Admittedly, it's a bit of a reach, but for all of you LSU fans out there wondering why the Tigers' 21-game home winning streak came to and end over the weekend, here's a suggestion: Blame Don Sims.
Sims, a 1960 LSU graduate, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Saturday night's game in front of a record crowd of 10,246 fans at the New Alex Box Stadium.
“It was a little low, but it got there,” Sims laughed of his pitch, which actually hit the plate. “The catcher (Ty Ross) did catch it.”
Sims was upstaged, moments later, by LSU sophomore gymnast Rheagan Courville, who turned several cartwheels before delivering a strike to Ross.
“Come to find out, she was the catcher's girl friend,” Sims said. “The gymnasts were the star attraction.”
Courville, who captured the NCAA vault national title on April 21, was recently named SEC Gymnast of the Year.
Cox Sports, which carried the game live, only showed Sims' first pitch. Sims did make TigerVision, however.
“Cox only showed the gymnastics team, but Goodwin Gladney has TigerVision, so he got to see it,” Sims said.
LSU won the first game of the three-game series against South Carolina 5-2 on Friday night. As luck would have it, the Tigers lost Saturday's tilt 4-2 — their first SEC home loss of the season — and went on to drop Sunday's rubber game 4-0. It marked the Tigers' first SEC series loss in over a year.
“They're probably not going to invite me back,” Sims joked, “but I don't think I had too much to do with it. LSU hit the ball pretty good, they just never could put anything together.”
Tommy Franklin of Capital One Bank helped arrange for Sims to throw out the first pitch. Sims attended the game along with his son, Cole Sims; grandson, Pat Sims; and son-in-law, Cole Brennan.
“We got to go out on the field about 30 minutes before the game and had our picture taken with (LSU coach Paul Mainieri). After that, we watched infield practice,” Sims said. “It was a real nice experience.”