LSU's Matty Ott
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Baseball to Face No. 3 Vanderbilt in Nashville
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Published: April 21, 2011, 12:21 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - No. 27 LSU (24-14, 4-11 SEC) faces third-ranked Vanderbilt (32-5, 11-4 SEC) in a three-game conference series that begins at 6 p.m. CT Friday at Hawkins Field in Nashville.

Game 2 starts at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, and Game 3 will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Live audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.  The games can also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.

Saturday's game will be televised by SportSouth/Fox Sports Houston, and Sunday's game will be televised by ESPN2.

"Vanderbilt is an outstanding, well-balanced team, and we're looking forward to the challenge of facing them, " said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Our team approaches every series with the belief that we can win, and that's certainly the mindset this weekend."

Mainieri said freshman right-hander Kurt McCune will start on the mound Friday for the Tigers, followed by freshman right-hander Kevin Gausman on Saturday and senior right-hander Ben Alsup on Sunday.

Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin will counter with junior right-hander Sonny Gray on Friday, junior left-hander Grayson Garvin on Saturday and senior right-hander Taylor Hill on Sunday.

The Tigers are batting .291 as a team with 60 doubles, nine triples, 26 homers and 65 steals on the year.  The LSU pitching staff has a 4.05 ERA with 275 strikeouts and a .240 opponent batting average.

LSU is ranked No. 5 in the SEC in team batting average, and the Tigers are No. 8 in the league in staff ERA.

The Tigers are led at the plate by sophomore rightfielder Raph Rhymes, who is batting .366 with 11 doubles, two homers and 26 RBI. Junior centerfielder Mikie Mahtook is hitting .365 with seven doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 36 RBI, while sophomore shortstop Austin Nola is hitting .318 with 10 doubles, two triples, two homers and 32 RBI.

Vanderbilt is batting .305 with 65 doubles, eight triples, 17 homers and 43 stolen bases.  The Commodores' pitching staff has a 2.35 ERA with 342 strikeouts and a .217 opponent batting average.

Vanderbilt is No. 2 in the SEC in team batting average and the Commodores are first in the league in team ERA.

Vanderbilt is led at the plate by junior infielder Aaron Westlake, who is hitting .380 with 12 doubles, one triple, six homers and 28 RBI. Sophomore infielder Anthony Gomez is batting .354 with five doubles, one triple and 28 RBI, while junior infielder Jason Esposito is hitting .329 with 10 doubles, five homers and 30 RBI.

LSU leads the overall series with Vanderbilt, 51-33, though Vanderbilt has won five of the last nine SEC series meetings, dating back to the 2000 season. Vanderbilt won two of three over LSU last season in Alex Box Stadium before the Tigers posted a 7-5 victory over the Commodores in the second round of the 2010 SEC Tournament. Vanderbilt swept three games from LSU the last time the teams met in Nashville in 2007.

#27 LSU Fighting Tigers (24-14, 4-11 SEC) at #3 Vanderbilt Commodores (32-5, 11-4 SEC)

GAME DATES/TIMES
Friday, April 22 - 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 23 - 2:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 24 - 2 p.m.

STADIUM
Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn.

RANKINGS
LSU - No. 27 by NCBWA
VU - No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 3 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 3 by NCBWA; No. 4 by Baseball America

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/flagship station is WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net/live - live audio and stats
www.espn3.com - live video of Saturday and Sunday games (where available; blackouts apply)

TV
Friday - None
Saturday - SportSouth/Fox Sports Houston
Sunday - ESPN2

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the overall series with Vanderbilt, 51-33, though Vanderbilt has won five of the last nine SEC series meetings, dating back to the 2000 season. Vanderbilt won two of three over LSU last season in Alex Box Stadium before the Tigers posted a 7-5 victory over the Commodores in the second round of the 2010 SEC Tournament. Vanderbilt swept three games from LSU the last time the teams met in Nashville in 2007.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU - Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (5-2, 2.40 ERA, 60.0 IP, 16 BB, 47 SO)
VU - Jr. RHP Sonny Gray (7-2, 1.79 ERA, 60.1 IP, 25 BB, 73 SO)

Game 2
LSU - Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-4, 4.39 ERA, 53.1 IP, 17 BB, 49 SO)
VU - Jr. LHP Grayson Garvin (7-1, 2.44 ERA, 59.0 IP, 11 BB, 53 SO)

Game 3
LSU - Sr. RHP Ben Alsup (5-3, 3.06 ERA, 50.0 IP, 17 BB, 33 SO)
VU - Sr. RHP Taylor Hill (2-0, 3.17 ERA, 48.1 IP, 11 BB, 48 SO)

 

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