LSU's Mason Katz
Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
No. 11 Baseball to Host Michigan, Notre Dame
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Published: March 08, 2012, 12:22 PM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - The 11th-ranked LSU baseball squad seeks to extend its six-game win streak this weekend when the Tigers play host to Michigan and Notre Dame in Alex Box Stadium. LSU will face Michigan at 7 p.m. Friday and at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and the Tigers will take on Notre Dame at 3 p.m. Sunday and at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

The games 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 games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live, and the LSU-Notre Dame game on Sunday will be televised by Cox Sports Television.

In addition to the games involving LSU, Michigan and Notre Dame will also play each other at Noon Saturday and at 10 a.m. Sunday in Alex Box Stadium. Admission is free to both Michigan-Notre Dame contests.

The Tigers have won six straight games, batting .381 as a team during that stretch with 25 doubles, four triples, three homers and 70 runs. LSU blanked Tulane, 5-0, in its most recent outing Tuesday night in New Orleans. Freshman right-hander Aaron Nola fired eight shutout innings, limiting the Green Wave to three hits with six strikeouts.

"I'm very pleased with the way our team is playing right now," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "I thought we really excelled in all phases of the game the other night at Tulane, and I'd like to see us continue to improve this weekend against two outstanding programs. I think our fans can expect very competitive baseball games played at a high level over a four-day period."

Mainieri will send sophomore right-handers Kevin Gausman (3-0, 1.86 ERA) and Ryan Eades (2-1, 1.04 ERA) to the mound against Michigan on Friday and Saturday, and sophomore right-hander Kurt McCune (1-1, 3.29 ERA) will pitch against Notre Dame Sunday. The Tigers' Monday starter versus Notre Dame has yet to be determined.

Michigan coach Rich Maloney will counter with senior right-hander Brandon Sinnery (0-0, 4.15 ERA) versus LSU on Friday and either junior left-hander Bobby Brosnahan (2-1, 3.26 ERA) or junior right-hander Ben Ballantine (1-0, 2.08 ERA) against the Tigers on Saturday.

Notre Dame coach Mike Aoki will start sophomore right-hander Sean Fitzgerald (1-1, 9.82 ERA) against LSU on Sunday and senior southpaw Steve Sabatino versus the Tigers on Monday.

LSU first baseman Mason Katz was named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week Monday after he hit a remarkable .684 (13-for-19) in five games with five doubles, three homers, eight RBI, 12 runs, a 1.421 slugging percentage and a .760 on-base percentage. He was also recognized Monday as the SEC Player of the Week and the Louisiana Sportswriters Association Player of the Week.

Beginning with a walk in his final plate appearance on Feb. 26 versus Appalachian State, Katz reached base safely in 17 consecutive plate appearances, falling just one shy of the NCAA record of 18 straight set by Shaun Larkin of Cal State Northridge in 2002.

Katz is batting .609 (14-for-23) during the Tigers' six-game win streak with five doubles, three homers and eight RBI. On the year, Katz is hitting .477 (21-for-44) with seven doubles, one triple, three homers, 14 RBI and 18 runs.

LSU rightfielder Raph Rhymes is also red-hot, batting .593 (16-for-27) in the last six games with three doubles, 14 RBI and nine runs. Shortstop Austin Nola is hitting .409 (9-for-22) in during the win streak with three doubles, five RBI and eight runs, while third baseman Tyler Hanover is batting .500 (12-for-24) during the six-game span with five doubles, 11 RBI and six runs.

Michigan is led at the plate by sophomore outfielder Michael O'Neill, who is hitting .480 (24-for-50) on the year with eight doubles, five homers and 16 RBI. Freshman outfielder Will Drake is batting .372 with four doubles, three triples and 12 RBI, and sophomore first baseman Brett Winger is hitting .357 with three doubles, one triple, two homers and 10 RBI.

Michigan is batting .268 as a team with 25 doubles, five triples, 10 homers and 28 steals in 36 attempts.

