LSU’s Mainieri hits 1,400-win milestone in memorable fashion
LSU coach Paul Mainieri won’t soon forget the way he joined the 1,400 wins club.
His Tigers entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing Tennessee by four runs Sunday, and they won 9-7 when freshman Daniel Cabrera hit a three-run, walk-off homer.
The three-game sweep at home put Mainieri’s career record at 1,400-707-7.
“This coach has not won 1,400 games; the players have won 1,400 games,” Mainieri said. “They’re the ones that go out and do it between the lines. I’ve been fortunate for almost 36 years to have coached some really amazing young men at four wonderful institutions, and they’ve enriched my life.”
Mainieri is among four active Division I coaches, and 10 all-time, with 1,400 wins. The other active coaches are Florida State’s Mike Martin (1,968), Miami’s Jim Morris (1,581) and North Carolina’s Mike Fox (1,409).
Martin is eight wins from breaking Augie Garrido’s record of 1,975.
Mainieri has taken the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament 10 of his 11 years at LSU and to the College World Series five times. LSU won the national title in 2009 and was runner-up to Florida last year . Mainieri also has been head coach at St. Thomas of Florida, Air Force and Notre Dame.
The Tigers (24-13, 9-6) have won four straight and are one game behind Arkansas (27-10, 10-5) in the SEC West.
IN THE POLLS
Consensus No. 1 Florida (32-6) has won 13 of 14 and followed a midweek win over Florida State with a sweep of Missouri. North Carolina State (28-7), No. 2 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper and No. 4 by D1Baseball.com, won two of three over Notre Dame for its sixth ACC series win. Stanford (27-5), No. 2 by D1Baseball and No. 3 by Baseball America, rebounded from a series loss to UCLA with a sweep of Arizona State.
Ross Haffey of Miami (Ohio) had a monster day in a doubleheader split at Ball State on Friday, hitting five home runs while going 7 for 9 with eight runs and 12 RBIs.
“In the moment I didn’t really know how impressive it was,” Haffey said Monday. “Looking back on it and hearing from my coaches and other players, and getting text messages and calls from old teammates and old coaches, it’s definitely something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
After the fifth homer, he said, all he and his teammates could do was laugh when he returned to the dugout. The RedHawks won the first game 17-6 and lost the second 13-12.
“I’m like, ‘It’s that kind of day, keep riding it and try to put as many runs on the board for our team,’ ” he said. “In those two games, we needed as many runs as possible because it was really a shootout.”
The 6-foot-5, 237-pound redshirt senior first baseman from Birmingham, Michigan, homered again Sunday in a 6-5 win and finished the series with 14 RBIs. He’s batting a team-leading .378 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs, and his.782 slugging percentage ranks fifth nationally.
20 IN A ROW
Tennessee Tech extended its nation-leading win streak to 20 games with a sweep of Murray State. The streak is the longest in school history and in the Ohio Valley Conference since Murray State won 22 in a row in 1975. The Golden Eagles homered 10 times over the weekend and have a nation-high 82 — 24 more than Arkansas.
Duke won a road series against Florida State for the first time since 1994 and joined Florida as the first teams to reach 30 wins. Duke (30-7, 12-5 ACC) has 30 wins for the fifth straight year and leads the Coastal Division by a half-game over North Carolina.
Bradley already has matched its win total from last season with most of the same players. The Braves are 20-9 after going 20-31 in 2017, and their 7-2 start in the Missouri Valley Conference is their best since 2006. The turnaround is especially notable because Bradley has played all but four of its games away from home.