Baseball Plays Host to Nicholls Tuesday at Alex Box

by Bill Franques
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Baseball Plays Host to Nicholls Tuesday at Alex Box

BATON ROUGE – LSU (24-17) plays host to Nicholls State (20-20) 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 game marks the second meeting this season between the teams. LSU defeated Nicholls 12-8 on March 16 in Thibodaux after the Colonels held a 6-0 first-inning lead.

“We have 15 games remaining in the regular season, and we’ve reached  a pivotal point in the year,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Our players’ attitude has been very good all season, and their spirits remain high. We know what’s in front of us, and we also know that we still have a chance to accomplish some very significant goals.

“It starts Tuesday night with Nicholls, a team that is very capable and well-coached. We had to overcome a big deficit to beat them in March, so we know we’re facing a strong challenge.”

Mainieri said freshman right-hander Ryan Eades (1-1, 5.68 ERA) will start on the mound Tuesday for the Tigers, while Nicholls coach Seth Thibodeaux will counter with freshman left-hander Dalton Torres (2-2, 3.46 ERA).

The Tigers are batting .285 as a team with 64 doubles, nine triples, 26 homers and 66 steals on the year.  The LSU pitching staff has a 4.48 ERA with 288 strikeouts and a .253 opponent batting average.

The Tigers are led at the plate by junior centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, who is hitting .358 with eight doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 38 RBI. Sophomore rightfielder Raph Rhymes is batting .353 with 11 doubles, two homers and 30 RBI, while sophomore shortstop Austin Nola is hitting .312 with 11 doubles, two triples, two homers and 34 RBI.

Nicholls State is batting .260 with 46 doubles, nine triples, seven homers and 49 stolen bases.  The Colonels’ pitching staff has a 3.92 ERA with 214 strikeouts and a .296 opponent batting average.

The Colonels are led at the plate by senior infielder Chase Jaramillo, who is hitting .293 with six doubles and 21 RBI. Junior first baseman Jeremy Hill is batting .293 with six doubles and 21 RBI, while junior first baseman Blake Bergeron is hitting .266 with seven doubles, four triples, four homers and 36 RBI.

LSU junior designated hitter Trey Watkins, who occupies the leadoff spot in the Tigers’ lineup, enjoyed a productive last week at the plate, batting .375 (6-for-16) in four games with one double, one RBI, four runs, and one stolen base. Watkins also walked twice and produced a .421 on-base percentage. 

Junior first baseman Grant Dozar was 4-for-9 at the plate last week with a homer, three RBI and three runs scored. Dozar’s home run was a solo blast in the Tigers’ 8-6 win on Wednesday over Southern Mississippi at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La.

Junior reliever Matty Ott hurled 3.1 scoreless innings in two appearances last week, and he earned the win over Southern Miss on Wednesday. Ott allowed two hits in his two appearances with one walk and three strikeouts.

Mainieri is one victory shy of his 200th win at LSU; in five seasons at the helm of the Fighting Tiger program, he has a 199-101-2 mark that includes the 2009 national championship, the 2009 SEC title, two SEC Western Division crowns (2008, 2009) and three straight SEC Tournament championships (2008, 2009, 2010).

LSU leads the overall series with Nicholls State, 46-22, including the win earlier this season in Thibodaux. LSU has won 19 of the last 20 meetings with Nicholls State – the Colonels’ only win in that span was a 3-1 victory over the Tigers on April 15, 2009 in Alex Box Stadium.

Nicholls State Colonels (20-20) at LSU Fighting Tigers (24-17)

GAME DATE/TIME
Tuesday, April 26 – 6:30 p.m.

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

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
No TV

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the overall series with Nicholls State, 46-22, including a 12-8 victory earlier this season (March 16) in Thibodaux. LSU has won 19 of the last 20 meetings with Nicholls State – the Colonels’ only win in that span was a 3-1 victory over the Tigers on April 15, 2009 in Alex Box Stadium.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU – Fr. RHP Ryan Eades (1-1, 5.68 ERA, 19.0 IP, 10 BB, 15 SO)
NSU – Fr. LHP Dalton Torres (2-2, 3.46 ERA, 41.2 IP, 14 BB, 24 SO)