LSU

Baseball to Take on Arkansas in Weekend Series

May 5, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 13 LSU (28-16, 11-10 SEC) opens a three-game Southeastern Conference series versus Arkansas (26-19, 7-14 SEC) at 7 p.m. CT Friday in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

Game 2 of the series starts at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is set for 1 p.m. CT Sunday.

The games will be carried on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, including WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge, Live audio of the games may be accessed at www.LSUsports.net/live with live stats at www.LSUstats.com.

The games on Friday and Sunday may be viewed online on SEC Network + — accessible at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app — and Saturday’s game will be televised by ESPNU.

LSU is ranked No. 13 this week in the Baseball America poll. LSU is in fourth place in the SEC West with an 11-10 mark, three games behind first-place Texas A&M and one game behind Ole Miss and Mississippi State, who are in a second-place tie.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said that sophomore right-hander Alex Lange (5-3) would start Game 1 for the Tigers. Lange is fourth in the SEC in strikeouts with 82, and he has thrown complete games in his last two outings.

Lange fired his second straight complete game last Friday to defeat Ole Miss, becoming the first LSU pitcher to record consecutive complete games since Aaron Nola posted four straight complete games during the 2013 season. Lange threw 108 pitches and limited Ole Miss on Friday to two earned runs on seven hits in nine innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.

“It was our intent for Alex to be our Game 1 starter when we began SEC play last month, but rainouts and having some of our series start on Thursdays forced us to make adjustments,” Mainieri explained. “Alex has been dominant in his last two starts, and we’re hoping that he’ll continue to pitch at a high level and get us off to a good start in this series. We have tremendous respect for (Arkansas coach) Dave Van Horn and his program. We’ve had extremely competitive games with them over the years, and I’m expecting that the same will take place this weekend. They have very talented players, including starting pitchers who are established SEC veterans.”

LSU is No. 4 in the SEC in batting average, as the Tigers are hitting .302 as a team. The Tigers are second in the league in hitting in SEC games only with a .303 team batting average. In SEC games only, LSU is No. 2 in the league in runs scored (126) and No. 2 in base hits (226). The LSU hitters are No. 1 in the league in fewest times struck out, both overall (205) and in SEC games only (102).

Freshman centerfielder Antoine Duplantis is batting .343 with six doubles, four triples, one homer, 28 RBI, 33 runs and 11 steals; junior catcher Jordan Romero is batting .340 with seven doubles, a team-high seven homers and 33 RBI; sophomore leftfielder Beau Jordan has a team-best 35 RBI, and he is hitting .335 with eight doubles and four home runs.

The Tigers will face an Arkansas pitching staff that is No. 14 in the SEC with a 4.81 team ERA. However, the Razorbacks’ Game 1 starter, junior right-hander Dominic Taccolini, fired 10 shutout innings and allowed just five hits in a 1-0 win over Kentucky two weeks ago.

The Razorbacks are ninth in the SEC in hitting, batting .284 as a team with a league-best 44 homers. Arkansas is led at the plate by sophomore outfielder Carson Shaddy, who is batting .357 with 10 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 33 RBI.

Sophomore outfielder Luke Bonfield is batting .340 for the Razorbacks with 11 doubles, eight homers and 35 RBI, and senior infielder Michael Bernal is hitting .296 with eight doubles, one triple, eight homers and 36 RBI.

LSU leads the series with Arkansas, 64-30, and the Tigers have won 10 of their last 11 SEC regular-season series versus the Razorbacks, including a 2-1 series victory last season in Fayetteville. LSU also defeated Arkansas, 10-5, last season in the Tigers’ second-round game of the SEC Tournament.

The only regular-season series win for Arkansas over LSU in the past 11 seasons came in 2011, when the Razorbacks swept three games from the Tigers in Fayetteville. The Tigers are 28-12 against Arkansas over the past 11 seasons, including two wins over the Razorbacks in the 2009 College World Series.

Arkansas Razorbacks (26-19, 7-14 SEC) at #13 LSU Fighting Tigers (28-16, 11-10 SEC)

DATES/TIMES
Friday, May 6 – 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
Saturday, May 7 – 6:30 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Sunday, May 8 – 1 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)

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

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 13 by Baseball America; No. 15 by USA Today; No. 17 by D1 Baseball
UA – unranked

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge); live audio and live stats at www.LSUsports.net

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

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the series with Arkansas, 64-30, and the Tigers have won 10 of their last 11 SEC regular-season series versus the Razorbacks, including a 2-1 series victory last season in Fayetteville. LSU also defeated Arkansas, 10-5, last season in the Tigers’ second-round game of the SEC Tournament. The only regular-season series win for Arkansas over LSU in the past 11 seasons came in 2011, when the Razorbacks swept three games from the Tigers in Fayetteville. The Tigers are 28-12 against Arkansas over the past 11 seasons, including two wins over the Razorbacks in the 2009 College World Series.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU – So. RHP Alex Lange (5-3, 4.05 ERA, 73.1 IP, 34 BB, 82 SO)
UA – Jr. RHP Dominic Taccolini (5-2, 4.81 ERA, 58.8 IP, 17 BB, 53 SO)

Game 2
LSU – Jr. LHP Jared Poche’ (5-4, 3.62 ERA, 64.2 IP, 25 BB, 54 SO)
UA – Jr. RHP Zach Jackson (3-4, 5.11 ERA, 44.0 IP, 30 BB, 54 SO)

Game 3
LSU – TBA
UA – So. RHP Keaton McKinney (1-3, 5.84 ERA, 44.2 IP, 26 BB, 26 SO)

Read Full Article