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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com
Posts from May 2014

Deke: Tigers take care of business in win over Cougars
Two down and one to go for the LSU Tigers baseball team!  LSU squared off against the Houston Cougars in the fourth game of the Baton Rouge Regional, and both teams were coming off wins, setting up a show down in the winner's bracket. The Tigers handled their business with a 5-1 win over the Cougars.  The Tigers now just need to win one more game to advance and host next weekend’s Super Regional in Baton Rouge.  

Ace Aaron Nola started the game for the Tigers on the mound. Nola is as close to a sure thing that there ever has been in LSU baseball history.  For a program that has won six national titles, not many have been as dominant and near perfect. In his seven plus inning pitched the Tigers Ace allowed one run on four hits and he struck out seven Cougars before leaving the mound to the roar of a standing ovation at Alex Box Stadium.  Zac Person came in to take over for Nola. 


After going up and down in order in the first inning, LSU’s Conner Hale hit a single up the middle for an RBI, as McMullen came home to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead over the Cougars. 

The Cougars would tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning, and looked as if they were going to do more damage.  The Cougars had bases loaded, but Tigers shortstop Alex Bregman made a nice catch to end the threat, leaving the scored tied at 1-1.

The Tigers then came up to bat in the third with the top of the LSU order coming to the plate.  LSU would get off to a good start in the inning, as Mark Laird drew a walk to give the Tigers a man on base.

Alex Bregman did his job advancing Laird on a deep fly ball, and then Jake Fraley hit a single to advance Laird to third base, followed by another Single from Sean McMullen to score Laird and the Tigers took a 2-1 lead.

The Tigers would add to their lead when Connor Hale drove in Sean McMullen on a single, as LSU increased their lead to 3-1 in the top of the third inning.  Tigers pitcher Aaron Nola got into a nice groove as he retired seven straight Cougars during the Tigers hot stretch in which LSU built a lead.

49 of Nola’s first 72 pitches were strikes.  With LSU leading 3-1, Aaron Nola would get into a groove that not many pitchers can ever find.  Nola entered a stretch in which he retired 13 of 14 batters to help protect the Tigers' two run lead.

With the “Nola” factor in full effect, the Tigers threatened to blow the game wide open in the seventh inning.  Christian Ibarra would single, followed by a walk by Kramer Robertson, giving LSU runners on first and second.
The Tigers started to roll!  Mark Laird would step to the plate and hit a single for LSU as Ibarra scored putting the Tigers up 4-1.  Then Alex Bregman would single scoring Kramer Robertson and LSU increased their lead to 5-1 with just one out in the top half of the seventh inning. 

Aaron Nola would then continue another masterful performance as the nation’s best pitcher, shutting down Cougar after Cougar.  In five of the first seven innings Nola pitched, he would sit down each Cougar in order 1-2-3.


Seeing things get out of hand, the Cougars went to their bullpen to make a pitching change.  Matt Locus would come in the game to pitch for Houston.  Locus had the task of trying to work Houston out of a jam with his club down 5-1 and the Tigers fans roaring loud and proud in front of an overflow crowd at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers would maintain their four-run lead and go on to beat Houston 5-1.  Joe Broussard closed the game in relief for the Tigers.  The Tigers had 12 hits in their win over the Cougars.  LSU picked up their 46th win of the season and will now face the winner of the Houston versus Southeastern Game tomorrow night at 7PM right here on WWL Radio. 
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Deke: Tigers come from behind to beat SLU 8-4
The 82nd meeting between the LSU Tigers and Southeastern Lions was a good one as the Tigers prevailed 8-4 to advance to the winners bracket in the Baton Rouge Regional.  The top seeded Tigers had their hands full with the fourth seeded Lions.  
Down 4-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tigers erupted for four runs in their final two at bats…to down the Lions 8-4.  LSU picked up their 45th win of the season and will face either Houston or Bryant tomorrow night at 7pm right here on WWL Radio.  
The Lions did not waste time in serving notice that they were not a team just happy to be playing in a regional.  The Lions opened everyone’s eyes in the top of the first inning, when Andrew Godbold homered to left centerfield giving the Lions an early 1-0 lead.  

