Familiar Face

Three seasons ago, Randy Zeigler was part of a national championship team at LSU. An injury, a transfer and a lot of hard work later, Zeigler was back in Baton Rouge as the Friday night starter throwing against the Tigers rather than for them. A hotly contested NCAA regional affair went LSU's way in the later innings, but for six well pitched frames, Zeigler had the Tigers tamed.

"I just worked on throwing strikes," said Zeigler after being saddled with the loss. "It was an exciting game.

"The fans were into it. It was fun.

"Being a big game and a big crowd, that made it a little more exciting."

While Zeigler was a man of few word regarding his own performance, LSU head baseball coach Paul Mainieri had plenty of complimentary things to offer about his former left hander.

"Randy threw a great game tonight," said Mainieri. "He was something tonight.

"That's what we expected him to throw when we recruited him.

"I knew he was good and I tell you he's really come into his own.

"I am really happy for him and proud of him. He pitched a great ball game."

The Tigers scratched across their first run after an errant pick off throw from Zeigler allowed LSU center fielder Arby Fields to advance from first to third as the ball rattled around in the right field bullpen.

Outside of that gaffe, Zeigler had the Tigers off balance until the southpaw's former LSU roommate Tyler Hanover bounced a ground ball through a drawn in infield to chase home two runs.

"I just tried to throw strikes and give them something to think about," said Zeigler.

According to Coach Mainieri, the Bengal batters got caught guessing a few times early on.

"I thought Randy would be a little more wild than he was," admitted Mainieri. "He was pounding the zone.

"Every time I would give a take sign, he would pound a strike right in there.

"The way he was throwing, I felt that we were going to have to hit our way to victory.

"He wasn't going to give us anything. Eventually we got to him a little bit."

The Tigers timely base hits chased Zeigler from the contest.

In a show of extreme respect for the effort Zeigler exerted, an electric crowd of LSU fans rose to their feet and showered the visiting hurler with a standing ovation as he left the playing field.

"I just thought that was really special," said Mainieri. "I don't think they did it only because he once played here.

"Our fans do that regularly when they appreciate great efforts by other teams whether it's a diving catch or a pitcher who's pitched his heart out.

"Obviously, Randy gave it everything he had tonight.

"These people here are intelligent. They know what was going on.

"Randy was part of our national championship team and I felt like this was a way for them to say goodbye to him in appropriate way.

"They showed a special appreciation for how he competed tonight."

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