Baseball Returns to SEC Play Against Alabama

by Bill Franques
Baseball Returns to SEC Play Against Alabama

BATON ROUGE – Sixth-ranked LSU (27-6, 8-4 SEC) faces Alabama (22-12, 5-7 SEC) this weekend in a three-game SEC series at Alex Box Stadium.

Game times for the series are  7 p.m. CT Friday, 7 p.m. CT Saturday and 1 p.m. CT Sunday.

The games 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

All three games will be televised live by Cox Sports Television.

LSU is ranked No. 6 in the USA Today/ESPN and NCBWA polls, No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 8 by Baseball America. The Tigers have appeared in the Top 10 of at least one college baseball poll for 32 consecutive weeks, a streak that began on May 19, 2008.

LSU has won 16 of its last 18 SEC regular-season series, a stretch that began on April 25, 2008.

LSU enters the series in second place in the SEC Western Division, one game behind Arkansas. The Tigers are in third place in the overall league race, one game behind co-leaders Arkansas and South Carolina.

The Tigers pounded out 16 hits in a 10-4 victory over Tulane on Wednesday in Alex Box Stadium.

Alabama is in fifth place in the SEC West, four games behind Arkansas. The Crimson Tide split a pair of games this week, dropping a 7-5 decision at home to Samford on Tuesday before capturing a 10-5 win at Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday night.

“Alabama was certainly the best hitting team in our conference last season, and they have several of the same players back this year,” Mainieri said. “They complement their offense with some very talented arms on the mound. Our players are looking forward to a very competitive series in a great atmosphere at Alex Box.”

Mainieri said junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 2.40 ERA) will start on the mound for the Tigers in Game 1 while first-year Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard will counter with sophomore southpaw Adam Morgan (4-1, 3.97 ERA).

Ranaudo earned his first win of the season when the Tigers defeated Auburn last Friday. Ranaudo, who missed four starts due to a stress reaction in his throwing elbow, allowed three runs on five hits in five innings with three walks and three strikeouts. He fired a season-high 86 pitches in the victory.

LSU is No. 2 in the SEC in team batting average (.328) and in stolen bases (57). The Tigers are sixth in the league with 37 homers.

LSU is led at the plate by junior catcher Micah Gibbs, who is batting .407 on the year with six doubles, three triples, five homers and 33 RBI. Sophomore rightfielder Mikie Mahtook is hitting .361 with 13 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 28 RBI. Mahtook leads the SEC in doubles and in stolen bases (18).

Junior centerfielder Leon Landry is batting .347 for the Tigers with five doubles, five triples, three homers and 32 RBI.

Alabama is fifth in the league in batting average (.308), 12th in homers (23) and eighth in stolen bases (42).

The Crimson Tide is led by sophomore outfielder Taylor Dugas, who is hitting .425 with 10 doubles, three triples, 18 RBI and 13 steals. Sophomore outfielder Jon Kelton is batting .393 with 10 doubles and 23 RBI while junior infielder Josh Rutledge is hitting .369 with 10 doubles, one triple, three homers and 30 RBI.

Alabama leads LSU, 190-150-3, in a series that began in 1906. The Tigers, however, have a 26-10 overall mark against Alabama over the past 10 seasons (2000-09).

LSU has won eight of its last 10 SEC regular-season series versus the Tide. The Tigers have won four straight series over Alabama, including a 2-1 series victory last season in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama Crimson Tide (22-12, 5-7 SEC) at # 6 LSU Fighting Tigers (27-6, 8-4 SEC)

“Ben McDonald Day” pregame ceremony at 6:45 p.m. Saturday
LSU fans are encouraged to be in their Alex Box Stadium seats at 6:45 p.m. Saturday for the “Ben McDonald Day” ceremony prior to the Tigers’ game versus Alabama. The No. 19 worn by the LSU All-America pitcher will be formally retired prior to the game, and McDonald’s name and number will be permanently displayed on the grandstand fascia of Alex Box Stadium.

Friday, April 16 – 7 p.m. CT; Saturday, April 17 – 7 pm. CT; Sunday, April 18 – 1 p.m. CT

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

LSU – No. 6 by NCBWA, No. 6 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 8 by Baseball America
UA – unranked
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM

INTERNET – live video, audio and stats

All three games televised live by Cox Sports Television

Alabama leads, 190-150-3, in a series that began in 1906.

Game 1
LSU – Jr. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 2.40 ERA, 15.0 IP, 7 BB, 14 SO)
UA – So. LHP Adam Morgan (4-1, 3.97 ERA, 47.2 IP, 18 BB, 41 SO)

Game 2
LSU – So. RHP Joey Bourgeois (3-1, 6.16 ERA, 38.0 IP, 23 BB, 27 SO)
UA – So. RHP Tyler White (3-2, 2.92 ERA, 24.2 IP, 8 BB, 26 SO)

Game 3
LSU – So. LHP Chris Matulis (5-1, 3.82 ERA, 33.0 IP, 18 BB, 28 SO)
UA – Jr. RHP Jimmy Nelson (4-1, 3.40 ERA, 45.0 IP, 15 BB, 42 SO)