Baseball Set for Weekend Series at Auburn

by Bill Franques
Baseball Set for Weekend Series at Auburn

BATON ROUGE — Third-ranked LSU (25-4, 7-2 SEC) travels to face Auburn (20-10, 5-4 SEC) this weekend in a three-game series at Plainsman Park.

Game 1 is set for Friday at 7 p.m. CT,  Game 2 Saturday at 2 p.m. CT and Game 3 Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.

The games will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at

Friday’s game will be televised by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS), and it can be also be seen in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette on Cox Cable Ch. 4. Saturday’s game will be televised by SportSouth, and it can be seen on FSN affiliates,  including Cox Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge.

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 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 and eight straight SEC road series since May 2008.

Beginning on April 22, 2008 – a stretch of 131 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 enters the Auburn series in a first-place tie for the overall SEC lead with South Carolina. The Tigers have a one-game lead in the SEC West over Arkansas and a two-game lead over Auburn and Ole Miss.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said the Tigers will face a very challenging series this weekend against Auburn, which leads the SEC in team batting average (..349) and home runs (49).

“Auburn can really mash at the plate, and they have some outstanding pitchers as well,” Mainieri said. “This is going to be a very tough series against an extremely talented team.”

Junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will start Friday’s game on the mound for LSU, while Auburn coach John Pawlowksi will counter with junior left-hander Cole Nelson (4-1, 3.29 ERA).

LSU junior catcher Micah Gibbs enters the series on an 11-game hitting streak. Gibbs is the Tigers’ leading hitter, batting .402 on the year with five doubles, two triples, five homers and 31 RBI..

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.

Sophomore rightfielder Mikie Mahtook is batting .363 with 12 doubles, three triples, six homers and 23 RBI, while junior centerfielder Leon Landry is hitting .356 with four doubles, five triples, three homers and 25 RBI.

Sophomore right-hander Matty Ott earned his 10th save of the season last 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.

Auburn is led at the plate by junior infielder Hunter Morris, who is hitting .403 with 10 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 36 RBI. Junior infielder Justin Hargett is batting .391 with 10 doubles, one homer and 21 RBI, while junior outfielder Brian Fletcher is hitting .368 with six doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 35 RBI.

#3 LSU Fighting Tigers (25-4, 7-2 SEC) at Auburn Tigers (20-10, 5-4 SEC)

Friday, April 9 – 7 p.m. CT; Saturday, April 10 – 2 p.m. CT; Sunday, April 11 – 1 p.m. CT

Plainsman Park in Auburn, Ala.

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

INTERNET – live audio and stats – live video of games on Friday and Saturday

Friday – CSS (the game will be shown on Cox Cable Ch. 4 in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette)
Saturday – SportSouth (Cox Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge
Sunday – No TV

LSU leads, 85-64
LSU has posted seven straight wins over Auburn, including consecutive three-game sweeps in 2008 and 2009.

LSU has captured eight of the last 11 series between the clubs dating back to 1999.

LSU has won eight straight games and five consecutive series at Plainsman Park; Auburn’s last home series victory over LSU came in 1998.

Game 1
LSU – Jr. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (0-0, 0.90 ERA, 10.0 IP, 4 BB, 11 SO)
AU – Jr. LHP Cole Nelson (4-1, 3.29 ERA, 41.0 IP, 13 BB, 38 SO)

Game 2
LSU – So. LHP Chris Matulis (5-0, 2.57 ERA, 28.0 IP, 13 BB, 23 SO)

Game 3
LSU – So. RHP Joey Bourgeois (3-1, 5.50 ERA, 34.1 IP, 21 BB, 25 SO)
AU – Jr. LHP Grant Dayton (4-1, 4.86 ERA, 37.0 IP, 8 BB, 24 SO)