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LSU's Kurt McCune
Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
No. 21 Baseball Plays Host to Auburn This Weekend
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Published: April 14, 2011, 10:23 PM (CT)
Updated: April 15, 2011, 02:43 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - No. 21 LSU (22-12, 3-9 SEC) plays host this weekend to Auburn (18-14, 5-7 SEC) in a three-game conference series that begins at 7 p.m. CT Friday.

Game 2 starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and Game 3 will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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

"Auburn is the defending SEC West champion, and they have a lot of players in their lineup that can really hit, " said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Their hitters will certainly provide a great challenge to our pitchers, and we'll count on our hitters to match Auburn's firepower. It's a very important series in which we will need to play at our best."

Mainieri said freshman right-hander Kurt McCune will start on the mound Friday for the Tigers, followed by freshman right-hander Kevin Gausman on Saturday and senior right-hander Ben Alsup on Sunday.

McCune, a product of Norco, La., worked 7.2 innings last Friday at Arkansas, allowing just one earned run on four hits with one walk and a career-high nine strikeouts. McCune is 5-1 this season with a 1.80 ERA in 55 innings, and opponents are hitting just .176 against him.

Gausman, a product of Centennial, Colo., followed McCune's outing with an excellent effort of his own against the Razorbacks, pitching eight shutout innings on Saturday night and limiting Arkansas to only five hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

Auburn coach Jonn Pawlowksi will counter with junior right-hander Zach Blatt on Friday and either junior right-hander Jon Luke Jacobs or and junior left-hander Cory Luckie on Saturday. Auburn's Game 3 starter has yet to be determined.

The Tigers are batting .295 as a team with 56 doubles, nine triples, 24 homers and 62 steals on the year.  The LSU pitching staff has a 3.99 ERA with 244 strikeouts and a .238 opponent batting average.

LSU is ranked No. 4 in the SEC in team batting average, and the Tigers are No. 8 in the league in staff ERA.

The Tigers are led at the plate by junior centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, who is hitting .381 with seven doubles, three triples, 10 homers and 34 RBI. Sophomore designated hitter Raph Rhymes is batting .354 with nine doubles, two homers and 23 RBI while sophomore shortstop Austin Nola is hitting .333 with nine doubles, two triples, two homers and 30 RBI.

Auburn is batting .310 with 75 doubles, four triples, 23 homers and 21 stolen bases.  The Tigers' pitching staff has a 5.06 ERA with 240 strikeouts and a .305 opponent batting average.

Auburn is No. 2 in the SEC in team batting average and the Tigers are 12th in the league in team ERA.

Auburn is led at the plate by junior infielder Casey McElroy, who is hitting .381 with 11 doubles, five homers and 34 RBI. Junior infielder Dan Gamache is batting .339 with 10 doubles, two triples, two homers and 22 RBI, while senior catcher Tony Caldwell is hitting .313 with five doubles, six homers and 22 RBI.

LSU leads Auburn, 86-66, in the all-time series between the schools. LSU has posted eight wins over Auburn in the last 10 games, including consecutive three-game sweeps in 2008 and 2009. Auburn, however, posted a 2-1 series victory over LSU last season in Plainsman Park. LSU has captured eight of the last 12 series between the clubs dating back to 1999.

Auburn Tigers (18-14, 5-7 SEC) at #21 LSU Fighting Tigers (22-12, 3-9 SEC)

GAME DATES/TIMES
Friday, April 15 - 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 16 - 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 17 - 1 p.m.

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

RANKINGS
LSU -No. 21 by NCBWA; No. 24 by USA Today/ESPN
AU - unranked

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates/flagship station is WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge

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

TV
None

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads Auburn, 86-66, in the all-time series between the schools. LSU has posted eight wins over Auburn in the last 10 games, including consecutive three-game sweeps in 2008 and 2009. Auburn, however, posted a 2-1 series victory over LSU last season in Plainsman Park. LSU has captured eight of the last 12 series between the clubs dating back to 1999. 

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Game 1
LSU - Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (5-1, 1.80 ERA, 55.0 IP, 13 BB, 44 SO)
AU - Jr. RHP Zach Blatt (1-2, 6.53 ERA, 20.2 IP, 11 BB, 19 SO)

Game 2
LSU - Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.60 ERA, 45.0 IP, 15 BB, 41 SO)
AU - Jr. LHP Cory Luckie (1-1, 5.20 ERA, 36.1 IP, 8 BB, 39 SO) or Jr. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (1-2, 2.74 ERA, 23.0 IP, 3 BB, 25 SO)

Game 3
LSU - Sr. RHP Ben Alsup (4-3, 3.27 ERA, 41.1 IP, 16 BB, 27 SO)
AU - TBA

 

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