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LSU's Anthony Ranaudo
Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
Ranaudo Set to Start Opener Against Georgia
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Published: April 01, 2010, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: April 02, 2010, 12:02 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - Fourth-ranked LSU (21-3, 5-1) resumes Southeastern Conference action at 7:30 p.m. CT Friday as the Tigers open a three-game series versus Georgia (9-15, 1-5) in Alex Box Stadium.

The games will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

Friday's game will be televised by ESPNU, Saturday's game will be televised by Fox Sports Net and Sunday's contest can be seen on both Comcast Sports Southeast and Cox Sports Television.

The games on Saturday and Sunday may also be viewed online at www.ESPN3.com.

LSU will honor one of college baseball's coaching legends on Saturday during "Skip Bertman Day" in Alex Box Stadium. Prior to the game, Bertman's jersey No. 15, which was retired by the university in 2001 and displayed in the original Alex Box Stadium, will be unveiled on the grandstand fascia of the new Alex Box Stadium.

LSU is ranked No. 4 this week in the Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA and USA Today/ESPN polls, and No. 5 in the Baseball America poll released Monday. The Tigers have appeared in the Top 10 of at least one college baseball poll for 30 consecutive weeks, a streak that began on May 19, 2008.

LSU has won seven consecutive games, including a 13-7 victory over Binghamton Wednesday night in Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers are tied for first place in the overall SEC race with South Carolina, and LSU has a one-game lead in the Western Division over Auburn, Ole Miss and Arkansas.

LSU has won 15 of its last 16 SEC regular-season series, dating back to April 18-20, 2008, when the Tigers dropped a league series to Georgia in the original Alex Box Stadium.

Since Georgia's last visit to Baton Rouge, LSU has enjoyed a remarkable run that began with a win at Tulane on April 22, 2008. The Tigers are 103-23 (.817) from then until now -- including a 48-12 (.800) mark against SEC teams - with one national championship, two College World Series appearances, one SEC regular-season title and two SEC tournament crowns.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will start Friday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Ranaudo, who missed four weekend starts due to a stress reaction in his throwing elbow, returned to action last Saturday at Tennessee, firing two perfect innings (23 pitches) in a starting role.

"We were very pleased with Anthony's outing last weekend, and we will continue to monitor his progress carefully," Mainieri said. "He's feeling good, and we'll see how the game unfolds in order to determine how long he can pitch."

Georgia coach David Perno will counter on Friday with junior right-hander Justin Grimm (2-2, 4.71 ERA).

UGA is in fifth place in the SEC Eastern Division with a 1-5 mark after the Bulldogs dropped two of three games at Mississippi State last weekend.

"Don't be deceived by Georgia's record," Mainieri said. "Every year, they are one of the most talented teams in our league, and I know they will come here with a sense of urgency. They've had to battle some injuries early in the year, and they will bring in a very formidable lineup. They also have at least nine pitchers with great arms."

LSU enters the series batting .319 as a team (third in the SEC) with a 4.42 ERA (eighth in the league). The Tigers have launched 28 homers, including 10 by DH Matt Gaudet, who is tied for the SEC lead with Andy Wilkins of Arkansas.

Centerfielder Leon Landy leads LSU in hitting, batting .369 with three doubles, four triples, three homers and 24 RBI. Catcher Micah Gibbs is batting .367 with four doubles, two triples, four homers and 26 RBI while first baseman Blake Dean is hitting .365 with seven doubles, four homers and 30 RBI.

LSU second baseman Tyler Hanover is the Tigers' leading hitter in SEC play, batting .524 (11-for-21) in six games with two doubles, one triple, seven RBI, six runs and a .655 on-base percentage.

Sophomore right-hander Matty Ott earned his ninth save of the season in Game 2 Saturday at Tennessee, increasing his career total to 25. Ott is n second place on the all-time LSU saves list, trailing only Rick Greene, who had 29 saves for the Tigers from 1990-92. Ott pitched in all four of LSU's games last weeks, recording two saves while working 3.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

Georgia is eighth in the SEC with a .296 team batting average, and the Bulldogs are last in the league with a 8.11 ERA.

UGA is led at the plate by outfielder Zach Cone, who is hitting .381 with three doubles, three triples, four homers and 24 RBI. First baseman/outfielder Robert Shipman is batting .362 with one double, three homers and 14 RBI while outfielder/catcher Peter Verdin is hitting .316 with eight doubles, six homers and 22 RBI.

LSU leads the series with Georgia, 55-18-2, and the Tigers won four of the five matchups between the clubs last season. LSU took two of three games during the regular season in Athens and the Tigers defeated UGA twice in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

LSU has won five of its last six SEC regular-season series versus UGA. The Bulldogs' lone series victory in that span came in 2008 in Baton Rouge when Georgia won the first two games and Game 3 ended in a 10-10 tie. The game had to be halted after 12 innings to allow the Bulldogs time to catch their flight home to Athens.

Georgia Bulldogs (9-15, 1-5) at # 4 LSU Fighting Tigers (21-3, 5-1)

DATES/TIMES 
Friday, April 1 - 7:30 p.m. CT; Saturday, April 2 - 4 p.m. CT; Sunday, April 3 - Noon CT

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (10,150)

RANKINGS
LSU - No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 4 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 4 by NCBWA; No. 5 by Baseball America
UGA - unranked
 
RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net - live audio and stats
the games on Saturday and Sunday may be viewed live at www.ESPN3.com
 
TV
Friday - ESPNU
Saturday - Fox Sports Net
Sunday - Comcast Sports Southeast and Cox Sports Television

SPECIAL EVENTS
LSU will honor one of college baseball's coaching legends on Saturday during "Skip Bertman Day" in Alex Box Stadium. Prior to the game, Bertman's jersey No. 15, which was retired by the university in 2001 and displayed in the original Alex Box Stadium, will be unveiled on the grandstand fascia of the new Alex Box Stadium.

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads, 55-18-2
The Tigers won four of the five matchups between the clubs last season - LSU took two of three games during the regular season in Athens and the Tigers defeated UGA twice in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU - Jr. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 2 BB, 7 SO)
UGA - Jr. RHP Justin Grimm (2-2, 4.71 ERA, 28.2 IP, 13 BB, 34 SO)

Game 2
LSU - Jr. RHP Austin Ross (3-1, 4.54 ERA, 33.2 IP, 9 BB, 37 SO)
UGA - Sr. RHP Jeff Walters (0-2, 9.36 ERA, 25.0 IP, 16 BB, 27 SO)

Game 3
LSU - TBA
UGA - So. RHP Michael Palazzone (3-2, 7.48 ERA, 27.2 IP, 10 BB, 20 SO)

 

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