Freshman centerfielder Zach Watson is riding a 12-game hitting streak.
Bridgette Hogan

Baseball to Open Series at Kentucky with Friday DH

Bill Franques
Bill Franques
Communications Sr. Associate

This article has adjusted to reflect the schedule change announce Friday afternoon.

BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 8 LSU (26-12, 9-6 SEC) opens a three-game SEC series at No. 11 Kentucky (26-12, 10-5 SEC) with a nine-inning doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. CT Friday in Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Due to anticipated inclement weather on Saturday, game 1 was moved up and game 2 will follow one hour following the end of game 1.

First pitch for Game 3 remains scheduled for 12 p.m. CT Sunday.

The games will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge), and the radio broadcast may be heard at www.LSUsports.net/live

The games may be viewed online in SEC Network +, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.

LSU has won six of its last seven games, including a 10-4 win over Lamar Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The Tigers are just two games out of first place in the SEC standings with a 9-6 conference mark. Arkansas tops the SEC standings with an 11-4 conference record.

Kentucky is in first place in the SEC Eastern Division with a 10-5 mark, and the Wildcats are only one game behind Arkansas in the overall SEC race.

This weekend’s series marks LSU’s first trip to Lexington since 2012, when UK won two of three games over the Tigers. LSU has lost two in a row and three of its last four SEC series in Lexington – Kentucky won two of three over the Tigers in 2006, swept LSU in 2010 and won two of three in 2012. LSU’s last series win in Lexington came in 2008, when the Tigers swept the Wildcats.

LSU has won 19 of its last 24 SEC road series, a stretch that began near the end of the 2012 season.

“Kentucky has an outstanding team, and they’re leading the SEC East for a reason” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us this weekend. It’s a tough place to play, a very unique environment. We’ve had success there in the past, but not a lot. We’re just going to take the games one at a time, let it rip, and hopefully we’ll play well over there.”

LSU is No.3 in the SEC in team batting average at .296, and the Tigers’ hitters have the fewest number of strikeouts in the league (225). LSU will face a Kentucky pitching staff that is No. 8 in the league with a 3.56 ERA and has allowed an SEC-high 38 home runs.

The Tigers’ pitching staff is No. 6 in the SEC in team ERA at 3.51, and it will face a potent Kentucky lineup that leads the league in batting average (.308), runs scored (293), slugging percentage (.478) and doubles (91).

LSU is scheduled to start junior right-hander Alex Lange (4-4, 3.27 ERA) in Friday’s opener against the Wildcats. Lange defeated Ole Miss last Thursday, limiting the Rebels to no runs on three hits in seven innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Lange, who threw 92 pitches in the outing, had a perfect game through the first four innings of the contest. He did not allow an Ole Miss player to advance beyond second base, and he recorded his 24th career win in three seasons at LSU

LSU is led at the plate by junior rightfielder Greg Deichmann, who is batting .340 with 12 homers and 45 RBI. Deichmann is No. 2 in the SEC this season in homers and in RBI (45), and he’s also No. 2 in the league in slugging percentage (.653) and No. 3 in total bases (94).

Freshman centerfielder Zach Watson, who is hitting .333 on the year, enters Friday’s game versus Kentucky riding a 12-game hitting streak - Watson is batting .364 (16-for-44) during the streak with two doubles, one triple, one homer, four RBI, six runs and three stolen bases.

LSU senior second baseman Cole Freeman is hitting .333, and he leads the Tigers in on-base percentage (.444), which ranks No. 10 in the SEC. Freeman is also No. 4 in the SEC in stolen bases with 11.

Kentucky junior first baseman Evan White is hitting a team-best .383 with five homers and 18 RBI, while sophomore outfielder Tristan Pompey is batting .365 with 12 doubles, six homers and 27 RBI. Junior infielder Riley Mahan shares the team lead in home runs (6), and he paces the Wildcats in RBI with 36 and in doubles with 15.

#8 LSU Fighting Tigers (26-12, 9-6 SEC) at #11 Kentucky Wildcats (26-12, 10-5 SEC)

DATES/TIMES
Friday, April 21 – 1 p.m. CT (originally scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday)
Friday, April 21 – ~1 hour after game 1 (originally scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday)
Sunday, April 23 – 12 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky.

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 8 USA Today; No. 9 Baseball America; No. 12 Collegiate Baseball
UK – No. 11 Collegiate Baseball; No. 13 USA Today; No. 14 Baseball America

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network; in Baton Rouge on WDGL 98.1 FM
Radio broadcast and live stats for all LSU baseball games are available at www.LSUsports.net

ONLINE
SEC Network +, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the all-time series with Kentucky, 47-27-1, and the Tigers have won 11 of their last 16 SEC series with the Wildcats; however, UK won two of three games over LSU in Baton Rouge in 2015 the last time the schools met in an SEC series. This weekend’s series marks LSU’s first trip to Lexington since 2012, when UK won two of three games over the Tigers. LSU has lost two in a row and three of its last four SEC series in Lexington – UK won two of three over the Tigers in 2006, swept LSU in 2010 and won two of three in 2012. LSU’s last series win in Lexington came in 2008, when the Tigers swept the Wildcats.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU – Jr. RHP Alex Lange (4-4, 3.27 ERA, 52.1 IP, 17 BB, 69 SO)
UK – So. RHP Sean Hjelle (5-2, 3.97 ERA, 56.2 IP, 11 BB, 54 SO)

Game 2
LSU – Sr. LHP Jared Poche' (6-2, 2.67 ERA, 57.1 IP, 13 BB, 42 SO)
UK – Jr. LHP Zach Logue (5-3, 4.04 ERA, 55.2 IP, 11 BB, 52 SO)

Game 3
LSU – Fr. RHP Eric Walker (5-0, 2.48 ERA, 54.1 IP, 12 BB, 52 SO)
UK – So. RHP Justin Lewis (5-2, 3.14 ERA, 51.2 IP, 13 BB, 39 SO)

 

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