First the bad news:
Wildcats Too Much for the Tigers, Lose 70-64
LSU (17-8, 7-7 SEC) has now lost four-straight games since their 73-70 upset of then-No. 24 Florida in Gainesville. The Tigers are now in a tie for second place in the SEC West with Alabama, although the Tigers hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their two wins during the season.
With the victory, Kentucky (21-4, 11-3 SEC) has now won four-straight games and wrapped-up their fifth-straight SEC East title. The Wildcats head to South Carolina up by three games with only two remaining.
LSU was led in scoring by guard Darrel Mitchell with 15 points. Mitchell continued his torrid pace from behind the arc, hitting on 4-of-8 three-pointers. As a team, LSU was 9-24 for 37.5 percent from 3-point land.
The Tigers also got a big game from freshman forward Brandon Bass. Bass, who has struggled in the last few games with injured forward Jaime Lloreda on the bench, put in 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in 37 minutes.
Lady Tigers Fall to Lady Vols in Regular-Season Finale, 85-62
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - LSU's 15th-ranked Lady Tigers basketball team fell 85-62 at second-ranked Tennessee Sunday afternoon in the regular season finale in Thompson-Boling Arena, but the Lady Tigers secured the No. 2 seed in next week's Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Tennessee (25-2, 14-0 SEC) jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and LSU (22-6, 10-4 SEC) never got closer than six points through the remainder of the game. The Lady Vols have now won 54 straight SEC games at home.
The Lady Tigers stayed close in the first half and trailed 35-27 at the break, but Tennessee pulled away late in the game with a 20-8 run for the 23-point victory.
Doneeka Hodges led LSU with 18 points, while Temeka Johnson recorded her seventh double double of the season with 16 points and 11 assists, adding five rebounds. Seimone Augustus added 12 points and Scholanda Hosted had 11 points off the bench.
Shyra Ely led Tennessee with 25 points and nine rebounds, while LaToya Davis added 13 points and Tasha Butts had eight points and nine rebounds.
LSU shot just 36.4 percent from the floor in the game and 31.4 percent in the first half. Tennessee connected on 56.1 percent of its shots, including 63.3 percent in the second half. The Lady Vols also outrebounded the Lady Tigers 44-28.
Now the good news:
Tigers Dominate Texas State 13-2, Sweep Series
Ryan Patterson went 4-for-5 with a career-high five RBI as LSU rolled to a 13-2 victory over Texas State to complete a three-game sweep at Alex Box Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers (No. 1 Collegiate Baseball, No. 3 Baseball America, No. 5 ESPN/Sports Weekly) won their seventh straight game and will travel to Metairie, La., on Tuesday to face ninth-ranked Tulane at Zephyr Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
LSU's seven-game win streak is its longest since the Tigers won seven straight from April 7-19, 2002.
The Tigers have allowed just two runs or less in each of the seven consecutive wins, lowering their cumulative ERA to 2.01.
Softball Beats Two More Top-Ten Teams, Wins NFCA Leadoff Classic
COLUMBUS, Ga. - All-American pitcher Kristin Schmidt led the 12th-ranked LSU softball team to a 4-3 win over Florida State in the NFCA Leadoff Classic championship game after the Tigers defeated No. 6 Georgia, 5-2, in the semifinal, on Sunday afternoon in the South Commons Stadium and Complex.
With the pair of wins, the Tigers (18-3) run their winning streak to 13-straight games with a perfect 6-0 record in the tournament. Georgia dropped to 12-4 on the season and completed the tournament at 3-2. Florida State fell to 17-2 on the year and 5-1 in the tournament.
As one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, the NFCA Leadoff Classic winner from six of the tournament's seven years advanced to the Women's College World Series at the conclusion of the season. This was the first NFCA Leadoff Classic win for the Tigers, who ran their tournament record to 18-8 all-time.
"This was a great day for the Tigers that concluded a great tournament for LSU," said LSU head coach Yvette Girouard. "I loved the way this team fought back from adversity in both games today showed their resilience. We got the timely hits when we needed them and both Kristin and Emily pitched well.
"Hopefully this performance can carry us into the SEC play later this week. Our team just seems to be clicking at the right time and it's fun to play softball when that happens."
Schmidt was named the tournament Most Valuable Player with a 4-0 record, including wins over No. 3 California, No. 4 Washington and No. 10 Florida State. She recorded 30 strikeouts in 28 innings of work with a 1.50 earned run average.
Castle Named SEC's Softball Hitter of the Week
After knocking in what proved to be the game-winning run in 12th-ranked LSU's win over 10th-ranked Florida State in the NFCA Leadoff Classic championship game, Tiger designated player Lauren Castle was named the Southeastern Conference Hitter of the Week, it was announced on Monday.
For the week, the sophomore from Lafayette, La., went 10-for-23 (.435) from the plate with a double, her first home run of the season, six runs scored and six RBIs.
Against the Seminoles in the Leadoff Classic championship game, she nailed an RBI double down the left field line that gave LSU the 4-2 lead as the Tigers went on to win, 4-3. Earlier in the tournament, she nailed her first home run in a purple and gold uniform against Florida Atlantic, which is receiving votes in the current polls.
