Baseball to Face South Carolina Saturday in Hoover

by Bill Franques
Bracket Baseball Interviews (SECT) +0
Baseball to Face South Carolina Saturday in Hoover

HOOVER, Ala. – Third-ranked LSU (41-17) makes its fifth consecutive SEC Tournament semifinal appearance at Noon CT Saturday when the Tigers face South Carolina (36-24) in Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

The LSU-South Carolina  game 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,

Saturday’s game will be televised by the SEC Network, and it is accessible online at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.

The winner of the LSU-South Carolina matchup will advance to the tournament championship game at 2 p.m. CT Sunday against Florida, Arkansas or Mississippi State.

LSU, the 2017 SEC regular-season co-champion, is 29-6 in SEC Tournament games under coach Paul Mainieri, winning tournament titles in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014. The Tigers have advanced to the tournament semifinals in each of the last five seasons.

The Tigers enter Saturday’s contest on a nine-game win streak and have won 14 of their past 16 games. LSU has won 13 of its last 14 games against SEC teams, including tournament wins this week over Missouri and Kentucky. The Tiger defeated Missouri, 10-3, on Wednesday and posted a 10-0 win over Kentucky on Thursday.

South Carolina, which has a 3-1 mark in the tournament, advanced to the semifinal round with a 3-1 elimination-game win over Kentucky on Friday afternoon.

LSU won two of three games over South Carolina during the regular season (May 5-7) in Baton Rouge. The Tigers own a 5-2 edge over the Gamecocks in SEC Tournament games, and Saturday’s contest marks the first SEC Tournament meeting between the teams since 2009, when LSU posted a 4-1 win over South Carolina.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but there’s still a lot more to do,” Mainieri said. “All of the goals that we set at the beginning of the season have been met to this point, but we don’t want to be satisfied with stopping now. We’ve won our first two games here and made it to the semifinal, so why not try to win a championship?

“We’re taking it one step at time, and there is a strong bond being created within our team. Our players have worked very hard and done everything we’ve asked of them, and now they’re beginning to taste the fruits of that labor.”

Senior left-hander Jared Poche’ will start Saturday’s game for the Tigers, seeking his 37th career victory. Poche’ is two wins shy of tying Scott Schultz (38 wins, 1992-95) as LSU’s all-time pitching victories leader. Poche’ is currently tied with Lane Mestepey (36 wins, 2001-05) for second place on LSU career wins list.

LSU is hitting .359 (23-for-64) in the SEC Tournament, as the Tigers have scored 20 runs with six doubles and two home runs in their two victories.

Senior second baseman Cole Freeman is hitting .625 (5-for-8) in the tournament with one homer, five RBI and three runs scored. Sophomore leftfielder Antoine Duplantis is batting .556 (5-for-9) in the tournament with two doubles, three RBI and one run scored.

LSU senior shortstop Kramer Robertson is hitting .368 (25-for-68) during LSU’s current 14-2 run with four doubles, one triple, three homers, 13 RBI and 25 runs.

South Carolina is hitting .261 as a team this season, but he Gamecocks have launched 58 home runs. Sophomore utility player Jacob Olson is batting a team-high .298, and he has 10 doubles, one triple, six homers and 27 RBI. Freshman leftfielder Carlos Cortes is batting .291, and he leads the Gamecocks with 12 homers and 41 RBI.

Junior outfielder/DH Alex Destino also has 41 RBI for the Gamecocks to go along with 10 home runs and eight doubles.

South Carolina Gamecocks (35-24) vs. #3 LSU Fighting Tigers (41-17)

DATE/TIME
Saturday, May 27 – 12 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (Hoover, Ala.)

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 3 Collegiate Baseball; No. 6 USA Today; No. 8 Baseball America (#2 seed in SEC Tournament)

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
TV– SEC Network
Online – accessible at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app

LSU IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT
LSU has a league-best 79-40 (.664) all-time record in the SEC Tournament, and the Tigers own a conference-high 11 tournament titles. Alabama and Mississippi State are second behind LSU with seven tournament titles, and Ole Miss is third with five championships. LSU has won five of the past nine  SEC Tournament crowns, claiming the title in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014. LSU has reached the semifinal round in five consecutive seasons (2013-17) and the Tigers are 29-6 under 11th-year coach Paul Mainieri in SEC Tournament games.

LSU-SOUTH CAROLINA SERIES
LSU leads the overall series with South Carolina, 36-26-1; the Tigers and Gamecocks first met on the diamond in 1992. LSU has won 14 of its last 20 games with South Carolina, including a 2-1 series victory earlier this season (May 5-7) in Baton Rouge. LSU has won five of its last six SEC regular-season series versus South Carolina, and the Tigers own a 5-2 edge over the Gamecocks in SEC Tournament games. Saturday’s game marks the first SEC Tournament meeting between the teams since 2009, when LSU posted a 4-1 win over South Carolina.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU – Sr. LHP Jared Poche’ (9-3, 3.40 ERA, 84.2 IP, 27 BB, 54 SO)
SC – TBA

 

2017 SEC Baseball Tournament
May 23-28, 2017
Hoover Met Stadium – Hoover, Ala.
As of 8 pm CT – May 23, 2017
Revised due to postponement of Game 4 on Tuesday

Tuesday, May 23
MATCHUP (SINGLE ELIMINATION), TIME, TV
Game 1: #11 South Carolina def. #6 Vanderbilt, 7-4 (11) – #6 Vanderbilt eliminated
Game 2: #10 Missouri def. #7 Texas A&M, 12-7 – #7 Texas A&M eliminated
Game 3: #8 Auburn def. #9 Ole Miss, 5-4 – #9 Ole Miss eliminated

Wednesday, May 24
MATCHUP (DOUBLE ELIMINATION EXCEPT GAME 4), TIME, TV
Game 4: #5 Mississippi State def. #12 Georgia, 3-0 – #12 Georgia eliminated 
Game 5: #3 Kentucky def. #11 South Carolina, 7-2
Game 6: #2 LSU def. #10 Missouri, 10-3
Game 7: #1 Florida def. #8 Auburn, 5-4

Thursday, May 25
MATCHUP (DOUBLE ELIMINATION), TIME, TV
Game 8: #5 Mississippi State def. #4 Arkansas, 4-3
Game 9: #11 South Carolina def. #10 Missouri, 10-2 – #10 Missouri eliminated
Game 10: #4 Arkansas def. #8 Auburn, 12-0 (7) – #8 Auburn eliminated
Game 11: #2 LSU def. #3 Kentucky, 10-0 (7)

Friday, May 26
MATCHUP (DOUBLE ELIMINATION), TIME, TV
Game 12: #1 Florida def. #5 Mississippi State, 12-3
Game 13: #11 South Carolina def. #3 Kentucky, 3-1 – #3 Kentucky eliminated
Game 14: #4 Arkansas def. #5 Mississippi State, 9-2

Saturday, May 27
MATCHUP (SINGLE ELIMINATION), TIME, TV
Game 15: #2 LSU vs. #11 South Carolina, 12 p.m., SEC Network
Game 16: #1 Florida vs. #4 Arkansas, ~3:30 p.m., SEC Network

Sunday, May 28
MATCHUP, TIME, TV
Championship Game: Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16, 2 p.m., ESPN2

All Times Central
The second game of each session will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.