Only two more weekend series in the baseball regular season at Alex Box.
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Baseball Returns Home to Face Vanderbilt
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Published: May 06, 2010, 06:11 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE -- No. 15 LSU (33-13, 11-10 SEC) plays host to No. 18 Vanderbilt (33-12, 10-9 SEC) this weekend in a three-game series in Alex Box Stadium.

Game 1 starts at 7 p.m. CT Friday, Game 2 at 6 p.m. CT Saturday, and Game 3 at 1 p.m. CT Sunday.

The games will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video (Friday and Sunday), audio and stats may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. Live video of Saturday's game may be viewed at www.ESPN3.com.

Saturday's game will be televised by Cox Sports Television and Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast. Sunday's game will be televised by Cox Sports Television.

LSU is ranked No. 15 in this week's USA Today/ESPN poll, No. 17 by the NCBWA and No. 24 by Baseball America. The Tigers are in fourth place in the SEC West, three games behind division leaders Arkansas and Ole Miss (each 14-7).

Vanderbilt is ranked No. 18 by USA Today/ESPN and No. 19 by the NCBWA. The Commodores are in third place in the SEC East, five games behind first-place South Carolina (16-5), which is also the SEC overall standings leader.

LSU defeated Southeastern Louisiana, 9-5, Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium to end a seven-game losing skid.

"We look at the Southeastern game as the first game in a new season," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "All of the stats and numbers that were accumulated before this week don't mean anything now. All that matters is how we perform over these final 10 regular-season games. Vanderbilt is a tremendous all-around ball club. They lead the SEC in ERA with some very talented arms, and they're also among the top offensive teams in the league. We're looking forward to the challenge, and we're glad to be playing at home in front of the best fans in the nation."

Mainieri said junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (2-2, 7.01 ERA) will start Friday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin will counter with sophomore right-hander Sonny Gray (6-4, 2.22 ERA). Gray is No. 4 in the SEC in ERA and No. 3 in the league in strikeouts (72) and opponent batting average (.205).

LSU is No. 2 in the SEC with a .323 team batting average, and the Tigers have collected 56 homers and 69 stolen bases.

LSU sophomore rightfielder Mikie Mahtook enters Friday's game riding a 14-game hitting streak, the longest by a Tiger this season. He batted .500 (9-for-18) in the Tigers' four games last week with two doubles, one homer, five RBI and five runs. He was 7-for-14 in LSU's series at Florida with one double, one homer, three RBI and three runs.

Mahtook leads the SEC in doubles this season with 18, and he is No. 2 in the league in steals (22), total bases (125) and slugging percentage (.740).

LSU senior first baseman Blake Dean has 309 career hits and is No. 4 on the all-time LSU hits list. Dean has 246 career RBI, which is No. 3 on the school career RBI list; he is also No. 4 in career homers (53), No. 3 in career doubles (63) and No. 7 in career runs (206).

Catcher Micah Gibbs is No. 4 in the SEC this season with a .404 batting average. Gibbs, a 2010 preseason All-America selection, has eight doubles, three triples, five homers, 42 RBI and seven steals on the year.

Reliever Paul Bertuccini has made 100 career appearances for LSU, and he is just eight shy of tying the school record for appearances set by Mark LaRosa (108 appearances from 1988-91).

Vanderbilt is fourth in the SEC with .317 team batting average, and the Commodores have 36 homers and 61 stolen bases. Sophomore infielder Jason Esposito is batting .339 with eight homers, 52 RBI and 21 stolen bases.

Sophomore first baseman Aaron Westlake is hitting .307 for Vanderbilt with seven homers and 37 RBI, while senior catcher Andrew Giobbi has four homers and 37 RBI.

LSU leads the overall series with Vanderbilt, 49-31, and the teams split a pair of SEC Tournament meetings last season. The Tigers defeated the Commodores, 6-2, in the 2009 SEC Tournament championship game after Vanderbilt beat LSU, 4-1, in a first-round matchup.

This weekend's series marks the first regular-season meeting between the teams since 2007, when Vanderbilt swept three games from LSU in Nashville.

LSU and Vanderbilt have split their last eight SEC series meetings, dating back to the 2000 season. LSU posted series victories over the Commodores in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005, while Vanderbilt recorded series wins over the Tigers in 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007.

#18 Vanderbilt Commodores (33-12, 10-9 SEC) at #15 LSU Fighting Tigers (33-13, 11-10 SEC)

GAME DATES/TIMES 
Friday, May 7 - 7 p.m. CT; Saturday, May 8 - 6 p.m. CT; Sunday, May 9 - 1 p.m. CT

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

RANKINGS
LSU - No. 15 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 17 by NCBWA; No. 24 by Baseball America
VU - No. 18 by USA Today/ESPN; No. 19 by NCBWA
 
RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM

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

TV
Friday - No TV
Saturday -- Cox Sports Television and Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast
Sunday - Cox Sports Television

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads, 49-31, in a series that began in 1954.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU - Jr. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (2-2, 7.01 ERA, 25.2 IP, 12 BB, 26 SO)
VU - So. RHP Sonny Gray (6-4, 2.22 ERA, 69.0 IP, 31 BB, 72 SO)

Game 2
LSU - TBA
VU - So. RHP Jack Armstrong (5-1, 3.83 ERA, 51.2 IP, 22 BB, 33 SO)

Game3
LSU - TBA
VU - Jr. RHP Taylor Hill (4-3, 3.38, 72.0 IP, 17 BB, 50 SO)

 

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