Notre Dame is hitting a cumulative .285 as a team with 15 doubles, four homers and 12 steals in 13 attempts. The Irish are led by junior infielder Frank DeSico (.436, two doubles, three RBI), junior catcher Joe Hudson (.424, three doubles, two homers, nine RBI) and sophomore first baseman Trey Mancini (.424, three doubles, one homer, 12 RBI).

LSU leads the series with Michigan, 3-0. The Tigers swept two games from the Wolverines (by scores of 6-2 and 9-8) in Alex Box Stadium in 1993, and LSU defeated Michigan, 11-9, in 1995 in the Hormel Foods Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

LSU and Notre Dame are tied, 2-2, in four series meetings. The last game between the schools was played on March 12, 1991, when the Irish posted a 6-3 win over the Tigers in the original Alex Box Stadium.

Mainieri was the Notre Dame head coach for 12 seasons (1995-2006) before leaving South Bend, Ind. to come to LSU. Sunday's game will mark Mainieri's first meeting with Notre Dame as LSU's coach. Mainieri led the Fighting Irish to 533 wins, nine NCAA regional appearances and the 2002 College World Series during his Notre Dame tenure.

Michigan Wolverines (6-6) at #11 LSU Fighting Tigers (11-2)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-4) at #11 LSU Fighting Tigers (11-2)

DATES/TIMES
Michigan at LSU: Friday, March 9 - 7 p.m. CT
Michigan at LSU: Saturday, March 10 - 6:30 p.m. CT
Notre Dame at LSU: Sunday, March 11 - 3 p.m. CT
Notre Dame at LSU: Monday, March 12 - 6:30 p.m. CT

OTHER GAMES THIS WEEKEND
Notre Dame vs. Michigan: Saturday, March 10 - 12 p.m. CT
Michigan vs. Notre Dame: Sunday, March 11 - 10 a.m. CT

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

RANKINGS
LSU - No. 11 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 13 by Baseball America; No. 15 by ESPN/USA Today
Michigan - unranked
Notre Dame - 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
Sunday's LSU-Notre Dame game will be televised by Cox Sports Television.

SERIES RECORDS
LSU leads the series with Michigan, 3-0. The Tigers swept two games from the Wolverines (by scores of 6-2 and 9-8) in Alex Box Stadium in 1993, and LSU defeated Michigan, 11-9, in 1995 in the Hormel Foods Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

LSU and Notre Dame are tied, 2-2, in four series meetings. The last game between the schools was played on March 12, 1991, when the Irish posted a 6-3 win over the Tigers in the original Alex Box Stadium. LSU coach Paul Mainieri was the Notre Dame head coach for 12 seasons (1995-2006) before leaving South Bend, Ind. for Baton Rouge. Sunday's game will mark Mainieri's first meeting with Notre Dame as LSU's coach. Mainieri led the Fighting Irish to 533 wins, nine NCAA regional appearances and the 2002 College World Series during his Notre Dame tenure.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday
LSU - So. RHP Kevin Gausman (3-0, 1.86 ERA, 19.1 IP, 2 BB, 20 SO)
UM - Sr. RHP Brandon Sinnery (0-0, 4.15 ERA, 17.1 IP, 4 BB, 10 SO)

Saturday
LSU - So. RHP Ryan Eades (2-1, 1.04 ERA, 17.1 IP, 3 BB, 18 SO)
UM - Jr. LHP Bobby Brosnahan (2-1, 3.26 ERA, 19.1 IP, 4 BB, 11 SO) or Jr. RHP Ben Ballantine (1-0, 2.08 ERA, 21.2 IP, 4 BB, 12 SO)

Sunday
LSU - So. RHP Kurt McCune (1-1, 3.29 ERA, 13.2 IP, 7 BB, 10 SO)
ND- So. RHP Sean Fitzgerald (1-1, 9.82 ERA, 11.0 IP, 2 BB, 8 SO)

Monday
LSU - TBA
ND - Sr. LHP Steve Sabatino (0-0, 9.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 8 BB, 6 SO)

 

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