Tigers Open Series vs. South Carolina Friday Night

by Bill Franques
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Tigers Open Series vs. South Carolina Friday Night

BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 11 LSU (30-15, 13-8 SEC) opens a three-game Southeastern Conference series at 7 p.m. CT Friday versus South Carolina (26-17, 10-11 SEC) in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

Game 2 of the series will begin at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is set for 2 p.m. CT on Sunday.

The games will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge), and the radio broadcast may be heard at www.LSUsports.net/live,

Friday’s game may be viewed on SEC Network +, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. Saturday’s game will be televised on the SEC Network, and Sunday’s game will be televised by ESPN.

LSU is in third place in the SEC Western Division with a 13-8 league mark, just one game behind first-place Mississippi State and Auburn, who are both 14-7 in league play. South Carolina is fourth in the SEC Eastern Division with a 10-11 league record.

“All of our goals that we set at the start of the season are still in front of us, and these final three weeks of SEC games will write the story of our season, beginning this weekend with South Carolina.,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We are very aware of how athletic this South Carolina team is, and they have a tremendous pitching staff full of outstanding arms. They were a preseason Top 5 team in the polls, so we know they present a huge challenge. We’re looking forward to a great weekend of high-level, competitive baseball between two excellent teams.”

LSU is No. 3 in the SEC in team batting average (.290), trailing only Kentucky (.315) and Mississippi State (.291). The LSU hitters have the fewest number of strikeouts in the league (270).

LSU junior rightfielder Greg Deichmann is No. 2 in the league in home runs (15), RBI (53), total bases (113) and slugging percentage (.669). In LSU’s series sweep at Alabama last weekend, Deichmann hit .417 (5-for-12) with one homer, four RBI, two runs and two stolen bases, and he threw an Alabama runner out at the plate from right field.

Deichmann collected a career-high four hits in Friday’s win over the Crimson Tide, driving in two runs. He gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 3 on Saturday, blasting his 15th homer of the season.

LSU senior shortstop Kramer Robertson is No. 1 in the league in runs scored (51), and sophomore leftfielder Antoine Duplantis is No. 4 in the SEC in stolen bases (12). Senior second baseman Cole Freeman is sixth in the SEC in stolen bases (11), and he’s No. 9 in the league in on-base percentage (.438).

The Tigers will face South Carolina staff that is No. 6 in the league in team ERA (3.55), and right-hander Adam Hill, the Gamecocks’ Game 2 starter, is eighth in the SEC in individual ERA (2.30).

The LSU pitching staff is No. 9 in the SEC with a 3.93 ERA, and the Tigers have limited opponents to a .241 cumulative batting average while averaging 9.10 strikeouts per game.

Junior right-hander Alex Lange, the Tigers’ Game 1 starter, has 342 career strikeouts and is just four Ks shy of moving past Aaron Nola (345 Ks, 2012-14) into third place on the all-time LSU strikeout list.

South Carolina is No. 11 in the league in hitting with a .268 team batting average, and the Gamecocks have hit 39 home runs, one fewer than LSU. South Carolina’s leader hitter is sophomore utility player Jacob Olson, who is batting .315 with eight doubles, one triple, five homers and 23 RBI.

Sophomore infielder LT Tolbert is hitting .308 with six doubles, one triple, three homers and a team-best 29 RBI, while junior outfielder Alex Destino leads the Gamecocks with six homers, and he has collected 27 RBI. 

#25 South Carolina Gamecocks (26-17, 10-11 SEC) at #11 LSU Tigers (30-15, 13-8 SEC)

DATES/TIMES
Friday, May 5 – 7 p.m. CT
Saturday, May 6 – 7 p.m. CT
Sunday, May 7 – 2 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 11 USA Today; No. 11 Collegiate Baseball; No. 12 D1 Baseball; No. 15 Baseball America
SC – No. 25 Collegiate Baseball

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network; in Baton Rouge on WDGL 98.1 FM
Radio broadcast and live stats for all LSU baseball games are available at www.LSUsports.net

TV/ONLINE
Friday – SEC Network + (online only), accessible at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app
Saturday – SEC Network (TV), also available online at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app
Sunday – ESPN (TV), also available online at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the overall series with South Carolina, 34-25-1; the Tigers and Gamecocks first met on the diamond in 1992. LSU has won 12 of its last 17 games with South Carolina, including a 2-1 series victory when the teams last met in 2015 at Columbia. This weekend marks South Carolina’s first visit to Baton Rouge since 2013, when the Gamecocks won two of three games over the Tigers.

LSU has won four of its last five SEC regular-season series versus South Carolina. LSU posted a three-game sweep over USC in Baton Rouge in 2008, a 2-1 series victory in Columbia in 2009, a 2-1 series victory in Columbia in 2012 and a 2-1 series victory in Columbia in 2015. The Gamecocks’ only series win in the past five meetings came in 2013, when South Carolina won two of three games over LSU in Baton Rouge.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU – Jr. RHP Alex Lange (5-4, 3.31 ERA, 65.1 IP, 26 BB, 86 SO)
SC – Jr. RHP Wil Crowe (4-4, 3.56 ERA, 68.1 IP, 22 BB, 63 SO)

Game 2
LSU – Jr. LHP Jared Poche’ (7-3, 3.55 ERA, 66.0 IP, 16 BB, 46 SO)
SC – So. RHP Adam Hill (3-3, 2.30 ERA, 54.2 IP, 28 BB, 62 SO)

Game 3
LSU – Fr. RHP Eric Walker (5-1, 3.69 ERA, 61.0 IP, 14 BB, 52 SO)
SC – TBA