More Tigers Face Alabama Baseball

There really is only one highlight for Alabama baseball this year and that is last weekend's unexpected sweep of Auburn. This week the Crimson Tide gets the challenge of another set of Tigers at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge.

The Alabama baseball team of Coach Mitch Gaspard is on the road to meet the LSU Tigers in a three game series beginning tonight (Friday). Trey Pilkington, a junior right-hander, will be on the mound for the Crimson Tide. Pilkington is 1-2 on the season with a 3.51 earned run average. He'll be going against LSU junior right-hander Kevin Gausman, who is 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA.

Alabama is 13-20 overall and 4-8 in Southeastern Conference games. LSU, ranked in all four major college baseball top ten polls and as high as third in the nation, is 27-7 overall and 8-4 in conference games. LSU is 9-1 over the past 10 games.

The teams will also meet in single games Saturday (6:30 p.m. CDT, television by Cox Sports) and noon Sunday (ESPN2).

Alabama's Saturday pitcher will be freshman left-hander Justin Kamplain (1-2, 3.23 ERA) going against LSU's Ryan Eades, a sophomore right-hander who is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA. On Sunday Bama will go with freshman left-hander Jon Keler (2-2, 3.74 ERA) and LSU with freshman right-hander Aaron Nola (4-1, 3.32).

Alabama was scheduled to play five games this week, but after a 9-1 loss to UAB on Tuesday, Wednesday's game against Southeastern Louisiana was rained out.

Taylor Dugas was named the SEC Co-Player of the Week after hitting .529 (9-for-17) last week. Dugas is now hitting .347 for the season, after setting the school record with his 14th career triple last week, while tying Dave Magadan's school record of 64 doubles. Dugas also had his first career walk-off hit when he homered to end game two of the Auburn series. Freshman Ben Moore continues to lead the team with a .361 average and is tied for second on the team with 18 RBI. Brett Booth homered in game three against Auburn and leads the team with three home runs and 23 RBI. Jake Hubbard leads the team with a 2.66 ERA and two saves. Hubbard allowed one hit with five strikeouts in three appearances last week. Taylor Guilbeau picked up his third win of the season on Saturday to lead the Tide with three victories.

LSU as a team LSU is hitting .302, while averaging 6.9 runs and 10.4 hits per game. The Tigers' pitching staff has been one of the best in the SEC this season, with a team ERA of 3.07 and an opponent batting average of .235. LSU allows 3.6 runs and 7.6 hits per outing. The LSU pitchers have combined for a SEC-leading 317 strikeouts to average 9.3 punch outs per game.

Raph Rhymes enters the weekend as the SEC's leading hitter with a .465 batting average. He leads the team with 34 RBI and has struck out just seven times in 114 at-bats.

In a series that dates back to the 1906 season, the three-game series will mark games 351-353 between Alabama and LSU. Alabama holds a 194-153-3 advantage overall in the series, after the Crimson Tide took two of three games from the Tigers in Tuscaloosa last season. UA posted back-to-back shutouts of the Tigers to close the series. In the last series played in Baton Rouge, the No. 6 ranked Tigers swept the Tide during the 2010 season. Alabama is 2-3 in the last five games and 3-7 in the last 10 games against LSU.

Following the LSU series, the Tide returns home to host Mississippi Valley State for two games on Tuesday and Wednesday. First pitch for both games at Sewell-Thomas Stadium will be at 6 p.m. CDT. Alabama returns to SEC play on Friday with game one of a three-game series against Vanderbilt in Tuscaloosa. Friday's game against the Commodores begins at 6:35 p.m., game two on Saturday begins at 2:05, and Sunday's series finale starts at 1:05.

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