June 2, 2016
BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 8 National Seed LSU (42-18) opens NCAA Baton Rouge Regional action at 2 p.m. CT Friday when the Tigers meet Utah Valley (37-21) at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The game will be carried on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, including WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge, Live audio of the game may be accessed at www.LSUsports.net/live with live stats at www.LSUstats.com.
Friday’s game may be viewed online on ESPN3, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.
LSU has won 14 of its past 16 games, including 12 of its past 14 games against SEC opponents. The Tigers posted a 3-1 mark in last week’s SEC Tournament, defeating Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi State before dropping a 1-0 decision to Florida in the tournament semifinal round.
LSU is an NCAA Tournament National Seed for the fifth straight season and for the seventh time in nine seasons. Stanford, with six straight from 1999-2004, is the only other school to earn five National Seeds in a row. LSU and Florida are the only schools to capture seven in the past nine years.
Friday’s game marks the first meeting between LSU and Utah Valley of the Western Athletic Conference. The Tigers faced WAC member Sacramento State in Baton Rouge in February of this season, and LSU won two of three games in the series.
“Believe me, Utah Valley has our attention,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “They are an outstanding ball club. Nobody in this tournament is here except for the fact that they earned it. Every team in this tournament is either a conference champion or a really significant at-large team, which means they are really good. You respect all of your opponents. You’re in awe of none of them. You go out there and play as hard as you can. You concern yourself with how you play more than you do your opponent, and that’s our approach against Utah Valley.”
Mainieri said that junior left-hander Jared Poche’ (7-4, 3.61 ERA) will start on the mound for the Tigers, while Utah Valley coach Eric Madsen will counter with senior right-hander Danny Beddes (9-3, 4.33 ERA).
“Jared is a veteran outstanding pitcher, and I feel like he can get us off to a good start,” Mainieri said. “I have a great deal of confidence in him. He will be able to handle the pomp and circumstance and all of the attention while being calm, cool and collected out there. Obviously, he’s a top pitcher for us. Hopefully, he will go out there and pitch the way he did at the SEC Tournament and get us off to a good start.”
Poche’ defeated Mississippi State in last week’s SEC Tournament, limiting the Bulldogs to one earned run on seven hits in 6.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
LSU is hitting .295 as a team with 38 home runs and 89 stolen bases in 127 attempts. The Tigers will face a UVU pitching staff that has a 4.82 ERA and 403 strikeouts in 528.2 innings.
The Tigers are led at the plate by freshman rightfielder Antoine Duplantis, who is hitting .340 with seven doubles, five triples, two homers, 36 RBI, 42 runs and 12 steals. Junior second baseman Cole Freeman is hitting .325 with six doubles, three triples, one homer, 25 RBI, 43 runs and 24 steals, and junior centerfielder Jake Fraley is batting .321 with nine doubles, five triples, three homers, 31 RBI, 54 runs and 26 stolen bases.
Utah Valley is hitting .288 as a team with 39 homers and 41 steals in 64 attempts. The Wolverines will take on an LSU pitching staff that has a 3.86 ERA and 485 strikeouts in 539 innings.
The Wolverines’ offense is paced by senior outfielder Craig Brinkerhoff, who is batting .328 with 11 homers and 36 RBI. Senior outfielder Mark Krueger is hitting .328 with seven homers and 45 RBI, and junior catcher Zac Willis is hitting .300 with six homers and 36 RBI.
LSU is serving as a regional host site for the 24th time overall and for the 23rd time in the past 27 seasons. LSU has an 88-21 (.807) all-time record in NCAA Regional games, including a 77-16 (.828) mark in regional games at home. The Tigers have won 19 of the previous 23 regionals that have been held in Alex Box Stadium.
NCAA BATON ROUGE REGIONAL
No. 4 seed Utah Valley (37-21) vs. No. 1 seed LSU (42-18)
Friday, June 3 – 2 p.m. CT
Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.
LSU – No. 5 by Baseball America, No. 6 by D1 Baseball; No. 7 by USA Today
UVU – unranked
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge); live audio and live stats at www.LSUsports.net
ESPN3, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app
Friday’s game marks the first meeting between LSU and Utah Valley of the Western Athletic Conference. LSU played UVU’s fellow WAC member, Sacramento State, this season, and the Tigers won two of three games over Sacramento State.
LSU – Jr. LHP Jared Poche’ (7-4, 3.61 ERA, 84.2 IP, 34 BB, 67 SO)
UVU – Sr. RHP Danny Beddes (9-3, 4.33 ERA, 99.2 IP, 51 BB, 96 SO)