The Tigers got runners in scoring position in the bottom half of the first, but the Lions would get out of a jam and maintained a 1-0 lead over LSU.  The Tigers tied the game in the second inning, when Tyler Moore crossed home plate on a wild pitch.  LSU and SLU were tied at 1-1.  The Tigers later took their first lead of the game in the third inning.
During the bottom of the third LSU's Sean McMullen had an RBI, as Mark Laird scored to make it 2-1 LSU.  Credit the Lions as the Tigers would once again leave men on base, and Southeastern limited the damage to one run in the third to trail just 2-1 going into the fourth inning.
Then in the top of the fifth inning, SLU tied the game, when Jacob Williams doubled into the left centerfield gap for an RBI as Kyle Cedotal scored tied the game 2-2.  SLU later took a two run 4-2 lead, before the Tigers took control of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.
LSU tied the game up at 4-4.  Then, the final blow of the game came when Sean McMullen homered to left centerfield collecting 2 RBI’s giving the Tigers a commanding 8-4 lead.  Tigers fans got behind the home team and the Lions got rattled in the later innings.  
LSU had eight runs on 14 hits but stranded ten in their 8-4 win over the Lions.  
Catch the Tigers next game Saturday night against Houston, pre-game 6:30; 1st pitch 7pm on WWL, the BIG 870-AM and 105.3 WWL-FM.
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Deke: Baton Rouge Regional Preview: LSU Tigers
In sports, it’s all about right now.  And right now, the LSU Tigers baseball team is simply on fire.  LSU is riding an eight game win streak, scoring runs at an alarming rate and playing their best ball of the season.

Because of their strong finish, the Tigers earned the #8 national seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.  LSU will host the Baton Rouge Regional with the Tigers opening game coming against a familiar foe. 

READ MORE: Deke: Baton Rouge Regional Preview: Southeastern Lions

“We already played them in the middle of the week, and didn't face their number one starter. It will be fun to face them and their top pitcher. I'm sure their guys are really excited to face us! There was a bizarre play where the catcher threw the ball in the dugout to score a couple of runs. They haven't played in The Box this year so I don't know how they will adapt to playing in front of such a big crowd. You can throw out everything that happened in the regular season!”

Those are the words spoken from LSU Coach Paul Mainieri when asked about the first meeting of the season between his Tigers and the Southeastern Lions.  LSU beat Southeastern 7-3 in what was a pretty competitive game. 

Southeastern is in the Baton Rouge Regional after earning an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament in the Lions 9-4 Southland Conference Tournament title victory against Central Arkansas.

The Lions are in regional play for the first time since 1994.  LSU scored a whopping 31 runs in four SEC Tournament games averaging 7.8 runs per game.  LSU gave up just four runs in four games last week in Hoover.

The numbers are staggering in favor of the Tigers.  And now, LSU knows that the road to Omaha goes through Alex Box Stadium.  Should the Tigers advance this weekend, they would host a Super Regional next weekend. 

During their eight game hot streak, the Tigers have done well in all phases of the game.  “I know our hitting gets a lot of attention, but our pitching has been outstanding.  This is going to be a tough regional and we will need to play at a high level,” Mainieri said.

The Tigers will go with Jared Poche’ against the SLU Lions on Friday.  After getting off to a tough start last week against Vanderbilt, Poche’ shut down the Commodores in the Tigers 11-1 win over Vanderbilt.

Poche’ is ready to take the mound for the Tigers.  “I am very excited. I will definitely have a little adrenaline going, like my first SEC start. I know that I will need to go out there, really slow things down and just be myself.”

SLU Coach Matt Riser says his Lions are looking forward to facing the Bayou Bengals. “I think it’s a great matchup against LSU. We are excited to play LSU and for the opportunity. We are writing our story right now, and we aren’t finished yet.”

The Lions will start their best pitcher against LSU, as Andro Cutura goes to the mound for Southeastern.  Cutura leads SLU with a 10-2 record in 15 starts this season.  Cutura has an ERA of 1.72 and he pitched the second most innings for SLU this season with 99.2 innings pitched.

