Baseball Set for SEC Showdown with Ole Miss
BATON ROUGE — Fifth-ranked LSU (32-6, 11-4 SEC) travels to Oxford, Miss. this weekend as the Tigers face Ole Miss (25-13, 8-7 SEC) in a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Game 1 begins at 7 p.m. CT Friday, Game 2 at 3 p.m. CT Saturday and Game 3 at 1:30 p.m. CT Sunday.
All three 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 www.LSUsports.net.
Friday’s game will be televised by ESPNU, Saturday’s game can be seen on Fox Sports Net, and Sunday’s contest will be shown on both Comcast Sports Southeast and Cox Sports Television.
LSU, riding a six-game win streak, is ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/ESPN poll, No. 6 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 33 consecutive weeks, a streak that began on May 19, 2008.
LSU has won 17 of its last 19 SEC regular-season series, a stretch that began on April 25, 2008. The Tigers are in second place both in the overall SEC standings and in the Western Division, one game behind league leader Arkansas (12-3).
Ole Miss enters the series in a third-place tie with Auburn in the SEC West, four games behind Arkansas.
LSU’s six-game win streak includes a three-game SEC sweep of Alabama last weekend. The Tigers’ 6-5, 14-inning victory over Alabama on Sunday marked LSU’s second-longest game in SEC play, surpassed only by a 16-inning loss at Florida on March 22, 1996. The extra-inning victory on Sunday featured a walk-off solo homer by sophomore third baseman Grant Dozar, his first dinger of the season and the third of his career.
Friday’s game will feature a matchup of two of the nation’s most outstanding pitchers, LSU junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo and Ole Miss junior left-hander Drew Pomeranz.
“It’s going to be a very exciting weekend, beginning on Friday with two starting pitchers that could go among the top 10 picks in the draft,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We’re looking forward to going into a hostile environment and competing at a high level against a great team. It’s going to be lot of fun for anyone who loves college baseball.”
Ranaudo will mark his sixth start of the season after missing four starts early in the year with a stress reaction in his throwing elbow. He turned in his longest outing of the season last Friday in a win over Alabama, limiting the Crimson Tide to three earned runs on five hits in six innings with three walks and a season-high eight strikeouts.
Ranaudo is 2-0 on the year with a 3.00 ERA, 10 walks and 22 strikeouts in 21 innings of work.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, a former LSU player (1988-89) and assistant coach (1993-97) will counter on Friday with Pomeranz, who is 6-0 this season with a 1.38 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 58.2 innings.
LSU is No. 3 in the SEC in hitting with a .326 team batting average, and the Tigers have collected 46 homers and 63 stolen bases.
Junior catcher Micah Gibbs is batting .408 this season, which ranks fourth in the SEC. Gibbs has seven doubles, three triples, five homers and 38 RBI. Sophomore rightfielder Mikie Mahtook leads the league in doubles with 15 and in stolen bases with 20. Mahtook is hitting .351 on the year with four triples, eight homers and 31 RBI.
Ole Miss is No. 10 in the league with a .293 team batting average, and the Rebels have recorded 35 homers and 46 steals. Ole Miss is led at the plate by junior first baseman Matt Smith, who is hitting .369 with seven doubles, eight homers and 37 RBI.
Senior infielder Zach Miller is batting .326 for the Rebels with eight doubles, one homer and 37 RBI.
LSU has captured eight of its last 11 regular-season series with Ole Miss, though the Tigers are seeking their first series win in Oxford since 2004. The Rebels posted series victories over the Tigers in Oxford in 2006 and 2008.
Bianco has a 14-17 career mark against LSU since 2001, his first season at Ole Miss. Mainieri is 6-4 against Ole Miss in his four seasons at LSU, leading the Tigers to series victories over the Rebels in 2007 and 2009. Mainieri also directed LSU to a win over Ole Miss in the 2008 SEC Tournament championship game.
#5 LSU Fighting Tigers (32-6, 11-4) at #19 Ole Miss Rebels (25-13, 8-7)
Friday, April 23 – 7 p.m. CT; Saturday, April 24 – 3 p.m. CT; Sunday, April 25 – 1:30 p.m. CT
Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss.
LSU – No. 5 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 5 by NCBWA; No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 8 by Baseball America
UM – No. 19 by Baseball America; No. 19 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 23 by NCBWA; No. 27 by Collegiate Baseball
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
www.LSUsports.net – live audio and stats
Friday – ESPNU
Saturday – Fox Sports Net
Sunday – Comcast Sports Southeast and Cox Sports Television
LSU leads, 160-137, in a series that began in 1906.
LSU – Jr. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (2-0, 3.00 ERA, 21.0 IP, 10 BB, 22 SO
UM – Jr. LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-0, 1.38 ERA, 58.2 IP, 24 BB, 90 SO)
LSU – So. RHP Joey Bourgeois (4-1, 6.23 ERA, 43.1 IP, 23 BB, 34 SO)
UM – Sr. RHP Aaron Barrett (6-2, 3.07 ERA, 55.2 IP, 21 BB, 66 SO)
LSU – So. LHP Chris Matulis (5-1, 3.86 ERA, 39.2 IP, 21 BB, 31 SO)
UM — TBA