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Thatcher Hurd gets Opening Day Start for Tigers

Written by Doug Gann

February 15, 2024

2024 Preseason All-American Thatcher Hurd will start the 2024 season the same way he ended the 2023 season, on the bump for the Tigers. You’ll remember Hurd got the start for the Tigers in the deciding CWS Game 3 against the Florida Gators. And you’ll also remember that Hurd was masterful. In that Omaha start he went 6 innings giving up just two runs on two hits. Thatcher struck out six walking only four.

Gone are the top two picks in the 2023 MLB Draft in Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews along with eleven other MLB Draftees. But, Hurd is joined by another CWS Hero and Pre-Season All-American in Tommy “Tanks” White. Tommy Tanks was recently voted as the Number One Third Baseman in College Baseball. And why not, all he did was finish at or near the top of almost every offensive category. White hit .374 with 24 doubles, 24 homers and 105 RBI. White has also been named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list. Joining Tommy Tanks on the list is Alabama transfer RHP Luke Holman. Holman was the Friday starter for the Tide finishing with a 7-4 mark with a 3.67 ERA and an impressive 87 Strikeouts in 81.0 innings.

LSU returns 21 players from their National Championship team with the likes of 2023 Freshman All-American first baseman Jared Jones, catcher/DH Hayden Travinski, catcher Alex Milazzo, infielder/outfielder Josh Pearson and outfielder Paxton Kling. Newcomers who should make an immediate impact upon the LSU lineup include outfielder Mac Bingham, shortstop Michael Braswell III and outfielder Jake Brown.

Coach Jay Johnson on his Tigers, “We treat every game like a playoff game; the goal is to win each game in front of us and improve while we’re doing that. Part of improving is finding out your best team, and we’re not close to that right now. And I actually mean that in a good way – the emergence of our players from the fall until now has been remarkable. We have a lot of work to do to sort that out, and that’s a good situation. We have more options with our position players than I thought we would have coming out of November.”

Game 1 vs. VMI – Jr. RH Thatcher Hurd (8-3, 5.68 ERA, 63.1 IP, 40 BB, 84 SO in 2023)
Game 2 vs. Central Arkansas – Jr. RH Luke Holman (7-4, 3.67 ERA, 81.0 IP, 31 BB, 87 SO in 2023)
Game 3 vs. VMI – TBA
Game 4 vs. Central Arkansas – TBA

No. 2 LSU Tigers (0-0)
VMI Keydets (0-0)
Central Arkansas Bears (0-0)

• Friday, February 16 – VMI at LSU @ 2 p.m. CT; (VMI vs. Central Arkansas @ 7 p.m. CT)
• Saturday, February 17 – Central Arkansas at LSU @ 1 p.m. CT; (Central Arkansas vs. VMI @ 6 p.m. CT)
• Sunday, February 18 – VMI at LSU @ 1 p.m. CT
• Monday, February 19 – Central Arkansas at LSU @ 2 p.m. CT

*Extra Inning: LSU senior catcher/first baseman Hayden Travinski will wear jersey No. 8 for the 2024 season. No. 8 is given each season to the upperclassman who exemplifies the spirit of LSU Baseball through his leadership and dedication to the program. The No. 8 tradition was started by outfielder Mikie Mahtook (2009-11) and has since been continued by first baseman Mason Katz (2012-13), shortstop Alex Bregman (2014-15), outfielder Jake Fraley (2016), second baseman Cole Freeman (2017), outfielder Antoine Duplantis (2018-19), outfielder Daniel Cabrera (2020), pitcher
Matthew Beck (2021) and infielder/outfielder Gavin Dugas (2022-23).

Written by Doug Gann

February 15, 2024

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