No. 24 Baseball to Host Northwestern St. Tuesday

by Bill Franques
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No. 24 Baseball to Host Northwestern St. Tuesday

BATON ROUGE – No. 24 LSU (21-11) plays host to in-state rival Northwestern State (10-22) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium.

Live video, audio and stats of the game may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. The game can also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.

Tuesday’s contest is the first in a five-game homestand for the Tigers, who meet Alcorn State Wednesday night and play host to Auburn this weekend in an SEC series.

“I’m not going to downplay the fact that this is a very important week for our team,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We’ve got to get the job done this week beginning with the game against Northwestern State.”

Mainieri said freshman right-hander Ryan Eades (1-0, 5.68 ERA) will start on the mound Tuesday for the Tigers. Eades, a product of Northshore High School in Slidell, La., will make his first collegiate start.”

“We’re very excited that Ryan is getting this opportunity to start a game,” Mainieri said. “He’s a young man with a tremendous amount of talent, and starting a game gives him the opportunity to use all four of his pitches.”

Northwestern State coach J.P. Davis will counter Tuesday with freshman right-hander Jacob Roark (0-2, 6.98 ERA).

The Tigers are batting .299 as a team with 51 doubles, nine triples, 23 homers and 58 steals on the year.  The LSU pitching staff has a 4.05 ERA with 230 strikeouts and a .241 opponent batting average.

The Tigers are led at the plate by junior centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, who is hitting .387 with six doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 33 RBI. Sophomore designated hitter Raph Rhymes is batting .349 with eight doubles, one homer and 21 RBI while junior shortstop Austin Nola is hitting .339 with eight doubles, two triples, two homers and 29 RBI.

Nola was superb last week at the plate, batting .462 (6-for-13) in four games with one homer, six RBI and three runs. Nola launched a grand slam in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game against Arkansas, erasing a 3-0 deficit to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead. The homer was the first grand slam this season by an LSU player.

Northwestern State is batting .253 with 51 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 35 stolen bases. The Demons’ pitching staff has a 3.89 ERA with 244 strikeouts and a .267 opponent batting average.

The Demons are led at the plate by junior Colin Bear, who is hitting .360 with 10 doubles, four homers and 22 RBI. Sophomore catcher Matt Farmer is batting .342 with nine doubles, two homers and 13 RBI, while senior infielder Chris Hebert is hitting .292 with three doubles and 15 RBI.

LSU leads the all-time series with Northwestern State, 50-10, including two wins over the Demons last season. The Tigers defeated NSU on April 20 at Fairgrounds Field in Shreveport and on April 21 in Alex Box Stadium. LSU has won the last 12 meetings between the schools.

Northwestern State Demons (10-22) at #24 LSU Fighting Tigers (21-11)

GAME DATE/TIME
Tuesday, April 12 – 6:30 p.m.

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

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 24 by USA Today/ESPN
NSU – unranked

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/flagship station is WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge

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

TV
None

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the all-time series with Northwestern State, 50-10, including two wins over the Demons last season. The Tigers defeated NSU on April 20 at Fairgrounds Field in Shreveport and on April 21 in Alex Box Stadium. LSU has won the last 12 meetings between the schools.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU – Fr. RHP Ryan Eades (1-0, 5.68 ERA, 12.2 IP, 9 BB, 11 SO)
NSU – Fr. RHP Jacob Roark (0-2, 6.98 ERA, 19.1 IP, 12 BB, 14 SO)