Tigers Meet SDSU Friday in Corvallis Regional

by Bill Franques
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Tigers Meet SDSU Friday in Corvallis Regional

#3 seed San Diego State Aztecs (39-19) vs. #2 seed LSU Fighting Tigers (37-25)
NCAA Regional – Corvallis, Ore.

Friday, June 1 – 3 p.m. CT

Goss Stadium (3,315)

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LSU is in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight year and for the 31st time overall … the Tigers were an NCAA Tournament National Seed for an NCAA-record six straight seasons (2012-17) … LSU was the 2017 College World Series runners-up … LSU has six national championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2009), the second-most in NCAA history … LSU has a 94-22 (.810) all-time record in NCAA Regional games, including an 83-17 (.830) mark at home and an 11-5 (.688) record on the road … the Corvallis Regional marks LSU’s first regional away from Baton Rouge since the 2010 Los Angeles Regional hosted and won by UCLA … LSU hasn’t won a road regional since the 1989 Central Regional in College Station, Texas.

Friday’s game will mark the first-ever baseball meeting between LSU and San Diego State. The winner of Friday’s game will play at 9 p.m. CT Saturday against the winner of Friday night’s matchup between #1 seed Oregon State and #4 seed Northwestern State. The loser of Friday’s LSU-SDSU game will play the loser of the OSU-Northwestern State game at 3 p.m. CT Saturday.

LSU – So. LH Nick Bush (1-1, 3.16 ERA, 42.2 IP, 15 BB, 40 SO)
SDSU – Sr. RH Jorge Fernandez (6-3, 4.65 ERA, 60.0 IP, 18 BB, 46 SO)

“If you want to win in the postseason, everyone on your team has to play at a level that maybe has not been seen during the year. We need everybody to contribute, and that’s what happens when you get to this stage of the season. San Diego State is a championship team and a very confident team. They come from a baseball-rich area, and I coached enough games against them when I was at Air Force to know that caliber of players San Diego State has. We’re looking forward to opening the tournament against an outstanding ball club … We have a lot of confidence in (LSU starting pitcher) Nick Bush; he’s grown tremendously as a pitcher, and he’s a great competitor whose made a lot of clutch pitches for us this year.”

• LSU was the No. 8 seed in last week’s SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala., and the Tigers won four of five games in five days to advance all the way to the tournament final, where LSU was defeated by Ole Miss. Along the way, LSU posted wins over NCAA Tournament National Seeds Florida and Arkansas and NCAA Regional No. 2 seeds Mississippi State and South Carolina.
• LSU junior rightfielder Antoine Duplantis was named to the 2018 SEC All-Tournament Team, batting .370 in six games with two doubles, one triple, five RBI and eight runs scored … Duplantis is No. 1 in the SEC in base hits (86), No. 1 in triples (6) and No. 3 in stolen bases (17).
• LSU sophomore right-hander Todd Peterson was named to the 2018 SEC All-Tournament Team after posting a win and a save in his two SEC Tournament appearances … he also helped his own cause in the May 24 game vs. South Carolina, batting for himself as the pitcher and lining a two-run double to highlight a three-run LSU 12th inning … Peterson worked the final five innings of the contest to earn his first win of the season … in his two SEC Tournament appearances combined, he was 1-0 with one save in seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts … overall, Peterson has four saves and a win in his last six appearances, allowing three runs on eight hits in 11.2 innings with one walk and nine strikeouts.
• LSU is No.4 in the SEC in team batting average (.285) and the Tigers’ hitters have the fewest number of strikeouts in the league (387) … the LSU pitching staff is No. 13 in the SEC with a 4.68 ERA.
• Senior first baseman Austin Bain leads the SEC in doubles (21), and freshman DH/OF Daniel Cabrera, a Freshman All-SEC selection, is fourth in the league in doubles with 18 and fourth in RBI with 49 … Cabrera hit .320 in the SEC Tournament with two doubles, five RBI and three runs scored.
• Sophomore right-hander Zack Hess is fourth in the SEC with 101 strikeous, and freshman right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard is third in the conference with nine wins.
• LSU right-hander Cam Sanders posted three dominant relief outings in the SEC Tournament against Florida (twice) and Ole Miss. Sanders worked a combined 8.1 shutout innings, allowing only three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts.

• San Diego State has won a Mountain West Conference title in five of the past six seasons.
• San Diego State is hitting .305 as a team with 43 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 48 attempts … the Aztec pitching staff has a 3.90 team ERA and is allowing a .251 opponent batting average with 24 home runs.
• Three SDSU players have eight or more home runs – junior infielder Jordan Verdon (12), junior outfielder Chad Bible (9) and junior catcher Dean Nevarez (8).
• Senior outfielder Chase Calabuig is the Aztecs’ leading hitter, batting .359 with 21 doubles, six triples, five homers, 46 RBI and 54 runs.
• Fourth-year San Diego State head coach Mark Martinez coached against LSU coach Paul Mainieri when Martinez was an assistant at New Mexico and Mainieri was the head coach at Air Force from 1989-94.