GAME 1: Friday, Friday, March 27– 7 p.m.
GAME 2: Saturday, March 28 – 6:30 p.m.
GAME 3: Sunday, March 29 – 11 a.m.
**All games streamed on SEC Network+**
LHP Jared Poche’ (5-1, 3.37 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Brown (2-2, 2.43 ERA)
RHP Alex Lange (5-0, 1.42 ERA vs. RHP Dustin Beggs (3-2, 3.44 ERA)
LSU hasn’t played a home game in almost two weeks, but the Tigers return to Alex Box Stadium this weekend for a three-game series against Kentucky.
LSU has won both of its SEC series this season and are winners in 19 of their last 21 games. Kentucky comes to town after taking two of three from Mississippi State last weekend.
The Tigers haven’t lost to Kentucky at home since 2009, a streak of seven straight after series sweeps in 2011 and 2013.
This year’s Wildcats aren’t to be taken lightly though. Kentucky was a win away from the SEC Tournament final in 2014 and fell a game shy of advancing to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament.
“They’ve done amazing things with their program over there. When people talk about the SEC, the school you don’t normally think about is Kentucky. But they’ve been right in the middle of it with everybody for several years now. So they have our utmost respect.”
Kentucky in 2014 had one of the best hitting clubs in the country. They led the conference with a .299 team batting average and clubbed 60 homers, 18 more than the second highest total.
But some key cogs from that offense are gone, and the Wildcats in 2015 haven’t produced the same level of power. Kentucky has only 10 homers this season, but are hitting at a .299 clip, good for fourth in the conference.
Three-hole hitter Ka’ai Tom leads Kentucky at the plate with a .402 batting average and team-best 25 RBI. Leadoff man Kyle Barrett follows him with a .392 batting average, and the Wildcats have three others hitting at least .300.
Kentucky has struggled as a staff on the mound. The Wildcats’ team ERA of 4.29 is second-worst in the conference, and that’s a welcoming number for an LSU offense that leads the nation in hitting.
LSU INJURY UPDATES
Kade Scivicque will be ready to play after getting hit in the right forearm Tuesday against Tulane. LSU initially feared that there may be a fracture, but X-rays taken once the team returned from New Orleans were negative. Scivicque leads the team with a .417 batting average and caught all three games last weekend against Arkansas.
Greg Deichmann could potentially make his SEC debut this weekend. The freshman has had two midweek at-bats since returning from a stress fracture in his foot he suffered in the preseason. Deichmann has shown tremendous power in batting practice, and could definitely contribute at the plate this season.
Paul Mainieri said Deichmann would likely only enter in a pinch-hitting situation as LSU will stick with Chris Sciambra as the designated hitter this weekend.
Freshman outfielder Beau Jordan returned to practice Thursday for the first time since tearing his meniscus early in the season. LSU likely won’t be in need of his services this weekend, but he does present one more backup option in the outfield.
LSU may be without two relievers this weekend though.
Alden Cartwright has struggled with the flu all week, and did not travel with the team to New Orleans on Tuesday. Mainieri said Cartwright started feeling better and threw a bullpen session Wednesday,m but relapsed Thursday, and his status for the weekend is uncertain.
Hunter Devall remains sidelined with a strained muscle in his back. He suffered the injury last weekend against Arkansas and has not thrown since. Mainieri was hopeful that Devall could do some side work Thursday, but if he’s unable to, then Devall won’t pitch this weekend.