Coverage of the LSU versus Southeastern game begins at 1:30PM today with first pitch slated for 2PM. 
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Tags :  
Topics: Sports
Locations: Central ArkansasOmaha
People: Jared PocheMatt RiserPaul Mainieri

Deke: Baton Rouge Regional Preview: Bryant Bulldogs
The Bryant University Bulldogs are back in NCAA Regional play again in 2014, winning the Northeast title as well as the conference tournament title.  Bryant beat Sacred Heart 6-2 in 12 innings to capture the Northeast Tournament title.  

The Bulldogs have been playing arguably their best ball of the season as Bryant is 10-2 in their last 12 games.  Bryant ‘s Team batting average is .304 and the Bulldogs have belted out 39 Home Runs this season.  Bryant enters the Baton Rouge Regional as the #3 seed and they will face the #2 seeded Houston Cougars Friday Night at Alex Box Stadium on the LSU Campus.  

Below are a few notes on the Bryant Bulldogs: 
2014 Record:  42-14
School Location:  Smithfield, Rhode Island 
School Colors:  Black and Gold 
Mascot:  Bulldogs 
Conference:  Northeast (Regular Season and conference tournament champions)  
Head Coach:  Steve Owens 

Top Bulldogs batters:
#5 AJ Zarozny .398 33 hits with 16 RBI’s and 5 Home Runs
#3 Buck McCarthy .353 47 hits 29 RBI’s and 4 Home Runs
#1 Cole Fabio .340 34 hits
#12 Matt Albanese .329 leads the team with 69 hits and has 36 RBI’s
#18 Carl Anderson .316 68 hits, has a team high 40 RBI’s and leads the team in Home Runs with seven
#6 Tom Cavitt .325 with 6 Home Runs
#25 Robby Rim .309 with 56 hits
#42 John Mullen .301 with 58 hits

Bulldogs pitching: 
The Bulldogs have a team ERA of .293.  The Bulldogs ace is #16 Craig Schlitter.  Schlitter is 10-1 this season with a 1.95 ERA and he was the NEC Tournament MVP.   #22 Vaughn Hayward has also put up good numbers on the mound for the Bulldogs this season.  

Hayward is 9-2 with a 2.41 ERA.  Fellow Pitcher #31 Kevin Mcavoy is 9-1 this season with a 2.81 ERA.  #9 Trevor Lacosse is 4-3 on the season with a 2.94 ERA.  Lacosse leads the Bulldogs in saves this season with eight to his credit.  
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Deke: Bobby and Hokie like what they see at OTAs
As the media was escorted out to watch today’s Saints OTAs, members of the media quickly began to look up and down their rosters to see which players were participating in today’s practice.  One player that was absent was new addition Jairus Byrd.

READ MORE: Kristian: Byrd has surgery, defense forcing turnovers

Saints Coach Sean Payton told the media that Jairus Byrd would be out the next several weeks due to back surgery he had.  Coach Payton said that if this had been the regular season, Byrd would not have had the surgery. With Byrd having back surgery now, he will be ready for training camp, which begins July 24th in West Virginia.

After stretching this morning, the Saints began working in position groups, then moved to team offense versus team defense.  Our pros, Bobby Hebert and Hokie Gajan, give a few of the high points from today’s Saints OTA.  

PHOTOS: Saints defense shines at OTAs

From the eyes of the Cajun Cannon 
WR Robert Meachum made a nice play on the second snap of team drills.  The veteran Wide Receiver took a handoff from QB Drew Brees on an end around play.  “Meachum made a few nice plays this morning.  He also had four catches,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert.

Fellow wide receiver #88 Nick Toon had a few catches.  “This is an important year for Toon.  He really needs to have a very good training camp.  And making plays during the OTAs is a good start.”

The Saints defense was very active this morning.  DL Akiem Hicks batted down a ball on the first play of team drills.  And two plays later, safety Rafael Bush stripped the ball out of WR Marques Colston’s hands while CB Patrick Robinson scooped up the loose ball.

