LSU's Alex Box Stadium (USA TODAY SPORTS)

BATON ROUGE REGIONAL: LSU looks to stay hot, with Texas Southern, Rice and Southeastern Louisiana eyeing upsets

The Tigers enter as the No. 4 seed and with a major head of steam after winning the SEC Tournament

LSU Tigers

RECORD: 43-17, 21-9 SEC (tied for first place; won West Division)

Statistics

ROAD TO REGIONAL: LSU stormed through the SEC Tournament with four victories to claim the powerful league’s automatic bid and bolstered its resume strongly enough to gain the No. 4 national seed along the way.

TOP HITTERS: 2B Cole Freeman .332 (75-of-226), 46 R, 11 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 37 RBIs, 17-23 SB; RF Greg Deichmann .330 (73-of-221), 45 R, 11 2B, 19 HR, 67 RBIs; LF Antoine Duplantis .328 (77-235), 44 R, 14 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 52 RBIs, 18-22 SB; SS Kramer Robertson .314 (75-239), 76 R, 16 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 39 RBIs, 7-10 SB; CF Zach Watson .312 (54-173), 30 R, 8 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 27 RBIs, 8-11 SB; 1B Nick Coomes .295 (36-122), 18 R, 7 2B, 2 HR, 23 RBIs; DH/LF Beau Jordan .282 (37-131), 24 R, 6 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBIs; 3B Josh Smith .278 (57-205), 41 R, 12 2B, 3 HR, 39 RBIs  

TOP PITCHERS: RH Alex Lange 8-5, 2.59 ERA, 97.1 IP, 118 SO/33 BB; LH Jared Poche 10-3, 3.18 ERA, 90.2 IP, 56 SO/29 BB; RH Eric Walker 7-1 3.78 ERA, 85.2 IP, 70 SO/23 BB; RH Hunter Newman 1-1, 10 saves, 1.16 ERA, 23.1 IP, 24 SO/14 BB; RH Zack Hess 6-1, 1 save, 2.92 ERA, 49.1 IP, 64 SO/23 BB; RH Caleb Gilbert 4-1, 3 saves, 2.92 ERA, 40 IP, 44 SO/8 BB; RH Matthew Beck 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 22.2 IP, 20 SO/10 BB; LH Nick Bush 1-1, 3.54 ERA, 20.1 IP, 19 SO/17 BB; RH Todd Peterson 3-1, 3.86 ERA, 32.2 IP, 19 SO/14 BB 

COULD WIN REGIONAL IF: The Tigers stay focused and maintain the level of play that has carried them this far, especially the last month of the regular season and in Hoover. LSU has all of its gears clicking together and should navigate this regional field and head onto the Super Regional round.

Southeastern Louisiana Lions

RECORD: 36-20, 20-10 Southland Conference (second place)

Statistics

ROAD TO REGIONAL: The Lions earned an at-large bid after losing back-to-back games in the Southland Conference after beating UNO 12-7 in the opener.

HISTORY vs. LSU: The Lions lost in Baton Rouge 8-2 on March 22 and are 17-68 all-time against their in-state brethren. SLU’s last win over the Tigers was a 6-3 decision in 2008.

TOP HITTERS: 3B Taylor Schwaner .320 (64-for-200), 50 R, 13 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 68 RBIs, 16-19 SB; DH Drew Avans .314 (64-204), 54 R, 14 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 29 RBIs, 26-30 SB; 1B Derrick Mount .302 (55-182), 37 R, 8 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 34 RBIs; 2B Carson Crites .301 (66-for-219), 49 R, 13 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 58 RBIs, 14-16 SB; LF Ryan Byars .266 (49-184), 38 R, 14 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 42 RBIs 

TOP PITCHERS: RH Mac Sceroler 9-1, 3.24 ERA, 97.1 IP, 108 SO/30 BB; RH Corey Gaconi 6-5, 2.83 ERA, 101.2 IP, 66 SO/12 BB; RH Evan Hileman 3-2, 5 saves, 2,87 ERA, 31.1 IP, 29 SO/6 BB; RH Bryce Tassin 2-2, 2 saves, 3.41 ERA, 37 IP, 36 SO/8 BB; RH Carlisle Koestler 4-4, 4.48 ERA, 64.1 IP, 54 SO/28 BB; RH Josh Green 5-0, 3 saves, 4.68 ERA, 32.2 IP, 21 SO/14 BB  

COULD WIN REGIONAL IF: The Lions need close, games where they can rely on their knack for stealing bases (110) and that puts a lot of onus Sceroler and Gaconi to keep opponents in check – especially if Southeastern gets a crack at LSU. The Lions have the parts to pull off a stunner and get through, but they have to churn out some offense early against Rice to take some pressure off and not let the Owls’ get more confident. 

