Baseball to Face Southern Miss in Pontiff Classic

by Bill Franques
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Baseball to Face Southern Miss in Pontiff Classic

BATON ROUGE – LSU travels to Metairie, La. Wednesday to face Southern Mississippi in the annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Baseball Classic at 7 p.m. in Zephyr Field.

Live 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.

The game will be televised by the Jumbo Sports Network, and it can be seen on Cox Cable Ch. 4 in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette.

The Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation was established in memory of LSU’s all-SEC third baseman who died in 2002 at age 21 due to heart abnormalities. Proceeds from Wednesday’s game will benefit numerous charitable organizations throughout Louisiana.

“This game is important to us every year because it honors Wally’s legacy, and it raises funds for so many deserving organizations,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We’re proud to participate in the game, and we’re looking forward to a tremendous challenge from a very good Southern Miss team.”

Mainieri said freshman right-hander Ryan Eades (1-1, 5.94 ERA) will start Wednesday’s game on the mound for the Tigers, while Southern Miss coach Scott Berry will counter with freshman right-hander Boomer Scarborough (1-0, 2.12 ERA).

The Tigers are batting .289 as a team with 60 doubles, nine triples, 24 homers and 64 steals on the year.  The LSU pitching staff has a 4.02 ERA with 267 strikeouts and a .235 opponent batting average.

The Tigers are led at the plate by junior centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, who is hitting .374 with seven doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 36 RBI. Sophomore outfielder Raph Rhymes is batting .366 with 11 doubles, two homers and 25 RBI while freshman second baseman JaCoby Jones is hitting .317 with five doubles, one triple, three homers and 23 RBI.

Rhymes was excellent at the plate last week, batting .500 (8-for-16) in five games with three doubles, one homer, four RBI and three runs. Rhymes’ two-run double in Sunday’s game versus Auburn proved to be the difference in the Tigers’ 3-2 victory.

Southern Miss is batting .307 with 64 doubles, 12 triples, 31 homers and 18 stolen bases.  The USM pitching staff has a 3.29 ERA with 222 strikeouts and a .244 opponent batting average.

The Golden Eagles are led at the plate by senior outfielder Tyler Koelling, who is hitting .373 with 11 doubles, one triple, two homers and 35 RBI. Senior infielder Adam Doleac is batting .365 with 11 doubles, one triple, one homer and 30 RBI, while junior infielder B.A. Vollmuth is hitting .313 with six doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 33 RBI.

LSU leads Southern Miss, 35-11-2, in a series that began in 1970. LSU has won the last four meetings between the clubs, including a 6-5, 12-inning victory last season at Zephyr Field. The Golden Eagles’ last victory over LSU came on March 11, 2007, a 5-3 win in a regular-season matchup in the original Alex Box Stadium.

#19 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (27-8) vs. #27 LSU Fighting Tigers (23-14)

GAME DATE/TIME
Wednesday, April 20 – 7 p.m.

STADIUM
Zephyr Field in Metairie, La.

RANKINGS
LSU -No. 27 by NCBWA
USM – No. 19 by Baseball America, No. 21 by USA Today/ESPN, No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 24 by NCBWA

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

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net – live audio and stats

TV
Jumbo Sports Network telecast can be seen on Cox Cable Ch. 4 in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads Southern Miss, 35-11-2, in a series that began in 1970. LSU has won the last four meetings between the clubs, including a 6-5, 12-inning victory last season at Zephyr Field. The Golden Eagles’ last victory over LSU came on March 11, 2007, a 5-3 win in a regular-season matchup in the original Alex Box Stadium.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU – Fr. RHP Ryan Eades (1-1, 5.94 ERA, 16.2 IP, 10 BB, 14 SO)
USM – Fr. RHP Boomer Scarborough (1-0, 2.12 ERA, 34.0 IP, 14 BB, 22 SO)