LSU's Kevin Gausman gets the Friday night start
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Baseball to Host Tennessee in Final Home Series
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Published: May 12, 2011, 01:33 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - LSU (30-19, 8-16 SEC) plays host to Tennessee (23-24, 5-19) SEC) in a three-game conference series that begins at 7 p.m. CT Friday in Alex Box Stadium.

Game 2 starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, and Game 3 will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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

Live video of the games on Friday and Sunday may be accessed at www.LSUsports.net, and live video may be viewed on Saturday at www.ESPN3.com.

Friday's game will be televised by Cox Sports Television, Saturday's game will be carried by Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast, and Sunday's game is a Jumbo Sports Network production that can be seen on Cox Cable Channel 4 in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette.

LSU will honor on Saturday College Baseball Hall of Fame member Eddy Furniss, who was inducted into the hall last summer. Furniss, who played first base at LSU from 1995-98, will be recognized on the field prior to the 3 p.m. first pitch versus Tennessee.

Sunday is Senior Day in Alex Box Stadium, as senior pitchers Ben Alsup and Daniel Bradshaw will be recognized prior to the 1 p.m. first pitch. Also scheduled to be recognized prior to Sunday's game is former LSU pitcher Butch Mixon, who established a school record on April 28, 1959 when he recorded 24 strikeouts against Southwestern Louisiana.

LSU enters the series four games behind first-place Alabama and Arkansas in the SEC Western Division. With six league games remaining, the Tigers are three games behind in the race to qualify for the eight-team SEC Tournament.

"We know how crucial this weekend is to our chances of reaching the postseason," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Tennessee is a very capable team with a lot of good players, and we'll have to get the job done against them. There are still very significant goals that we can attain in the coming weeks."

Mainieri said freshman right-hander Kevin Gausman will start on the mound Friday for the Tigers, followed by freshman right-hander Kurt McCune on Saturday and freshman right-hander Ryan Eades on Sunday. LSU will start three freshmen pitchers in an SEC series for the first time in school history.

Tennessee coach Todd Raleigh will counter with junior left-hander Steven Gruver on Friday and sophomore right-hander Nick Blount on Saturday. Tennessee's starter on Sunday has not yet been determined.

The Tigers are batting .291 as a team with 81 doubles, 10 triples, 30 homers and 77 steals on the year. The LSU pitching staff has a 4.44 ERA with 343 strikeouts and a .256 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 designated hitter Raph Rhymes, who is batting .348 with 12 doubles, two homers and 36 RBI. Junior centerfielder Mikie Mahtook is hitting .347 with 11 doubles, three triples, 12 homers and 44 RBI while freshman second baseman JaCoby Jones is batting .327 with seven doubles, one triple, three homers and 27 RBI.

Jones enjoyed a productive week at the plate last week, batting .538 (7-for-13) in four games with one RBI, one stolen base and two runs scored. Sophomore first baseman/outfielder Mason Katz hit .375 (6-for-16) on the week with one double, two runs score and four RBI, while Rhymes batted .385 (5-for-13) with two RBI and one run scored.

Mahtook has increased his career stolen base total to 57, moving him into sixth place on the all-time LSU steals list

Eades posted a 1.12 ERA in two appearances last week, allowing one run on five hits in eight innings with four walks and four strikeout. Eades defeated Tulane in a starting role last Tuesday, limiting the Green Wave to one run on two hits in six innings with four walks and one strikeout. Gausman fired a career-high 10 strikeouts against Alabama on Saturday, limiting the Crimson Tide to four earned runs on 10 hits in seven innings, walking one Alabama hitter.

Junior right-hander Matty Ott has fired 12 innings of scoreless relief for the Tigers over his past 10 appearances, limiting opponents to seven hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. Ott, who has six saves this season, is LSU's all-time saves leader with 33 in his career.

Tennessee is batting .281 with 82 doubles, eight triples, 25 homers and 77 stolen bases. The Volunteer pitching staff has a 5.04 ERA with 311 strikeouts and a .286 opponent batting average.

Tennessee is No. 8 in the SEC in team batting average and the Vols are 11th in the league in team ERA.

Tennessee is led at the plate by senior second baseman Khayyan Norfork, who is hitting .360 with 14 doubles, two triples, four homers and 37 RBI. Junior shortstop Zach Osborne is batting .340 with nine doubles, one triple, one homer and 19 RBI, while senior third baseman Matt Duffy is hitting .327 with 13 doubles, one triple, six homers and 37 RBI.

LSU leads the overall series with Tennessee, 47-21, including a three-game sweep over the Vols last season in Knoxville.

UT, however, has a 7-5 mark against LSU over the past four seasons. The Vols have won three of the last four series over the Tigers, including a 2-1 series victory in 2009 in Baton Rouge.

Tennessee Volunteers (23-24, 5-19 SEC) at LSU Fighting Tigers (30-19, 8-16 SEC)

GAME DATES/TIMES
Friday, May 13 - 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 14 - 3 p.m.; Saturday, May 15 - 1 p.m.

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

FURNISS, SENIORS, MIXON TO BE RECOGNIZED THIS WEEKEND
LSU will honor on Saturday College Baseball Hall of Fame member Eddy Furniss, who was inducted into the hall last summer. Furniss, who played first base at LSU from 1995-98, will be recognized in Alex Box Stadium prior to the 3 p.m. first pitch versus Tennessee. Sunday is Senior Day in Alex Box Stadium, as senior pitchers Ben Alsup and Daniel Bradshaw will be recognized prior to the 1 p.m. first pitch. Also scheduled to be recognized prior to Sunday's game is former LSU pitcher Butch Mixon, who established a school record on April 28, 1959 when he recorded 24 strikeouts against Southwestern Louisiana.

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

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net - live audio and stats for all three games; live video on Friday and Sunday
www.ESPN3.com - live video on Saturday

TV
Friday - Cox Sports Television
Saturday - Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast
Sunday - Jumbo Sports Network (Cox 4 in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette)

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the overall series with Tennessee, 47-21, including a three-game sweep over the Vols last season in Knoxville.
UT, however, has a 7-5 mark against LSU over the past four seasons. The Vols have won three of the last four series over the Tigers, including a 2-1 series victory in 2009 in Baton Rouge.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU - Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.19 ERA, 73.0 IP, 22 BB, 72 SO)
UT - Jr. LHP Steven Gruver (4-6, 3.50 ERA, 82.1 IP, 25 BB, 76 SO)

Game 2
LSU - Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (6-3, 3.51 ERA, 77.0 IP, 21 BB, 59 SO)
UT - So. RHP Nick Blount (1-3, 5.79 ERA, 37.1 IP, 12 BB, 16 SO)

Game 3
LSU - Fr. RHP Ryan Eades (3-1, 4.13 ERA, 32.2 IP, 16 BB, 25 SO)
UT - TBA

 

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