Two former LSU Tigers riding World Series wave with Astros
“What the heck happened last night?” asks Astros reliever Will Harris, sitting back in his chair in the Houston clubhouse. His question is directed to former LSU Tiger, now teammate, third baseman Alex Bregman.
“Dude, that was brutal,” Bregman replies. The LSU football team had just lost in Starkville the night prior, 37-7 to the Bulldogs, one of the school’s worst conference losses in a long time.
At this time, the Astros are finishing off a home series with the Seattle Mariners as the regular season winds down, with their eyes on the playoffs and a deep postseason run. But for now, the two Astros players are nothing more than disgruntled LSU football fans, commiserating over a tough loss.
“There’s a lot of guys in here who are big college football fans,” said Harris, when asked about sharing a fandom with Bregman. “It helps to have someone else in the clubhouse who is also a former (LSU) Tiger.”
Slidell native Will Harris played college ball at LSU from 2003-2006, primarily as an infielder his first few seasons along with his brother Clay. Later, Will made 13 appearances out of the bullpen in 2006, earning him a draft selection in the 9th round by the Colorado Rockies.
Harris spent years in the minors before making his big league debut in 2012. From there, he bounced around from Oakland to Arizona, before being waived.
In 2014, he was claimed by the Astros off waivers. Harris would post career numbers in Houston, finishing 2015 with a 1.90 ERA, before serving as a part-time closer in 2016, picking up 12 saves en route to an appearance in the MLB All-Star Game. This year, Harris has made 46 appearances with a 2.98 ERA, another solid season.
But it was in June 2015 that Harris became really excited about an addition to the Astros, who selected the star LSU shortstop Bregman with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
“I had followed his career throughout LSU and knew how good he was and could be at this level,” said Harris, on his excitement regarding Bregman. “And he flew up through the minors.”
Bregman was a shooting star in the Houston organization, batting .294 during two stops in A ball, before hitting .297 with 14 home runs in Double-A Corpus Christi. In 2016, he spent just 18 games in Triple-A Fresno, where he batted .333. On July 25, he made his big league debut with the Astros.
Paul Mainieri and several former Tigers were in attendance for Bregman’s debut. Of course, so was Harris, who suddenly had somebody to talk LSU football with in the Astros clubhouse. Right now though, football can wait.
“I want our season to last as long as possible,” said Bregman. “But I also can’t wait to watch some football back in Tiger Stadium.”
Both Bregman and Harris said they plan to attend an LSU home game before the season ends, but those plans will be put on hold for a bit, as the Astros take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
Bregman, the starting third baseman for Houston, is batting .190 this postseason with two homeruns, two doubles and five RBI. Harris has made three relief appearances this postseason, allowing just one earned run with one strikeout.
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Sports Talk Host
A native of Metairie, Chris Gordy hosts “The Chris Gordy Show” out of Houston on the iHeartRadio app. A lifelong Saints fan & passionate LSU fan, Gordy bleeds purple, black and gold. A 2001 graduate of Archbishop Rummel, Gordy longs for the old days of the Catholic League. But he thinks there is still nothing better than some old-fashioned slugfests…