Tigers Travel to Ole Miss with SEC and NCAA Seeds at Stake

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Tigers Travel to Ole Miss with SEC and NCAA Seeds at Stake

BATON ROUGE — Fourth-ranked LSU (39-14, 16-11) concludes the regular season this weekend as the Tigers travel to Oxford, Miss., for a three-game SEC series versus No. 9 Ole Miss (38-15, 17-10).

First pitch for Game 1 of the series is 6:30 p.m. CDT Friday, Game 2 is set for 3 p.m. CDT Saturday and Game 3 will be played at 1:30 p.m. CDT Sunday.

The games can be heard statewide on the LSU Sports Network (WDGL-FM 98.1 in Baton Rouge). All three games can also be heard on the internet at www.LSUsports.net.

Saturday’s game will be televised by Fox Sports Net (Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge), and Sunday’s game will be televised by Jumbo Sports Network (Cable Ch. 6 in Baton Rouge). There is no live television coverage of Friday’s game.

The Tigers enter the final weekend of regular season play one game behind first-place Ole Miss (17-10) and Arkansas (17-10) in the SEC Western Division. Arkansas plays host to Auburn (11-16) this weekend in Fayetteville.

Meanwhile, Georgia (17-10) leads the SEC Eastern Division by one game over South Carolina (16-11) and Florida (16-11). Georgia plays host to South Carolina this weekend, while Florida plays at Tennessee (12-15).

Should LSU, Auburn, South Carolina and Florida each win two games in their respective series, the result would be a six-way tie for the 2004 SEC title.

LSU recorded its eighth SEC series victory in nine attempts last weekend as the Tigers won two of three games versus Vanderbilt. LSU has won 11 of its last 12 conference series, dating back to last season.

LSU coach Smoke Laval will send left-hander Lane Mestepey (5-1, 3.77 ERA) to the mound Friday. Mestepey, making his first weekend start since March 20 at South Carolina, pitched very effectively last Saturday versus Vanderbilt, allowing just one run on seven hits in 6.1 innings with three walks and one strikeout.

Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco will counter Friday with sophomore right-hander Mark Holliman (8-2, 2.33 ERA), who is fourth in the SEC with 86 strikeouts.

LSU right fielder Jon Zeringue, a junior from Thibodaux, La., is No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference in hitting with a .417 (85-for-204) batting average. He is ranked No. 1 in the SEC in on-base percentage (.475), No. 3 in slugging percentage (.686), No. 3 in total bases (140), No. 3 in hits (85), No. 4 in doubles (18), No. 9 in runs scored (51), No. 11 in home runs (11) and No. 11 in RBI (50).

Zeringue is batting a league-best .462 (48-for-104) in SEC games only with five doubles, one triple, seven homers, 25 RBI and 27 runs.

Zeringue has an opportunity to set the LSU single-season record for highest batting average, a mark established by Russ Johnson, who hit .410 in 1994.

LSU leads the all-time series with Ole Miss, 150-127, as the teams first met in 1906. The Tigers hold a 9-5 advantage in games played this decade, including a 2-1 series victory last season in Baton Rouge.

LSU has won 18 of the 22 series between the clubs since 1984, and all four Ole Miss series wins have come in Oxford.

The Tigers have captured 22 of the 33 games played in Oxford since 1984, but the Rebels have won two of the last three series played at Swayze Field. Ole Miss won two of three games from LSU in 1998 and 2002 on its home turf.

Laval has 3-3 record against Ole Miss in his three seasons at LSU. Bianco, a former LSU catcher (1988-89) and the McNeese State head coach from 1998-2000, has a 6-10 career mark against LSU, including a 4-7 record during his four-year Ole Miss tenure.

SERIES FACTS
#4 LSU Fighting Tigers (39-14, 16-11) at #9 Ole Miss Rebels (38-15, 17-10)

DATES/TIMES: May 21 – 6:30 p.m. CDT; May 22 – 3 p.m. CDT; May 23 – 1:30 p.m. CDT
STADIUM: Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field (3,500)
RANKINGS: LSU (#4 Baseball America, #5 ESPN/Sports Weekly, #9 Collegiate Baseball); Ole Miss (#9 Baseball America, #12 ESPN/Sports Weekly, #12 Collegiate Baseball)
RADIO: statewide on LSU Sports Network (WDGL-FM 98.1 in Baton Rouge)
INTERNET: www.LSUsports.net
TV: No TV on Friday; Saturday’s game will be telecast live by Fox Sports Net (Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge); Sunday’s game will be telecast live by Jumbo Sports Network (Cable Ch. 6 in Baton Rouge)

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU – Jr. LHP Lane Mestepey (5-1, 3.77 ERA, 62.0 IP, 23 BB, 31 SO)
UM – So. RHP Mark Holliman (8-2, 2.33 ERA, 88.2 IP, 24 BB, 86 SO)

Game 2
LSU – Sr. RHP Nate Bumstead (8-3, 3.95 ERA, 73.0 IP, 12 BB, 39 SO)
UM – TBA

Game 3
LSU – TBA
UM – TBA