Baseball, Alcorn St. to Meet for First Time

by Bill Franques
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Baseball, Alcorn St. to Meet for First Time

BATON ROUGE — Third-ranked LSU (23-4) plays host to Alcorn State (14-13) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium.

The game will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video, audio and stats may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

LSU is ranked No. 3 by the NCBWA, No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball and USA Today/ESPN polls, and No. 5 in the Baseball America poll released Monday. The Tigers have appeared in the Top 10 of at least one college baseball poll for 31 consecutive weeks, a streak that began on May 19, 2008.

LSU recorded a conference series victory over Georgia last weekend, and the Tigers have now won 16 of their last 17 SEC regular-season series, dating back to April 2008. LSU has also won seven SEC series in a row since April 2009.

Beginning on April 22, 2008 – a stretch of 129 games – LSU has lost two games in a row on just one occasion. The Tigers dropped two straight to Tennessee on April 18-19, 2009 in Alex Box Stadium.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said junior right-hander Ben Alsup (1-0, 9.00 ERA) will start Tuesday’s game on the mound for the Tigers.

“We hoping Alsup can give us six to seven strong innings, and then we’ll probably go with (freshman left-hander) Zach LaSuzzo in relief,” Mainieri said. “We’ll need them to pitch well for us since we’re playing five tough games this week.

“(Alcorn State coach) Barret Rey has done a tremendous job with the Alcorn program. It’s evident they have one of the top teams in the SWAC with a 7-2 conference record.”

LSU faces Southern Mississippi at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La in the annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic. The Tigers play a three-game SEC series at Auburn beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.

Junior catcher Micah Gibbs extended his hitting streak to 10 games last week, as he batted .600 (9-for-15) in four games with one double, one homer, three RBI, two stolen bases and four runs scored. Gibbs also drew two walks and recorded a .647 on-base percentage.

In LSU’s SEC series victory over Georgia, Gibbs hit .636 (7-for-11) with one double, one RBI, two runs, two steals and a .667 on-base percentage. Gibbs is LSU’s leading hitter this season, batting a robust .396 (40-for-101) on the year with five doubles, two triples, four homers, 27 RBI, six steals and 17 runs scored.

Sophomore right-hander Matty Ott earned his 10th save of the season Friday versus Georgia, increasing his career total to 26. Ott is in second place on the all-time LSU saves list, trailing only Rick Greene, who had 29 saves for the Tigers from 1990-92.

Freshman left-hander Jordan Rittiner pitched in three games last week, recording a 1-0 mark with a 0.00 ERA in 4.1 innings. Rittiner allowed no runs on one hit with two walks and four strikeouts, and he earned a relief win against Georgia on Sunday, firing 3.1 shutout innings with one hit, one walk and two strikeouts.

Senior designated hitter Matt Gaudet increased his SEC-leading home run total to 11 last week as he hit .429 (6-for-14) in four games with two homers, seven RBI and four runs scored. Sophomore rightfielder Mikie Mahtook posted the second two-homer game of his career Sunday versus Georgia – he led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot and added a two-run blast in the second inning.

Sophomore shortstop Austin Nola collected a career-best three RBI in Sunday’s win over Georgia when he delivered a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning.

Alcorn State is led at the plate by sophomore Eduardo Gonzalez, who is hitting .381 with seven doubles, three triples, one  homer and 35 RBI. Junior Kilby Perdomo is batting .344 with six doubles, six homers and 26 RBI, while junior Rodney Warren is hitting .340 with 10 doubles, two homers and 28 RBI.

The Braves are hitting .297 as a team with 17 homers and 39 steals in 53 attempts.

Alcorn State Braves (14-13) at # 3 LSU Fighting Tigers (23-4)

DATE/TIME 
Tuesday, April 6 – 6:30 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (10,150)

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 3 by NCBWA, No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 4 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 5 by Baseball America
ASU – unranked
 
RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net – live video, audio and stats
 
TV
No TV

SERIES RECORD
First Meeting

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU – Jr. RHP Ben Alsup (1-0, 9.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 4 BB, 5 SO)
ASU – TBA