3.16.19 LSU vs Kentucky

LSU senior right fielder Antoine Duplantis (8) hits the ball during the Tigers' 2-1 victory over Kentucky on Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Alex Box Stadium.

Zach Watson said he got chills. Josh Smith said he's the "best hitter ever." Paul Mainieri said it couldn't have happened to a better person. 

Antoine Duplantis needed 85 hits in his senior season to break Eddy Furniss' LSU hit record.

He got the one he needed — hit No. 353 — on Sunday, June 2 in LSU's game against Southern Miss in the Baton Rouge Regional championship game. 

Duplantis tied the record two days prior in LSU's win over Stony Brook. Duplantis went 3-for-5 on the day against the Seawolves. 

"I was fortunate enough to have a ton of people in the stands today for the hit since it's a regional game at home, but it was just a special one," Duplantis said. "I'm glad that I had family, friends, teammates and my coach to be here to witness it."

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said earlier this week that there was no way LSU could win this regional if Duplantis didn't get the four hits he needed to break the record. 

Duplantis also broke Todd Walker's career triple record in LSU's loss to Vanderbilt with his 16th career triple. 

Duplantis had the chance to go pro last summer, but turned it down to return to LSU. While breaking the record was never at the forefront of his thinking, the chance was always there. 

"I don't think it was a huge factor, but it was there," Mainieri said of Duplantis' decision. "It was there and it was one of those things, like a fringe benefit of coming back that he would have the chance to set the all-time record which is something that would be a wonderful thing for him to be able to tell his children some day."

Furniss previously held the Southeastern Conference hit record as well, but Mississippi State's Jake Mangum recorded his 353rd hit earlier this season. 

Duplantis has said that he has tried not to think about the record books — whether it was LSU or SEC records — during his senior season, but he knew it was approaching, especially since his grandfather Bob Duplantis alerted him of the possibility after his sophomore year.

"It was nice to get it out of the way [on the first day of the regional]," Duplantis said. "I haven't really been thinking about it too much. Obviously it's been in the back of my mind, but when I get in the box, I'm thinking about competing and getting the job done for the team."

Nobody was more proud of Duplantis than Mainieri. As the person who threw to him in batting practice and watched him grow throughout his four years, Mainieri said he feels apart of the journey. 

"I've watched every one of his hits," Mainieri said. "He's done it, he's earned it and it's everything that he's done. When you're a coach and you work with young people and you see them have success, there's a part of you —not in an egotistical way — but you just feel like you were part of it a little bit and you're proud for that young man."

Mainieri emphasized that there's no better player than Duplantis to break this Furniss' record. Like Furniss, Mainieri calls Duplantis the "poster child" and the "perfect role model" of the LSU baseball program. 

Mainieri said he's proud of Duplantis for so much more than just getting 352 hits.

"He comes every day and he's the same Antoine," Mainieri explained. "He works hard in practice every day. He plays the games the same way. [Furniss] should be proud to have somebody like Antoine tie his record and break it because Antoine does everything the right way.

"I love him to death and I'm going to miss him terribly when we have our last game and I don't get to coach him anymore, but I'm going to enjoy every moment I have with him."

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