Baseball Enters Key Series Against Kentucky

by Bill Franques
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Baseball Enters Key Series Against Kentucky

BATON ROUGE – LSU (25-17, 4-14 SEC) plays host to Kentucky (20-22, 4-14) SEC) in a three-game conference series that begins at 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday in Alex Box Stadium.

Game 2 starts at 7 p.m. Friday, and Game 3 will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.

All three games can be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.  Live video is also available at www.LSUsports.net/HDbaseball on Friday and Saturday.

Thursday’s game will be televised by ESPNU, and Friday’s game will be televised by Cox Sports Television. Thursday’s game is also available on satellite radio Sirius Ch. 122 or XM Ch. 143.

“Our season has come down to our final 14 regular-season games, including 12 in the SEC, ” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “The series with Kentucky begins a four-weekend stretch in which we can still accomplish significant goals. Kentucky swept us in Lexington last season, and they have a number of talented players. We know we’ll have to play at a very high level to win games in this series.”

Mainieri said freshman right-hander Kurt McCune will start on the mound Thursday for the Tigers, followed by freshman right-hander Kevin Gausman on Friday and senior right-hander Ben Alsup on Saturday.

Kentucky coach Gary Henderson will counter with junior right-hander Alex Meyer on Thursday, freshman left-hander Corey Littrell on Friday and sophomore left-hander Taylor Rogers on Saturday.

The Tigers are batting .289 as a team with 69 doubles, nine triples, 27 homers and 69 steals on the year.  The LSU pitching staff has a 4.42 ERA with 298 strikeouts and a .254 opponent batting average.

LSU is ranked No. 7 in the SEC in team batting average, and the Tigers are No. 10 in the league in staff ERA.

The Tigers are led at the plate by junior centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, who is hitting .364 with nine doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 41 RBI. Sophomore rightfielder Raph Rhymes is batting .344 with 11 doubles, two homers and 31 RBI, while junior shortstop Austin Nola is hitting .313 with 11 doubles, two triples, two homers and 34 RBI.

Kentucky is batting .297 with 88 doubles, six triples, 35 homers and 62 stolen bases.  The Wildcats’ pitching staff has a 4.28 ERA with 322 strikeouts and a .289 opponent batting average.

Kentucky is No. 4 in the SEC in team batting average and the Wildcats are ninth in the league in team ERA.

Kentucky is led at the plate by senior infielder Taylor Black, who is hitting .333 with 13 doubles, two triples, two homers and 28 RBI. Junior infielder Braden Kapteyn is batting .331 with nine doubles, one triple, six homers and 39 RBI, while junior outfielder Chad Wright is hitting .323 with 11 doubles, four homers and 28 RBI.

LSU leads the overall series with Kentucky, 39-23-1, and the Tigers have won nine of their last 12 SEC series with the Wildcats. Kentucky, however, swept three games from the Tigers in Lexington last season.

Kentucky Wildcats (20-22, 4-14 SEC) at LSU Fighting Tigers (25-17, 4-14 SEC)

GAME DATES/TIMES
Thursday, April 28 – 6:30 p.m.; Friday, April 29 – 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 30 – 1 p.m.

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/flagship station is WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
Satellite Radio on Thursday – Sirius Ch. 122; XM Ch. 143

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net – live video, audio and stats on Friday and Saturday; live audio and stats on Thursday

TV
Thursday – ESPNU
Friday – Cox Sports Television
Saturday – No TV

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the overall series with Kentucky, 39-23-1, and the Tigers have won nine of their last 12 SEC series with the Wildcats. Kentucky, however, swept three games from the Tigers in Lexington last season.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU – Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (5-3, 3.39 ERA, 63.2 IP, 19 BB, 47 SO)
UK – Jr. RHP Alex Meyer (4-5, 3.27 ERA, 71.2 IP, 36 BB, 81 SO)

Game 2
LSU – Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-5, 4.73 ERA, 59.0 IP, 18 BB, 54 SO)
UK – Fr. LHP Corey Littrell (5-3, 5.64 ERA, 52.2 IP, 18 BB, 39 SO)

Game 3
LSU – Sr. RHP Ben Alsup (5-4, 3.93 ERA, 52.2 IP, 20 BB, 34 SO)
UK – So. LHP Taylor Rogers (2-5, 5.16 ERA, 59.1 IP, 11 BB, 41 SO)