“You can tell that the Saints defense is making an emphasis on creating turnovers.  The defense did a good job of flying to the ball. But, there were a couple of missed opportunities on creating a few more turnovers.” Hebert said.

Veteran CB #27 Champ Bailey had a nice pass break-up that could have been picked off, and linebacker #58 Kyle Knox picked off a pass.  Bailey broke up a pass from QB #7 Luke McCown. 

And OLB #96 Chidera Uzo-Diribe recovered a fumble during team drills.

Another thing that caught Bobby's attention was the play-making abilities of running backs Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson. “They both catch the ball well with their hands coming out of the backfield.”

Hokie’s Call
There are not many folks that have been associated with the Saints franchise for over 30 years.  Former Saints FB, team scout and current Saints color analyst Hokie Gajan has been with the Saints since 1981.

Hokie says he uses Saints OTA’s as an opportunity to get familiar with the new players that are on the roster.  “I get me a roster, and try and begin to memorize the newer players and which jersey number they are wearing,” Gajan said.

Hokie was impressed with a pass break-up that veteran CB Champ Bailey made.  And Gajan was also impressed with the play of rookie running back Derrick Strozier.  Strozier, who played at Tulane, is trying to make the roster as a RB with the Saints.

“If you’re a guy that is considered a long shot to make a roster, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you can.  If a player sticks out to us (media) at practice, they are sticking out to the coaches as well.”

Hokie went on to say that the coaches get a more in-depth and up close look at the players when the staff breaks down film.  “The coaches are looking for all the little things and details that players are instructed to do.  They want to make sure that the players are lined up exactly where they are supposed to be, they have to be in the right place at the right time.  And the players have to make plays.”

Hokie said that he likes the fact that the Saints are going away for a few weeks for training camp.  “Going away eliminates a lot of distractions.  By being away from home, players can focus more on football.  And I believe that team comraderie is formed and the players get more comfortable with each other.”
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Deke: Baton Rouge Regional Preview: Southeastern Lions
The Southeastern Louisiana University Lions are making their first NCAA postseason appearance since 1994.  SLU earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Regional’s by winning the Southland Conference Tournament Title. 

Southeastern beat Central Arkansas 9-4.  And the Lions are currently riding a six game win streak entering this weekend’s Baton Rouge Regional. Coach Matt Riser is in his first season as Head Coach of the Lions.

The Tigers beat the Lions 7-3 back in February.  The game was tied 2-2 in the fifth inning before LSU scored four runs in the sixth to take control of the game.  “Both teams are completely different teams from that first meeting.  I know we are excited to play in a regional and we are looking forward to the challenge,” said Lions Coach Matt Riser. 

READ MORE: Teams ready to play in Baton Rouge Regional

Below is a little information on the Southeastern University Lions. 

School Location:  Hammond, Louisiana

School Colors: Green and Gold

Mascot:  Lions

Conference:  Southland

Head Coach:  Matt Riser

2014 Record:  (37-23) 

FULL AUDIO: Bobby and Deke talk to Southeastern Coach Matt Riser

Top Players:

#23 Jameson Fisher – Fisher is batting an impressive .394 which is 11th best in the nation this season.  He leads SLU in batting average, hits (89) and Fisher has 37 RBI’s to his credit.

#35 Andrew Godbold:  Godbold leads the Lions with a team high 57 RBI’s this season.  Godbold is batting .348 has collected 7 hits and he is the team leader in Home Runs with 8 this season.

#22 Brett Hoffman is batting .321 which is third best among Lions batters this season.  Hoffman has 71 hits, 1 Home Run and 41 RBI’s. 

#21 Daniel Midvett bats .299, he has 47 hits and 31 RBI’s.

#2 Kevin Carr has an average of .290 with 20 hits and 10 RBI’s/

Lions pitching:

#Andro Cutura leads SLU with a 10-2 record in 15 starts this season.  Cutura has an ERA of 1.72 and he pitched the second most innings for SLU this season with 99.2 innings pitched.

#18 Tate Scioneaux is second on the Lions Roster with seven wins (7-6) this season.  Tate has pitched more innings (104.1) than any other Lions Pitcher.  He has a 3.11 ERA and was recently named the Southland Conference Tournament MVP. 