The transfer from UL-Lafayette also broke open a scoreless game against No. 4 Washington in the top of the seventh inning with a two-RBI single as the LSU went on to take the 4-2 victory. A game earlier, she scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the Tigers' 6-1 win over previously unbeaten and third-ranked California. The win avenged a 5-1 loss to the Bears two weeks ago in the UNLV Softball Classic in Las Vegas.
Castle led the team in batting average at .435, hits with 10 and runs scored with six on the week. She is also currently riding a 10-game hitting streak.
Lady Tigers 3rd, Tigers 4th at SEC Indoor Championships
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- LSU's men's and women's track and field teams combined to win seven individual event titles Sunday as the Lady Tigers placed third and the men finished tied for fourth at the SEC Indoor Championships.
Behind a 75 point explosion on the final day of competition, the Lady Tigers jumped six spots in the team standings to finish with 84.5 points. Florida won the women's title with 105.5 points and Tennessee followed in second with 99.5 points.
The Gators completed the sweep of team gold, dethroning seven-time defending champion, Arkansas, with 128 points to the Razorbacks' 126 points. Auburn finished third with 83 points and the Tigers and Georgia followed in fourth with 71 points each.
"Of course we come to the SEC Championships wanting to win," said LSU head coach Pat Henry. "But at the same time there are certain times of the year when you want to do certain things. It's only February. We were careful about what we did here and did what we felt was right for our athletes at this point of the season.
"That considered, we did some really great things this weekend and I couldn't be any more pleased with the results."
LSU was hard to beat on the track Sunday as the men and women combined to win six sprint and relay events.
Gymnastics Leaps to No. 4 in Latest Poll
Behind two scores of 197-plus last week the LSU gymnastics team cracked the top 5 for the first time since the 2002 season, jumping six spots to No. 4 in the latest national rankings released Monday.
The Tigers last ranked among the nation's top five during the week of Jan. 21, 2002 and haven't ranked as high as fourth since March 16, 1999.
The ranking's top three remain unchanged from a week ago as defending national champion, UCLA, is No. 1 with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 197.745, Georgia is No. 2 (197.405) and Alabama is No. 3 (197.325).
LSU improved its RQS by over six-tenths of a point to 197.060 to catapult into the No. 4 position, while Stanford moved up four spots to take over the No. 5 spot (197.030).
The Tigers cracked the top 10 on each of the four individual events for the first time this year. They rank sixth on both the beam (49.195) and vault (49.325), are tied with Utah for eighth on the floor (49.410) and are 10th on the bars (49.190).
Individually, April Burkholder slipped one spot to No. 3 in the all-around standings with a RQS of 39.595. She is also tied for second on the floor (9.960), tied for fifth on the vault (9.935) and 13th on the beam (9.905).
All-American Annie Gagnon moved up one spot to eighth in the bar standings with an RQS of 9.915, while freshman Nicki Butler cracked the vault rankings for the first time this season at No. 12 with a score of 9.910.
The Tigers return to action this Friday when they host Ohio State in their final home meet of the regular season. Action from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center will begin at 7 p.m.
Doll Leaves LSU for Position with the Denver Broncos
LSU assistant coach Kirk Doll resigned from the football staff to take a position with the Denver Broncos, head coach Nick Saban announced on Monday.
"Part of the reason that I'm getting this opportunity is because of Coach Saban and the success we've had here at LSU," Doll said. "Everything that I've experienced at LSU has been wonderful."
Doll, who just completed his second season at LSU, will serve as a defensive assistant/special teams coach for the Broncos. Doll served as LSU's assistant head coach and linebacker coach.
"Kirk did a great job for us at LSU," Saban said. "To coach in the NFL is a great opportunity for Kirk and his family. We wish him the best of luck."
Skip and Sandy Bertman Okay After House Fire
LSU Director of Athletics Skip Bertman and wife Sandy were unharmed after a fire damaged most of their Riverbend subdivision home on Sunday night.
The fire apparently started in Bertman's garage and quickly spread through the first and second floors of the house. The garage and Bertman's home office, which included years of memorabilia, were destroyed.
"From a coaching standpoint, the saddest part is losing the memorabilia," Bertman told the Baton Rouge Advocate. "You can replace TVs and other things, but that stuff is irreplaceable."
Bertman, who is in his third year as director of athletics, led the Tigers to five national titles in baseball and also served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic baseball team in 1996.
Although former ULM head coach Mike Collins, who spent last season as an assistant strength coach at LSU, left to take the position as defensive coordinator Middle Tennessee State, he might be headed back to Baton Rouge. A confirmed report Monday night said Collins is in Baton Rouge today interviewing with Nick Saban as the Tigers next running backs coach.
Unconfirmed reports say Jaime Lloreda's days in an LSU uniform are over. After an altercation with a teammate in a Saturday practice, Lloreda left practice. Head coach John Brady was tight lipped after Sunday's loss to Kentucky, talking about Lloreda in the past tense. Word is Lloreda has had bug placed in his ear to end his collegiate playing career not to endanger his NBA Draft status. For those hoping the 6-9 Panamanian may return, other reports say his locker has since been cleared out.
- Compiled by Matt Deville