LSU

Latz to Start SEC Opener Against Tennessee

May 23, 2016

HOOVER, Ala. – No. 7 LSU (39-17, 19-11 SEC) plays in the opening round of the 2016 SEC Tournament at 8 p.m. CT Tuesday when the Tigers meet Tennessee at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

LSU, which has won 11 of its last 12 games, is the No. 5 seed in the tournament, while Tennessee is the No. 12 seed. The winner of Tuesday’s game will play fourth-seeded Florida at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday, while the loser is eliminated from the tournament.

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.

Tuesday’s game will be televised on the SEC Network, and it may also be viewed online at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.

LSU won 11 of its final 12 regular-season games – including eight of its final nine SEC games — including a 2-1 series victory over top-ranked Florida last weekend in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

“Tennessee is one of the better offensive team in the SEC, and they are playing with a lot of confidence right now. We’ve traditionally enjoyed a lot of success in this tournament, and it very important that we play at our best against Tennessee in order to have a chance to win. Each game we play in the postseason will carry a lot of meaning, and we’re looking forward to the challenge of starting this tournament against a talented club.”

Mainieri said that redshirt freshman left-hander Jake Latz (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will mark his first career start against an SEC team, while Tennessee coach Dave Serrano will counter with freshman right-hander Will Neely (1-3, 4.27 ERA).

LSU is third in the SEC in team batting average (.298), and the Tiger hitters have the fewest number of strikeouts (255) in the league. Six of the nine players in the LSU lineup are hitting .301 or better, and the Tigers are second in the SEC in stolen bases with 86.

Freshman rightfielder Antoine Duplantis is LSU’s leading hitter, batting .335 with six doubles, five triples, two homers and 35 RBI, while junior catcher Jordan Romero is batting .316 and leads the team in homers (9) and RBI (40).

LSU will face a Tennessee pitching staff that is No. 10 in the SEC in team ERA (4.04).

The LSU pitching staff has been especially effective over the past 12 games, recording a 3.03 ERA in 107 innings with 79 strikeouts and a .239 opponent batting average.

The LSU pitchers will face a Tennessee club that is No. 6 in the SEC in team batting average (.289), and the Vols are first in the league with 89 stolen bases. Tennessee has three of the top four RBI producers in the SEC – third baseman Nick Senzel (59), leftfielder Vincent Jackson (56) and second baseman Jordan Rodgers (55).

LSU leads the all-time series with Tennessee, 55-22. The Tigers have won 11 of their last 12 games over UT, including a three-game sweep earlier this season in Knoxville. LSU has a 2-1 edge over Tennessee in SEC Tournament games; Tuesday’s game marks the first SEC Tournament matchup between the schools since 2005, when UT posted a 5-1 win over the Tigers.

SEC TOURNAMENT
No. 12 seed Tennessee (29-27, 9-21 SEC) vs. No. 5 seed LSU (39-17, 19-11 SEC)

DATE/TIME
Tuesday, May 24 – 8 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 7 by Baseball America; No. 7 by USA Today
UT – 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
SEC Network – the game may also be viewed at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the all-time series with Tennessee, 55-22. The Tigers have won 11 of their last 12 games over UT, including a three-game sweep earlier this season in Knoxville. LSU has a 2-1 edge over Tennessee in SEC Tournament games; Tuesday’s game marks the first SEC Tournament matchup between the schools since 2005, when UT posted a 5-1 win over the Tigers.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU – Fr. LHP Jake Latz (0-1, 5.40 ERA, 3.1 IP, 2 BB, 6 SO)
UT – Fr. RHP Will Neely (1-3, 4.27 ERA, 46.1 IP, 17 BB, 26 SO)

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