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Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
No. 1 Baseball to Clash with Rice in Super Regional
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Published: June 04, 2009, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:38 AM (CT)
by Bill Franques, Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE -- Top-ranked LSU continues its quest for a return to the College World Series at 6 p.m. Friday when the Tigers face sixth-ranked Rice in the opening game of the NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional.

The best 2-of-3 series continues at 4 p.m. Saturday and concludes (if necessary) at 6 p.m. Sunday. The Super Regional winner advances to the CWS in Omaha, Neb.

The series 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 games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised by ESPN. Sunday’s game (if necessary) will be televised by ESPN2.

LSU, the NCAA Tournament No. 3 national seed, enters Friday’s game riding an eight-game win streak. The Tigers dropped a first-round SEC Tournament game on May 20 to Vanderbilt, but then won five straight to claim their second consecutive tournament crown. LSU last week defeated Southern, Baylor and Minnesota to claim the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional title.

LSU has a 115-44 (.723) all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and owns the highest winning percentage in tournament history.

LSU is 9-8 (.529) in NCAA Super Regional games with four super regional titles in seven previous appearances. 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 Anthony Ranaudo (9-3, 3.09 ERA) will start for the Tigers Friday night in Game 1.

Rice coach Wayne Graham, who directed the Owls to the 2003 national championship, will counter with junior right-hander Mike Ojala (5-0, 1.73 ERA).

“We have tremendous respect for Coach Graham and the Rice program,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I admire greatly what he has accomplished in his 18 years at the school. This is a matchup that could have easily been the final series in Omaha, but the bracket has us playing each other this weekend. It will be an outstanding series between two very talented teams. We’re excited about facing a great Rice team on our home field with a chance to go to Omaha.”

Ranaudo was named the Most Outstanding Player of the regional last weekend after a brilliant outing Saturday versus Baylor. Ranaudo worked nine innings, limiting the Bears to one earned run on three hits with three walks and 14 strikeouts.

Ranaudo’s 14 strikeouts represented the most by an LSU pitcher in an NCAA Tournament game since 1993, when Brett Laxton fanned 16 Wichita State batters in the CWS final.

Ranaudo, a second-team all-SEC selection, has accumulated 138 strikeouts, the most by a league pitcher this season.

The Tigers enter the regional hitting .315 as a team with 92 homers and 108 stolen bases. Sophomore second baseman DJ LeMahieu is batting .339 on the year with 11 doubles, three triples, four homers and 38 RBI.

Second-team all-conference outfielder Ryan Schimpf is hitting .332 with 16 doubles, one triple, 18 homers and 59 RBI, and first-team all-SEC designated hitter Blake Dean is batting .326 with 15 doubles, 15 homers and 64 RBI.

Rice, a member of Conference USA, battled out of the loser’s bracket last weekend to win the NCAA Houston Regional. The Owls are hitting .322 as a team with 66 homers and 73 stolen bases.

The Owls are led by National Freshman of the Year Anthony Rendon, who is hitting .384 with 13 doubles, one triple, 19 homers and 70 RBI. Junior infielder Brock Holt is batting .346 with 13 doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 40 RBI, and sophomore infielder Rick Hague is hitting .324 with 17 doubles, nine homers and 57 RBI.

LSU leads the all-time series with Rice, 12-11, as the squads first met in 1914. LSU, however, is only 2-6 against Rice in NCAA Tournament competition. The Tigers defeated the Owls in College World Series games in 1997 and 2008, but Rice is 6-0 against LSU in NCAA Regional/Super Regional games.

Rice eliminated LSU in NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge in 1995 and 2005, defeating the Tigers twice each time. The Owls also won two straight games over LSU at the 2002 NCAA Super Regional in Houston.

#6 Rice Owls (43-16) vs. #-1 LSU Fighting Tigers (49-16)

DATES/TIMES 
Friday, June 5 6 p.m. CT; Saturday, June 6 4 p.m. CT; Sunday, June 7 -- 6 p.m. CT (if necessary)

STADIUM
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (9,200)

RANKINGS
LSU - No. 1 by Baseball America; No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 1 by NCBWA
Rice No. 6 by Baseball America; No. 6 by NCBWA; No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball

RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net live audio and stats

TV
The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised by ESPN; Sunday’s game (if necessary) will be televised by ESPN2

SERIES RECORD
LSU leads the all-time series with Rice, 12-11, as the squads first met in 1914. LSU, however, is only 2-6 against Rice in NCAA Tournament competition. The Tigers defeated the Owls in College World Series games in 1997 and 2008, but Rice is 6-0 against LSU in NCAA Regional/Super Regional games.
Rice eliminated LSU in the 1995 and 2005 NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge, defeating the Tigers twice each time. The Owls also won two straight games over the Tigers at the 2002 NCAA Super Regional in Houston.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU So. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (9-3, 3.09 ERA, 102.0 IP, 41 BB, 138 SO)
Rice Jr. RHP Mike Ojala (5-0, 1.73 ERA, 62.1 IP, 24 BB, 68 SO)

 

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