LSU hosts Lions in final non-confernce weekend

Top-ranked LSU (13-2) plays host to Southeastern Louisiana (5-6) in Alex Box Stadium this weekend in the Tigers' final non-conference series of the season. LSU opens SEC play next weekend at third-ranked South Carolina.

First pitch for Game 1 of the LSU-SLU series is 6:30 p.m. Friday, Game 2 is set for 2 p.m. Saturday and Game 3 will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The games can be heard statewide on the LSU Sports Network (WDGL-FM 98.1 in Baton Rouge); however, if the LSU men's basketball team is still participating in the SEC Tournament, the Saturday and Sunday games will be broadcast only in Baton Rouge on WJNH-FM 107.3.

All three games can also be heard on the internet at www.LSUsports.net.

Sunday's game will be televised statewide by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).

Tickets are available for all three games of the series at www.LSUsports.net or by calling 225.578.2184 or 800.960.8587.

The first 2,000 fans entering the stadium Friday will receive a free 2004 LSU team picture. The LSU Lady Tiger basketball team, which plays host to the NCAA Tournament first-and-second rounds March 21-23, will be introduced by athletics director Skip Bertman at the end of the fifth inning.

LSU, ranked No. 1 for the third straight week by Collegiate Baseball magazine, has won 11 of its last 12 games, including a 6-1 victory at Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday night.

The Tigers' 13-2 record is LSU's best through 15 games since the 1997 club began the season with 15 consecutive wins en route to a 19-0 start.

LSU coach Smoke Laval will send sophomore right-hander Justin Meier (3-0, 1.98 ERA) to the mound Friday, while SLU, led by second-year coach Dan Canevari -- a former LSU assistant -- will counter with sophomore left-hander Chad Pendarvis (0-2, 5.02 ERA).

Meier defeated Houston in his last outing last Friday, limiting the Cougars to two runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings with one walk and four strikeouts.

Sophomore catcher Matt Liuzza extended his hitting streak Tuesday at UL-Monroe to 14 games, the longest of his career. On the year, Liuzza is hitting .386 (22-for-57) with five doubles, two homers and 13 RBI.

Right fielder Jon Zeringue is the Tigers' top overall hitter, batting .439 (25-for-57) with 11 doubles, one triple, three homers and 15 RBI. Center fielder J.C. Holt is hitting .431 (28-for-65) with four doubles, 12 RBI and 17 runs scored.

LSU is hitting .345 (194-for-562) as a team entering the SLU series with 36 doubles, five triples and 15 homers, and the Tigers average nearly nine runs and 13 hits per game.

The Tigers' staff ERA is 2.08, as LSU has allowed just 31 earned runs in 134.1 innings.

The Lions own a .272 (101-for-372) team batting average with 24 doubles, four triples and four homers. SLU has a team ERA of 5.55, as the staff has allowed 50 earned runs in 94 innings.

LSU leads the all-time series with SLU, 49-16, including two wins last season in Alex Box Stadium by scores of 4-2 (March 5) and 14-8 (April 23).

The Tigers have won 22 of the 24 meetings between the clubs since 1990; SLU's only wins in that span came in 1991 (15-2) and 2002 (4-3), both in Alex Box Stadium.

Laval is 13-5 against the Lions during his 10-year collegiate coaching career, including a 3-1 mark as LSU's coach. He is 31-8 (.795) against Louisiana teams since taking over the LSU program (14-5 in 2002, 14-3 in 2003, 3-0 in 2004).

Canevari, a member of the LSU staff from 1991-2002, helped lead the Tigers to all five of their NCAA championships under former coach Skip Bertman.

The teams will meet again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La., in the first Wally Pontiff Jr. Baseball Classic.


SERIES FACTS-- Southeastern Louisiana Lions (5-6) at #1 LSU Fighting Tigers (13-2)

DATES/TIMES: March 12 - 6:30 p.m.; March 13 - 2 p.m.; March 14 - 1 p.m.
STADIUM: Alex Box Stadium (7,760)
TICKETS: Available at www.LSUsports.net and at Alex Box Stadium beginning two hours prior to first pitch
RANKINGS: LSU (#1 Collegiate Baseball, #5 Baseball America, #5 ESPN/Sports Weekly); Southeastern Louisiana (unranked)
RADIO: statewide on LSU Sports Network (WDGL-FM 98.1 in Baton Rouge) (The Saturday and Sunday games will be carried only in Baton Rouge on WJNH-FM 107.3, if the LSU men's basketball team is still participating in the SEC Tournament)
INTERNET:
www.LSUsports.net
TV: No TV on Friday and Saturday; Sunday's game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge)

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Game 1
LSU - So. RHP
Justin Meier (3-0, 1.98 ERA, 27.1 IP, 6 BB, 19 SO)
SLU - So. LHP Chad Pendarvis (0-2, 5.02 ERA, 14.1 IP, 8 BB, 9 SO)

Game 2
LSU - Jr. LHP
Lane Mestepey (2-1, 2.95 ERA, 21.1 IP, 5 BB, 12 SO)
SLU - Jr. LHP Rodney Story (0-2, 2.57 ERA, 21.0 IP, 9 BB, 16 SO)

Game 3
LSU - Sr. RHP
Nate Bumstead (2-0, 3.18 ERA, 17.0 IP, 6 BB, 13 SO)
SLU - Sr. LHP Mark Weinmunson (2-0, 1.64 ERA, 11.0 IP, 3 BB, 8 SO)


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