LSU's JaCoby Jones applies a tag Wednesday against Northwestern State.
Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Baseball Hosts First SEC Series at 'The Box'
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Published: March 21, 2013, 07:45 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE, La. – Third-ranked LSU (19-2, 2-1 SEC) plays its first SEC home series of the season beginning at 7 p.m. Friday when the Tigers play host to Auburn (15-6, 0-3 SEC) in Alex Box Stadium.

Game 2 of the series is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and Game 3 will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The games can be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). Live video, audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

Sunday’s game will be televised by Cox Sports Television.

LSU has won 13 of its past 14 games, including a 2-1, 13-inning victory Wednesday over Northwestern State. LSU’s 19-2 record represents the Tigers’ best 21-game start since the 1997 club posted a 20-1 mark.

LSU’s game versus Northwestern State Wednesday represented the Tigers’ 20th straight victory over a Louisiana school and their 26th win in a row in a mid-week game, dating back to the 2011 season.

LSU opened SEC play last weekend by winning two of three game at eighth-ranked Mississippi State. Auburn was swept at home last weekend by second-ranked Vanderbilt.

LSU hasn’t won a series over Auburn since 2009, when the Tigers swept three games from the Plainsmen in Alex Box Stadium. Auburn has won two of three games over LSU in each of the last three SEC series meetings.

“(Auburn coach) John Pawlowski has done a tremendous job in building the Auburn program, and they’ve played very well against us over the past few seasons,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “They have very talented players, excellent pitching and defense, and they know how to win games at the end. We know we have a huge challenge in front of us, but we’re excited about the opportunity to play an SEC series in our home environment.”

Mainieri said sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola (2-0, 3.41 ERA) will start Friday’s game for the Tigers, followed by junior right-hander Ryan Eades (4-0, 1.69 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore left-hander Cody Glenn (3-1, 2.25 ERA) on Sunday. Pawlowski will counter with sophomore left-hander Daniel Koger (0-1, 3.49 ERA) on Friday and junior left-hander Michael O’Neal (4-1, 1.99 ERA) on Saturday. Auburn’s Sunday starter has not yet been determined.

LSU is No. 7 in the SEC in team ERA (2.70) and the Tigers’ staff is fourth in strikeouts with 181. Auburn is 10th in the SEC in ERA (3.16) and 14th in strikeouts with 130.

Eades clinched the SEC series victory at No. 8 Mississippi State last Saturday with an outstanding seven-inning outing, defeating an MSU squad that is the SEC’s top hitting team. Eades limited the Bulldogs to just one run on six hits in seven innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.

LSU freshman shortstop Alex Bregman, who delivered the game-winning single in the 13th inning versus Northwestern State on Wednesday, is hitting .382 on the year with seven doubles, two triples and two homers.

LSU senior first baseman Mason Katz was named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week Monday after leading LSU to the series victory at Mississippi State. Katz, a native of Harahan, La.,  batted .462 (6-for-13) to lead LSU to three wins in four games last week, including the SEC series win in Starkville.

Katz is hitting .351 this season with four doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 32 RBI. He leads the SEC in home runs, RBI and total bases (59).

Junior third baseman Christian Ibarra is batting .353 with four doubles, one homer and 14 RBI, while senior leftfielder Raph Rhymes is hitting .346 with six doubles and 15 RBI. Rhymes is the only LSU player to have reached base safely in all 21 games this season.

LSU is hitting .304 as a team (No. 2 in the SEC), and the Tigers are also second in the league in home runs with 18.

Auburn is led at the plate by senior infielder Garrett Cooper, who is hitting .328 with five doubles, one triple, one homer and 16 RBI. Auburn is batting .269 as a team (11th in the SEC) with five home runs and 13 steals in 23 attempts.

Auburn Tigers (15-6, 0-3 SEC) at #3 LSU Fighting Tigers (19-2, 2-1 SEC)

DATES/TIMES
Friday, March 22 – 7 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 23 – 6:30 p.m. CT
Sunday, March 24 – 1 p.m. CT

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

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 3 by USA Today; No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 7 by Baseball America
AU – unranked

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 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
Sunday – Cox Sports Television

PROMOTIONS
2013 LSU Baseball Trading Cards will be given away Saturday as fans enter the stadium.
Expanded hours on Saturday for the LSU Baseball Hall of Fame Room – the facility is open from 2-4 p.m. to all fans, closed from 4-4:30 p.m. and re-opened to all ticket holders at 4:30 p.m.

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads Auburn, 88-70,in a series that began in 1907. LSU has posted 10 wins over Auburn in the last 16 games, including consecutive three-game sweeps in 2008 and 2009. Auburn, however, has recorded 2-1 series victories over LSU in each of the past three seasons. LSU has captured eight of the last 14 series between the clubs dating back to 1999.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU – So. RHP Aaron Nola (2-0, 3.41, 31.2 IP, 5 BB, 36 SO)
AU – So. LHP Daniel Koger (0-1, 3.49 ERA, 28.1 IP, 8 BB, 16 SO)

Game 2
LSU – Jr. RHP Ryan Eades (4-0, 1.69 ERA, 32.0 IP, 7 BB, 36 SO)
AU – Jr. LHP Michael O’Neal (4-1, 1.99 ERA, 31.2 IP, 7 BB, 15 SO)

Game 3
LSU – So. LHP Cody Glenn (3-1, 2.25 ERA, 28.0 IP, 6 BB, 14 SO)
AU – TBA

 

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