Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Baseball to Face Demons on Wednesday
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Published: March 13, 2012, 12:26 PM (CT)
Updated: March 13, 2012, 01:43 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE -- No. 10 LSU continues its eight-game homestand at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when the Tigers play host to Northwestern State in Alex Box Stadium.

The game will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, with Baton Rouge affiliate WDGL 98.1 FM serving as the flagship station. Live video, audio and stats of the game may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.

LSU has won eight of its last nine games, including three of four last week. The Tigers' eight-game win streak ended with a 7-1 loss to Notre Dame on Sunday. The Tigers were scheduled to meet the Irish again on Monday night, but the game was cancelled due to severe storms in Baton Rouge.

"This is a big week for us and our players are eager to get on the field again," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We face an outstanding Northwestern State program that beat us last year before we start SEC play this weekend against Mississippi State. Our focus will be on making sure we're ready to start the most important part of our schedule."

Mainieri said the freshman right-hander Aaron Nola will start Wednesday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Nola, however, may only pitch on a limited basis as the Tigers hope to give several pitchers some work heading into the Mississippi State series, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium.

Nola delivered a dominant performance last Tuesday in just his second career collegiate start, blanking Tulane through eight innings of work in a 5-0 victory in New Orleans. Nola allowed just three hits while recording no walks and a career-best six strikeouts. He fired 78 pitches in the outing; remarkably, 62 of the 78 pitches (79 percent) were strikes.

Northwestern State coach J.P. Davis will counter with junior right-hander AJ Funk (0-0, 6.00 ERA), who will make his first start of the season. The Demons opened Southland Conference action last week by winning two of three games over McNeese State.

The Tigers posted consecutive shutout wins over Tulane (March 6) and Michigan (March 9), marking the second time this season the LSU pitching staff has fired back-to-back shutouts. The Tigers recorded 23 consecutive scoreless innings before the streak was broken in the third inning versus Michigan on Saturday night. LSU also recorded 21 straight scoreless innings over a four-game stretch (Feb. 17-22) at the beginning of the season.

The LSU pitching staff also worked three full games last week without issuing a walk - at Tulane Tuesday and at home versus Michigan on Friday and Saturday. Beginning with the seventh inning on March 4 versus Dartmouth and ending in the seventh inning Sunday against Notre Dame, LSU pitchers worked 36 consecutive frames without issuing a base-on-balls.

Junior rightfielder Raph Rhymes led the Tigers at the plate last week, batting .471 (8-for-17) in four games with two doubles, four RBI and five runs. Senior third baseman Tyler Hanover batted .417 (5-for-12) last week with three RBI and three runs while sophomore catcher Ty Ross hit .400 (6-for-15) with one double, three RBI and one run scored. Senior designated hitter Grant Dozar collected three doubles during the week and drove in a team-best five runs.

Northwestern State is led at the plate by junior infielder Will Watson, who is batting .317 with three doubles, one triple and six RBI. Senior outfielder Jordan Buckley is hitting .316 with two doubles, one triple and six RBI, and senior infielder Nick Hinojos is batting .310 with two doubles, two homers and 11 RBI.

The Demons are batting .253 as a team with 19 doubles, three triples, five homers and 31 steals in 36 attempts.

LSU leads the series with Northwestern State, 50-11, though the Demons posted a 5-2 win over the Tigers last season (April 12) in Alex Box Stadium. NSU's victory ended the Tigers' 12-game win streak in the series.

Northwestern State Demons (5-10) at #10 LSU Fighting Tigers (13-3)

DATE/TIME 
Wednesday, March 14 - 6:30 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (10,326)

RANKINGS
LSU - No. 10 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 13 by Baseball America; No. 16 by ESPN/USA Today
Northwestern State - unranked
 
RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
Pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to first pitch

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net - live video, audio and stats

TV
None

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the series with Northwestern State, 50-11, though the Demons posted a 5-2 win over the Tigers last season (April 12) in Alex Box Stadium. NSU's victory ended the Tigers' 12-game win streak in the series.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU - Fr. RHP Aaron Nola (2-0, 2.00 ERA, 18.0 IP, 1 BB, 20 SO)
NSU - Jr. RHP AJ Funk (0-0, 6.00 ERA, 6.0 IP, 6 BB, 6 SO)

 

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