#28 Dylan Hills 6-3 1.89 ERA this season and Hills leads the Lions with a team high five saves this season. 

#25 Sean Kennel 5-3 3.74 ERA

#11 Kyle Keller 3-3 3.92 ERA  
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Deke: Baton Rouge Regional Preview: Houston Cougars
2014 Record:  44-15

Conference:  American Athletic (Tournament Champions)

Head Coach:  Todd Whitting 

Starting Pitchers:  Aaron Garza (2.65 ERA, 8-4), Jake Lemoine (2.35 ERA, 6-6) and David Longville (2.98 ERA, 1-0)

The Bullpen: Tyler Ford (8-0) 1.26 ERA and Chase Wellbrock (4-0) with 12 saves and a 1.15 ERA in 20 appearances
As a pitching staff, the Cougars have walked just 103 hitters all season, while striking out 390, while holding opponents to a .225 average.

Top players:
Houston was hot at the plate in their conference tournament last week.  The Cougars posted a team average of .373 collecting 56 hits and scored 28 runs in four games.   Cougars senior Casey Grayson leads the team with a .335 average, 73 hits, 48 RBI, 16 doubles and 46 walks.   Sophomore Kyle Survance is hitting .315 with a team-high 46 runs scored and 30 stolen bases in just 37 attempts.

No one had a better tournament showing that Houston Sophomore Josh Vidales.   Vidales is coming off huge week.  The Sophomore second baseman hit .733 in four conference tournament games and he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

Houston won 12 of their last 15 games this season and earned a berth in the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2008.  The Cougars are 10th in RPI Ratings and they have the best ERA in the nation.

Houston will be making their 19th NCAA Regional appearance.  In the 18 previous appearances, the Cougars have advanced to the Super Regional’s three times with the last coming in 2003.  The Cougars are a perfect 37-0 this season when they have the lead after the eighth inning.  

From the coaches mouth:
 The Houston Cougars have one of the best overall records in college baseball this season.  Houston was a team that many felt did enough in the regular season to earn a host site.  “We felt like we built a good enough resume to host a regional,” said Cougars Coach Todd Whitting.

The Cougars beat up #5 Louisville 10-4 in the American Athletic Conference Title and earn the automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.  “We are a really good team.  We don’t have any superstars.  This is a blue collar team that just loves to go out and compete.”  

FULL AUDIO: Bobby and Deke talk to Houston Baseball Coach Todd Whitting
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Deke: A banner year for Louisiana baseball!
Two teams with national seeds and three conference tournament champions all from the same state!  2014 has been a banner year in the Bayou State as LSU, UL-Lafayette and Southeastern are all playing in regionals this weekend.

ULL and LSU are two of the eight national seeds this post-season.  “To have two teams as national seeds and three teams in regional play speaks volumes about the level of play in our state,” said LSU Coach Paul Mainieri.  

The Tigers picked up the #8 national seed ending their season with an eight-game win streak that included winning the 2014 SEC Tournament title with a 2-0 win over Florida.  

FULL AUDIO: Bobby and Deke talk to LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri about regionals

And meanwhile over in western Louisiana, the Ragin' Cajuns are one of the best teams in the nation!  They have eight more wins than any other team in the nation.  They are ranked #2 overall and they have earned the 6th national seed.  The Cajuns are also riding the nation’s longest win streak, with 10 straight wins. 

“We can do a lot of things,” said ULL Coach Tony Robichaux.  “We’ve been able to play consistently throughout the season.”  The Cajuns compiled a 53-7 overall record this year.  

The Cajuns also picked up a 4-1 win over #1 LSU earlier this season, and then took two of three from #21 Alabama.  Coach Robichaux says his team has done well so far, but now, it’s all about the post-season.
“We have to play big.  We’ve been good this entire season, now we have to be good over the course of the next few weekends.”  ULL will entertain Jackson State Friday.  

San Diego State and Mississippi State are the other teams in the ULL Regional this weekend.  

