OMAHA, Neb. -- Top-ranked LSU competes for a berth in the CWS Championship Series at 1 p.m. Friday when the Tigers face seventh-ranked Arkansas at Rosenblatt Stadium. If LSU wins Friday's game, the Tigers advance to the championship series at 6 p.m. Monday. If Arkansas wins Friday's game, the teams meet again at either 1 p.m. or 6 p.m. Saturday for the right to play for the CWS title.
Friday's 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 games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. The game will be televised by ESPN2 in HD.
LSU, the NCAA Tournament No. 3 national seed, enters Friday’s game riding a 12-game win streak. The Tigers opened the CWS with a 9-5 victory over Virginia Saturday and defeated Arkansas 9-1 on Monday.
LSU has a 119-44 (.730) all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and owns the highest winning percentage in tournament history.
The Tigers are making their 15th College World Series appearance and their second in a row – LSU is 32-19 (.627) at the CWS with five national titles (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000).
LSU is 7-2 against SEC teams in the College World Series -- the Tigers are 4-0 versus Florida, 1-0 against Alabama, 1-0 against Mississippi State, 0-2 versus South Carolina and 1-0 against Arkansas. The Tigers also defeated the Razorbacks, 5-2, in the 1987 CWS when Arkansas was a member of the Southwest Conference.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn will counter with left-hander Stephen Richards (6-1, 1.80 ERA), who has served as the Razorbacks' closer this season.
Ranaudo struggled in his first College World Series start Saturday versus Virginia, allowing two runs on five hits in 3.1 innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
“It was Anthony's toughest outing of the season," Mainieri said, "so I think it's important to get him right back on the mound. I know how hard work he works and and how competitive he is, and I know he will give us a tremendous effort."
Ranaudo, a second-team all-American from Jackson, N.J., lost an 11-4 decision at Arkansas on May 2 in Fayetteville. He worked six innings and was charged with five runs on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Ranaudo has since won his last five decisions.
The Tigers enter Friday’s game hitting .317 as a team with 99 homers and 113 stolen bases. Sophomore second baseman DJ LeMahieu, the second-round selection this week by the Chicago Cubs in the MLB Draft, is batting .350 on the year with 12 doubles, three triples, four homers and 40 RBI.
Second-team all-SEC outfielder Ryan Schimpf is hitting .339 with 19 doubles, one triple, 20 homers and 66 RBI, and first-team all-SEC designated hitter Blake Dean is batting .332 with 17 doubles, 16 homers and 68 RBI.
Schimpf was the fifth-round draft choice of the Toronto Blue Jays last week, while Dean was selected in the 10th round by the Minnesota Twins.
Arkansas has won seven of its eight NCAA Tournament games, including a 4-3, 12-inning victory over Virginia in a CWS elimination game on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks are led by first baseman Andy Wilkins, who is hitting .325 with 18 doubles, 19 homers and 58 RBI. Shortstop Ben Tschepikow is batting .317 with 12 doubles, four triples, nine homers and 47 RBI, and DH Scott Lyons is hitting .300 with 11 doubles, one triple, eigth homers and 46 RBI.
#7 Arkansas Razorbacks (41-23) vs. #1 LSU Fighting Tigers (53-16)
Friday, June 19 -- 1 p.m. CT
Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.
LSU - No. 1 by Baseball America; No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 1 by NCBWA
Arkansas – No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 7 by NCBWA; No. 8 by Baseball America
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
www.LSUsports.net – live audio and stats
Friday’s game will be televised by ESPN2
LSU leads the series with Arkansas, 48-22, including a 9-1 College World Series win over the Razorbacks on Monday. LSU also won two of three games over Arkansas earlier this season in Fayetteville. Arkansas won Game 1 of the series, 11-4, before the Tigers posted consecutive victories over the Razorbacks by scores of 5-0 and 4-3.
LSU – So. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (10-3, 3.03 ERA, 113.0 IP, 45 BB, 150 SO)
UA – LHP Stephen Richards (6-1, 1.80 ERA, 35.0 IP, 18 BB, 50 SO)