainieri wanted to stick with Peterson in a closing situation, so he let him bat, assuming he would stand there, take three strikes, then walk to the mound to secure a 4-3 win. That did not happen.
In his first career at-bat at LSU, @Todd_Peterson3 does this!
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 25, 2018
While far from a historic win in the legendary history of LSU baseball, this is a You Remember Where You Were Moment for every fan I know. I was 95 percent of the way through my drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans where I listened to Chris Blair call the game. Without the ability to watch it live, I literally could not believe it. I thought the radio crew was confused about who was batting. Thankfully I made it home in time to see “Yeah I hit bombs!”
OH BABY! @Todd_Peterson3 stepped up big time for the Tigers tonight in extras!
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 25, 2018
As if Todd Peterson wasn’t already the funniest thing to ever happen in an SEC Tournament game, it got even better.
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 25, 2018
I really don’t think there’s anything else I can say except this is just what makes baseball great. Below I’ve included the SEC Network recap which includes all the clips I’ve already posted, but also features one additional tidbit I never hear people talk about enough: TODD’S DAD WENT ALONG WITH THE LIE TOO! Move over Jim Redmond and LaVar Ball, Hans Peterson is the GOAT Sports Dad.