Baseball Meets Alabama in 'Big Series' at the Box

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Baseball Meets Alabama in 'Big Series' at the Box

BATON ROUGE — LSU (18-10, 3-6 SEC) resumes Southeastern Conference action at 7 p.m. CT Friday when the Tigers play host to Alabama (16-13, 4-5 SEC) in Alex Box Stadium.

Game 2 starts at noon CT Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 1 p.m. CT Sunday.

The games will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM.

Live video and audio of the games may also be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

Sunday’s game will be televised by Cox Sports Televison, and it can be seen in Baton Rouge on Cox Cable Ch. 37.

LSU has won three straight games, including a pair of midweek wins over Southern and Centenary. The Tigers blanked the Gents, 6-0, on Wednesday night, marking the first shutout recorded by LSU since a 12-0 win over Northwestern State on April 11, 2006.

LSU is 3-6 in conference play after dropping two of three games at Florida last weekend. The Tigers are just one game out of first place in the SEC Western Division. Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss are tied for first in the West with a 4-5 league mark.

“This is obviously a big series for us; it’s a home series and an opportunity to get ourselves back in the hunt,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Fortunately for us, the Western Division is very balanced, and we’re only one game out of first place.

“We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves right now. We’re extremely excited about this weekend’s series, and we’re looking forward to some great baseball at Alex Box Stadium. I have a sense that we’re ready to advance to the next level.”

Mainieri said junior left-hander Blake Martin (1-1, 3.90 ERA) will start Friday’s game on the mound for LSU. Martin had a strong outing last Friday at Florida, limiting the Gators to two runs on four hits in six innings with no walks and five strikeouts.

Mainieri said he would announce the Tigers’ Saturday and Sunday starting pitchers as the series progresses.

Alabama coach Jim Wells will counter this weekend with right-hander Austin Hyatt (2-2, 4.12 ERA) on Friday, right-hander Austin Graham (2-1, 4.15 ERA) on Saturday and right-hander Robert Phares (1-2, 4.30 ERA) on Sunday.

LSU junior first baseman Matt Clark leads the Tigers with a .378 (37-for-98) average, 13 homers and 28 RBI. Junior Derek Helenihi, who is starting at third base while Michael Hollander recovers from a hamstring injury, is hitting .359 (28-for-78) with six doubles, three triples, 13 RBI and 15 runs.

Freshman centerfielder Leon Landry is the Tigers’ hottest hitter, batting .520 (13-for-25) in the Tigers’ last seven games with one double, three triples, one homer, four RBI and eight runs. Freshman shortstop DJ LeMahieu is batting .478 (11-for-23) over the last seven games with three RBI and six runs.

LSU is hitting .301 as a team with 35 home runs on the year. The Tigers’ pitching staff has a 4.02 ERA with 221 strikeouts and 89 walks in 246.1 innings.

Alabama is led at the plate by freshman infielder Josh Rutledge, who is hitting .370 (44-for-19) with three doubles, one triple, 10 RBI, 28 runs and seven stolen bases. Sophomore infielder Brandon May is batting .340 (35-for-103) with six doubles, two homers and 21 RBI.

Junior catcher Alex Avila has team-highs of eight homers and 27 RBI for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama is hitting .293 as a team with 31 homers. The Tide’s pitching staff has a 4.65 ERA and has recorded 220 strikeouts and 133 walks in 253.1 innings.

LSU has won six of the eight SEC regular-season series with Alabama this decade, including a 2-1 series victory last year in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers have a 20-8 overall mark against Alabama over the past eight seasons (2000-07).

Alabama Crimson Tide (16-13, 4-5) at LSU Fighting Tigers (18-10, 3-6) 

DATES/TIMES 
Friday, April 4 ? 7 p. m. CT; Saturday, April 5 ? Noon CT; Sunday, April 6 ? 1 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (7,760)

RANKINGS
Neither team is ranked

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM 

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net ? live video, audio and stats

TV
Sunday’s game will be televised regionally by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge)

PROMOTIONS

FRIDAY
Alex Box Stadium Countdown: Doug Thompson (Thompson will be available for autographs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and after the 5th inning behind the Tiger Terrace.)
Final Season Prize Bonanza: Enter to win great raffle prizes with the purchase of a hot dog/big gulp combo at any concession stand. Friday’s Prize: $250 Gift Certificate from Harley Davidson

SATURDAY
Fans attending Saturday’s baseball will receive a free ticket to the LSU Spring Football Game
Alex Box Stadium Countdown: Patrick Coogan (Coogan will be available for autographs from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and after the 5th inning behind the Tiger Terrace.)
Final Season Prize Bonanza: Enter to win great raffle prizes with the purchase of a hot dog/big gulp combo at any concession stand. Saturday’s Prize: $150 Gift Certificate from Subway
 
SUNDAY
Alex Box Stadium Countdown: Ben McDonald (McDonald will be available for autographs from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and after the 5th inning behind the Tiger Terrace.)
Kids Run the Bases: Kids ages 12 and under can run the bases at the conclusion of the game. Meet at the right field bullpen gate at the end of the game.
Final Season Prize Bonanza: Enter to win great raffle prizes with the purchase of a hot dog/big gulp combo at any concession stand. Sunday’s Prize: Authentic LSU baseball jersey from Russell Athletic
Raising Cane’s “Cane’s Challenge”: If LSU scores three or more runs, bring your game ticket to a Raising Cane’s to receive a free Box Combo with the purchase of a Box Combo.
 
SERIES RECORD
Alabama leads, 144-188-3 (the teams first met in 1906)

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Game 1
LSU ? Jr. LHP Blake Martin (1-1, 3.90 ERA, 32.1 IP, 13 BB, 35 SO)
UA ? Jr. RHP Austin Hyatt (2-2, 4.12 ERA, 39.1 IP, 9 BB, 34 SO)

Game 2
LSU ? TBA
UA ? So. RHP Austin Graham (2-1, 4.15 ERA, 26.0 IP, 18 BB, 29 SO)

Game 3
LSU ? TBA
UA ? Jr. RHP Robert Phares (1-2, 4.30 ERA, 29.1 IP, 10 BB, 20 SO)