Rice Owls

RECORD: 31-29, 16-14 Conference USA (6th place)

Statistics

ROAD TO REGIONAL: The Owls stunned their Conference USA foes by winning four straight games at the league tournament, three by 1-2 runs and the last over regular-season champion Southern Miss. Rice has won eight of its last nine games and 18 of 22 since losing a home series in Hattiesburg to dip to 13-25. 

HISTORY vs. LSU: The Owls and Tigers have been regular postseason foes, including last season when LSU won two of three – 5-2 in the decisive regional game to advance. The Tigers own a 16-12 edge all-time vs. Rice and have won five of the last six meetings dating back to a stirring 6-5 come-from-behind win in Omaha in 2008.

TOP HITTERS: C Dominic DiCaprio .365 (80-for-219), 40 R, 14 2B, 6 HR, 47 RBIs; 3B Dane Myers .360 (82-228), 48 R, 11 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 38 RBIs, 13-16 SB; 1B Darryn Sheppard .315 (74-235), 31 R, 20 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 50 RBIs; SS Ford Proctor .309 (68-220), 55 R, 18 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 35 RBIs; 2B Tristan Gray .299 (47-157), 23 R, 15 2B, 6 HR, 34 RBIs; DH Andrew Dunlap .290 (20-69), 17 R, 3 2B. 5 HR, 13 RBIs 

TOP PITCHERS: RH Zach Esquivel 6-5, 1 save, 3.62 ERA, 82 IP, 63 SO/45 BB; RH Matt Canterino 5-4, 3.94 ERA, 91.1 IP, 105 SO/47 BB; RH Glenn Otto 6-4, 8 saves, 3.97 ERA, 56.2 IP, 78 SO/28 BB; RH Dane Myers 1-5, 4.09 ERA, 50.2 IP, 35 SO/29 BB  

COULD WIN REGIONAL IF: Recent history keeps repeating itself. Rice caught some late-season lightning in a bottle with effective pitching and an offense that doesn’t overwhelm but has enough cogs to do damage. The Owls need to keep games in range and lean on their success in one-run games – 9-6 this season. Of the three teams with a realistic chance to move on, Rice needs a 2-0 start more than anybody else because their pitching depth is surprisingly shallow. 

Texas Southern Tigers

RECORD: 20-32, 14-10 SWAC

Statistics

ROAD TO REGIONAL: The Tigers rolled through the SWAC Tournament with wins over Alabama A&M, Jackson State twice and Alabama State.

HISTORY vs. LSU: Only two games between the two Tigers, with LSU winning 12-1 in a 2008 regional opener and 4-1 at home on Feb. 23, 2014.

TOP HITTERS: 1B Gaudencio Lucca .315 (53-for-168), 36 R, 14 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBIs, 11-13 SB; 2B Gerrek Jimenez .307 (43-140), 21 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 16 RBIs, 14-16 SB; CF Kammen Dukes .283 (53-187), 33 R, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 29 RBIs, 16-25 SB; OF Olaide Oloruntimilehin .253 (45-178), 34 R, 6 2B, 10 HR, 33 RBIs, 22-24 SB

TOP PITCHERS: RH Seth Oliver 4-4, 4.50 ERA, 80 IP, 65 SO/43 BB, .255 opponent batting average; LH Anthony Martinez 4-3, 4.70 ERA, 59.1 IP, 34 SO/27 BB, .287 OBA; LH Robert Loza 2-1, 1 save, 3.95 ERA, 27.1 IP, 14 SO/23 BB, .264 OBA; RH Michael Villanueva 8-4, 5.43 ERA, 68 IP, 63 SO/58 BB, .236 OBA 

COULD WIN REGIONAL IF: An awful lot of stars line up in the Tigers’ favor. TSU is playing with house money by just playing this week after a nice four-game run at the SWAC Tournament and can use that as a springboard into next season – especially on the recruiting trails it shares with its SWAC brethren. But a legitimate shot to emerge from regional play just doesn’t exist.


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