BATON ROUGE, La. – Top-seeded LSU begins its quest for a return to the College World Series at 1 p.m. Friday when the Tigers face No. 4 seed Southern in the opening game of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
The game will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM.
Live audio and stats of the game may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
All NCAA Baton Rouge Regional games will be televised by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).
The regional also features second-seeded Minnesota and No. 3 seed Baylor, who will meet in Friday’s second game at 6 p.m.
LSU, the 2009 SEC regular-season champion and NCAA Tournament No. 3 national seed, enters Friday’s game riding a five-game win streak. The Tigers dropped a first-round SEC Tournament game last Wednesday to Vanderbilt, but then won five straight to claim their second consecutive tournament crown.
LSU has a 112-44 (.718) all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and owns the highest winning percentage in tournament history. The Tigers are 73-17 (.811) in NCAA Regional games and have captured 17 regional titles.
LSU is 9-8 (.529) in NCAA Super Regional games with four super regional titles. LSU is seeking its 15th College World Series appearance and its second in a row -- the Tigers are 30-19 (.612) at the CWS with five national titles (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000).
LSU coach Paul Mainieri said that sophomore right-hander Austin Ross will start the Tigers’ NCAA Regional game versus Southern at 1 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium.
Ross, a native of Shreveport, La., has a team-high 15 starts this season. He is 5-7 with a 5.15 ERA in 71.2 innings, and he has recorded 19 walks and 62 strikeouts.
“Austin Ross is a very intense, competitive pitcher, and I know he will give us a great effort on Friday,” Mainieri said. “He pitched very well in the regional last season, and he has had some outstanding performances this season, including being named SEC Pitcher of the Week twice during the year.
“Southern has a great club, and we will certainly have to be at our best to win. This time of the year is the most fun, and we’re ready to get started.”
Ross was named SEC Pitcher of the Week after he delivered a superb performance in LSU’s March 29 win over Ole Miss, limiting the Rebels to one run on two hits in eight innings with one walk and five strikeouts. Ross fired 89 pitches in the outing, and he allowed just one Ole Miss runner to advance beyond first base.
Ross also earned the SEC Pitcher of the Week honor on March 2 after working six shutout innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts against Central Florida. Ross fired 81 pitches during his outing, and he did not allow a UCF runner to advance beyond first base.
Ross pitched four shutout innings to earn a save in LSU’s NCAA Baton Rouge Regional win last season over Texas Southern, allowing three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Friday’s game will mark Ross’ second career appearance against Southern. He fired seven shutout innings in relief on April 1, 2008 to lead LSU to an 8-3 victory over the Jaguars at Lee-Hines Field. Ross earned his first career collegiate victory as he entered the game in the second inning and limited the Jaguars to no runs on four hits in seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Southern coach Roger Cador has not yet named his starting pitcher for Friday’s game.
The Tigers enter the regional hitting .313 as a team with 89 homers and 103 stolen bases. Freshman centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, the MVP of the SEC Tournament, is batting .336 on the year with six doubles, three triples, six homers and 29 RBI.
First-team all-SEC designated hitter Blake Dean is batting .327 with 15 doubles, 14 homers and 62 RBI, and second-team all-conference outfielder Ryan Schimpf is hitting .324 with 13 doubles, one triple, 17 homers and 56 RBI.
Southern, which captured the SWAC Tournament title last weekend, is hitting .313 as a team with 56 homers and 39 stolen bases.
The Jaguars are led by outfielder Brad McDavid, who is hitting .358 with 11 doubles, eight homers and 50 RBI. Outfielder James Armstrong is batting .343 with 11 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 39 RBI, and outfielder Victor Franklin is hitting .331 with 10 doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 45 RBI.
LSU leads the all-time series with Southern, 44-2, as the squads first met in 1970. LSU defeated the Jaguars earlier this season, posting an 11-5 victory on Feb. 25 in Alex Box Stadium. Southern's two wins in the series versus LSU both came in the original Alex Box Stadium - an 11-6 victory in 2001 and a 9-5 triumph in 2005.
LSU is 2-0 all-time against Southern in the NCAA Tournament -- the Tigers defeated the Jaguars, 6-3, in the 1999 Baton Rouge Regional, and LSU recorded a 5-4 win over SU in the 2002 Baton Rouge Regional.
Southern Jaguars (30-15) vs. LSU Fighting Tigers (46-16)
Friday, May 29 – 1 p.m. CT
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (9,200)
LSU - No. 2 by Baseball America; No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 2 by USA Today/ESPN
Southern -- unranked
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
www.LSUsports.net – live audio and stats
Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge)
LSU leads, 44-2 (teams first met in 1970)
LSU – LSU – So. RHP Austin Ross (5-7, 5.15 ERA, 71.2 IP, 19 BB, 62 SO)
SU – TBA