After 2,290 games (shoutout to Studley for keeping count) Paul Mainieri’s coaching career has come to a close.
Mainieri and his Tigers were bombarded by six Tennessee home runs and saw its 2021 season come to a close by a final score of 15-6 in game two of the Knoxville Super Regional.
Landon Marceaux took the mound for LSU to start and got roughed up in what was potentially his final outing as a Tiger. Marceaux would only last three innings and surrendered a pair of home runs to Tennessee’s Jake Rucker before being replaced by Garrett Edwards.
The Vols teed of on Edwards, tagging the freshman for a double and a two-run homer in the fourth. Edwards only threw 12 pitches before being pulled due to an elbow injury.
One freshman pitcher replaced the other as Will Hellmers came on and had as rough an afternoon as Edwards. Hellmers surrendered four runs in two thirds of an inning’s work and took the brunt of a six-run fifth inning that pushed Tennessee’s lead to 11-2.
LSU wouldn’t give up that easily. The long ball was also kind to LSU as all six of LSU’s runs came via home run. Dylan Crews hit two solo shots in the first and third. Tre’ Morgan would hit a two-run blast in the sixth and Brody Drost would do the same in the seventh inning.
But as soon as it looked like LSU might slug its way back into the game and force a winner take all Monday, Tennessee would tack on a pair of runs in both the eighth and ninth inning to push its lead back to nine.
And so the final chapter of Paul Mainieri’s coaching career has been written. The 2021 LSU baseball team won’t go down as one of the greatest in school history but somehow, someway this team found itself playing in a Super Regional. That’s a testament to the talent on the roster and, of course, the man calling the shots.
We’ll have more on the future of LSU baseball very soon. We’re also going to do a series reflecting on the best games and players of the Paul era. But in the here and now we need to tip our caps to a great coach and better man.
Thank you, Coach Mainieri.