1. How about those freshmen?
Have a weekend, Josh Smith and Jake Slaughter. Check out this combined statistical line from the freshman corner infielders this weekend: 7-for-15 (.466), six runs, two home runs, eight RBIs and just one strikeout. They were excellent in the field, too, making just one error between them and many more difficult plays. Did I mention this was their debut weekend as college baseball players? “I don’t think we even look at them like freshmen,” coach Paul Mainieri said.
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2. The 'Fab Four' pays immediate dividends
Before the season, Mainieri called junior Greg Deichmann and seniors Jared Poché, Kramer Robertson and Cole Freeman his “Fab Four” after each spurned a professional contract offer to return to LSU. They earned that nickname this weekend. Deichmann clubbed two impressive home runs, Robertson and Freeman each hit better than .500 and played slick defense and Poché became the first LSU pitcher to throw a solo no-hitter in almost four decades. It’s hard to have a better weekend than that.
3. A fitting celebration of service
I could try to sum up the weekend’s pageantry, but Air Force coach Mike Kazlausky, himself a 20-year veteran, put it best: “Unbelievable. The standing ovation for our boys — our kids deserve it. The folks of Baton Rouge and the supporters of LSU understand what is at stake. This was a baseball game that we played today, but the fans in the stands understand this is the 1 percent of our country that will serve for them. … The respect that was shown for our kids throughout the weekend here, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them.”