FULL AUDIO: Bobby and Deke talk to ULL Head Coach Tony Robichaux about regionals

The Southeastern Lions earned a spot in the NCAA Regionals by capturing the 2014 Southland Conference Tournament title.  The Lions beat the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears 9-4 to win their first ever SLC title.
“Going into the (SLC) tournament we felt like any one of the teams could have won the tournament.  We were able to put it all together and win the title,” said Southeastern Coach Matt Riser.

Riser is in his first season as head coach of the Lions leading SLU to the NCAA Regionals against LSU.  Southeastern will battle LSU at 2PM on Friday right here on WWL Radio.  The Tigers beat the Lions 7-3 back in February.  The game was tied 2-2 in the fifth inning before LSU scored four runs in the sixth to take control of the game.

“Both teams are completely different teams from that first meeting.  I know we are excited to play in a regional and we are looking forward to the challenge.”  To listen to Bobby and Deke’s interviews with ULL Coach Tony Robichaux and SLU Coach Matt Riser click below.  

FULL AUDIO: Bobby and Deke talk to SLU Head Coach Matt Riser about regionals
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Deke: Tigers set to host regional
The Tigers have won eight straight games, and they are arguably the best team in the nation! “I know our hitting gets a lot of publicity, but our pitching has been phenomenal,” said LSU Coach Paul Mainieri.

Mainieri guided the Tigers to the schools' 11th SEC Tournament Title with a 2-0 win over Florida Sunday in Hoover, Alabama.  Mainieri has dominated the SEC since he arrived in Baton Rouge, with a 22-4 record and five SEC tourney titles under his belt.

LSU learned Monday morning that they landed the #8 national seed and will play host to Southeastern, Bryant and Houston this week in NCAA Regional action.   "Anytime you’re in a regional, you’re going to see good teams.  We have three very good teams coming here.  We feel like our regional is one of the tougher ones,” said Mainieri.

The Tigers will take on Southeastern Friday at 2PM while Bryant takes on Houston in game two on Friday.  In order to earn one of the nation’s top eight seeds, the Tigers went on an impressive eight game win streak.
During their eight game win streak the Tigers scored 87 runs, banged out 110 hits and allowed only eight runs during their win streak.  

The Tigers rolled into the SEC tournament scoring 31 runs while allowing only four.  Coach Mainieri expects some tough competition this weekend at the Baton Rouge Regional.  “It’s a regional with excellent ball clubs.  “We (LSU) are going to have to play at a very high level to advance.”  

LSU takes on Southeastern Friday Afternoon right here on WWL Radio.  

FULL AUDIO: Bobby and Deke talk to LSU Head Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri about NCAA regionals
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Tags :  
Topics: Sports
Locations: AlabamaBryantHouston
People: Paul Mainieri

Deke: Tigers roll into SEC title game
If the current streak the LSU Tigers Baseball Team is not the most impressive in school history well it has to be pretty damn close!

Now take into consideration what time of year it is, the level of competition and given what's on the line.  LSU is simply on fire right now.  

"We're very proud of the way we swung the bats, and it was a good, full-team effort.  We’re excited about playing in the championship game.  I think it’s a great experience for our players knowing they are going to wake tomorrow and play for a championship. I want them to get used to that feeling. I have a sense they will be excited to play tomorrow, " said Paul Mainieri.  

For the second time in three days LSU scored 11 runs as their SEC semi-final game against Arkansas was cut short due to the mercy rule.  LSU won 11-1

Just a sample of the accomplishemnts the Tigers have piled up during their current seven game win streak: 104 hits, 85 runs scored, 7 straight wins for a 43-14-1 overall record.

Paul Mainieri's record at the SEC tourney is 21-4 with 4 tourney titles to his credit, and his team is in the SEC title game for 17th time in school history (10 tourney titles won).

Scores in seven game win steak 
27-0 vs Northwestern State
10-0  Vs Auburn
11-3 Vs Auburn
8-1 Vs Auburn 
11-1 vs Vanderbilt
7-2 vs Arkansas
11-1 vs Arkansas
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Topics: Sports
Locations: Arkansas
People: Paul Mainieri

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