GAMETHREAD: Alcorn St Braves (6-24) at LSU Tigers (26-2)

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LSU gets its SWAC on.

LSU hosts a SWAC team tonight, which is your opportunity to re-read College and Magnolia's excellent editorial on college baseball at the HBCU's. Alcorn State is really on the margins of the sport, a bad team in a bad conference playing in a game for the paycheck. Which is why we should honor the effort even more. It's easy to try hard when everyone is watching, but SWAC teams are largely competing in front of family and friends. It's extremely difficult to compete in those conditions, day in and day out. Now, they get to play in a virtual palace to baseball in front of thousands of fans, and get to bask in the glow of center stage for a day. Honestly, it's games like this that make college sports kind of beautiful.

Alcorn St. Braves

Record: 6-24 (6-5), 3rd in SWAC Eastern Division
RS/RA: 116/257
RPI: 292
ISR: 288

In case you were wondering, there are only 298 teams in college baseball. Yeah, that's pretty bad. ASU has not won a single game outside of its conference and has been outscored this season at a rate of a two to one. This just in: that's not good. These two teams are on the opposite ends of the college baseball world.

Ancient Logo:

Col_alcorn_medium

via www.teamline.cc

That's the best image I could find. Sorry. But they've done a truly remarkable job of scrubbing the internet of their old Redskins-esque logo. I admire the effort.

Notable Alumni:

Medgar Evars (NAACP Field Secretary)

Alex Haley (author, Roots)

Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile)

Kimberly Morgan (Miss Mississippi 2007)

Steve McNair (career yardage leader in FCS football history)

Medgar Evars alone makes this one of the more impressive alumni lists.

Pretentious Music Video:

Alcorn St is a historically black college and their team plays a lot like the old Negro League teams, with an emphasis on speed and defense. If Cool Papa Bell or Oscar Charleston were still alive, they would recognize the Braves' style of game as the same as their own. What I'm saying is, Alcorn State kicks it old school. While LSU is a modern power hitting club, Alcorn St plays the game more like it was played in 1920. I love throwbacks, so today's pretentious music video is also a throwback. A lot of the MC's these days have mediocre flow, as there's more emphasis on being a hype man over the true artistic master, the producer. It's like Flavor Flav running Public Enemy instead of Chuck D. I just don't get it, but maybe I'm not supposed to. Times change, right? But Talib Kweli still kicks it old school with fierce rhymes and the fearlessness to speak truth to power. He was just born 20 years too late to be a star. He has to settle for being name-checked by Jay-Z. Talib Kweli - Strangers (Paranoid).


Starter:

Mundo Sanchez (0-1, 5.52 ERA, 31 IP, 16/15 K/BB)

I'm not gonna pretend I know anything about him, but I like the fact his name is "Mundo". Alcorn State has a team ERA of 8.32. That's not good, which as you could probably tell by now, is a running theme. LSU has some guys looking to break out of slumps (I'm looking at you, JaCoby), tonight would be a good night to start doing that.

Sluggers:

SS Angel Rosa 333/404/413

2B Christian Hickman 282/396/294

RF Josh Powell 269/333/375

They like to run. A lot. In 29 games, the Braves have attempted to steal 63 bases, or about two a game. Of course, they can't stop anyone from running either, as the Braves have allowed 94 stolen base attempts (74 of them successful), at about a rate of three a game. There's two things this offense is virtually incapable of doing: hitting home runs and grounding into double plays. The Braves have 2 homers on the year and have only hit into 7 twin killings. Those two stats pretty much define what this team is: really fast. This team can't hit particularly well, they don't talk a lot of walks, they don't hit for power, and this means they don't score many runs. But by God, they will steal bases and at least put pressure on you to make plays. And to give credit, they did score six runs against Mississippi State, so it's not like the offense is completely incompetent. It's good at what it does, it's just extraordinarily one-dimensional.

Tiger Bait?

Yes. Sorry. This is what happens when one of the best teams in baseball plays one of the worst. Though I'll be honest, I'm kind of rooting for the underdog tonight. I like teams facing overwhelming odds, as it appeals to the romantic in me.

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