Tigers, Tennessee meet in pivotal SEC clash

No. 11 LSU (33-16, 14-10 SEC) plays host to No. 9 Tennessee (35-14, 15-8) this weekend in a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Alex Box Stadium. Game 1 of the series is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT Friday, Game 2 begins at 3 p.m. CDT Saturday and Game 3 starts at Noon CDT Sunday.

The games can be heard statewide on the LSU Sports Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). The radio broadcast and live stats are also available on the LSU Athletics web site, www.LSUsports.net.

Friday's game will be televised by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge), and Saturday's game will be televised by Fox Sports Net (Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge).

LSU's senior players will be honored prior to Saturday's game in a 2:45 p.m. ceremony. Players appearing in their final regular-season series in Alex Box Stadium include catcher Brad Bass, outfielder Rhett Buteau, pitcher Jason Determann, pitcher Jordan Faircloth, infielder Blake Gill, second baseman Clay Harris, infielder Derek Hebert, pitcher Lane Mestepey, outfielder Ryan Patterson, outfielder Nick Stavinoha and catcher Dustin Weaver.

Determann, though a junior in athletic eligibility, has completed his four-year course of study in biology, and he will enter the LSU Medical School in Shreveport this fall.

LSU is tied with Alabama for first place in the SEC West, while Tennessee leads the SEC East and the overall conference standings. The Tigers enter this weekend's series 1.5 games behind the Volunteers in the overall league race.

LSU won its fourth straight SEC series last weekend, capturing two of three games versus Kentucky, and the Tigers have won nine of their last 11 conference games.  

Tennessee posted a three-game sweep over South Carolina last weekend, and the Volunteers have won five of their last six league contests.

Smoke Laval will send senior left-hander Lane Mestepey (6-6, 4.46 ERA) to the mound in Friday's series opener. Mestepey earned his 35th career victory – second on the all-time LSU list – versus Kentucky last Friday, limiting the Wildcats to three earned runs on seven hits in seven innings with four walks and two strikeouts. 

Mestepey, who has a 35-18 career mark, is three wins shy of the LSU all-time wins record (38) held by Scott Schultz (1992-95).

Tennessee coach Rod Delmonico will counter Friday with junior right-hander Luke Hochevar (11-2, 1.77 ERA), who leads the SEC in wins, strikeouts (107) and innings pitcher (96.2). 

LSU center fielder Ryan Patterson, recently named the top senior player in the country by Baseball America magazine, leads the Tigers with a .383 average and 17 homers. Patterson is No. 1 in the SEC in total bases (148), and he is second in the league in runs (60), doubles (19) and slugging percentage (.767).

LSU right fielder Nick Stavinoha has at least one base hit in 15 of his last 16 games, a stretch in which he is batting .411 (30-for-73) with eight doubles, seven homers, 22 RBI and 17 runs. Stavinoha leads the SEC with 20 doubles, and he is No. 2 in the league with 74 hits. He is batting .368 (74-for-201) on the year with 14 homers and a team-high 49 RBI. 

Catcher J.P. Arencibia led Tennessee to a three-game sweep of South Carolina last weekend. He recorded 15 putouts behind the plate in Friday's 3-2 win and revved up UT's offense with a two-run homer. The home run was his 12th of season, which broke Todd Helton's Tennessee freshman home run record (11, set in 1993).

On Saturday, Arencibia reached base on a single in the bottom of the 10th inning and later scored the game-winning run on a series-clinching triple by Chase Headley. Arencibia went 3-for-4 on Sunday with two RBIs and one run scored as Tennessee swept its first SEC series of the season. During the entire series, the true freshman led the Vols with a .462 batting average, six hits, one home run, five RBIs and a .692 slugging percentage. He leads the SEC this season with 59 RBIs.  

LSU leads the overall series with Tennessee, 38-11, and the Tigers have a 19-4 mark against the Volunteers over the past nine seasons. LSU has won six of its last seven SEC series against Tennessee -- the Volunteers' last series victory over the Tigers came in 1999 in Knoxville.

LSU has won three straight series over the Vols, including a 2-1 series victory last season in Knoxville. Tennessee recorded an 8-6 win in Game 1 before the Tigers responded with 11-5 and 11-1 victories.


# 9 Tennessee Volunteers (35-14, 15-8) at # 11 LSU Fighting Tigers (33-16, 14-10) 


Friday, May 13 – 6:30 p.m. CDT; Saturday, May 14 – 3 p.m. CDT; Sunday, May 15 – Noon CDT 

STADIUM:  Alex Box Stadium (7,760) in Baton Rouge, La.  

RANKINGS: LSU (# 11 ESPN/Sports Weekly, # 16 Collegiate Baseball, # 16 Baseball America)

               Tennessee (# 9 Baseball America, # 10 Collegiate Baseball, # 17 ESPN/Sports Weekly)

TICKETS:  $8 adults, $5 children ages 3-12 -- available at Alex Box Stadium each day two hours prior to first pitch 

PROMOTIONS:  Senior Day ceremonies, honoring 11 LSU players, will be held Saturday at 2:45 p.m.

RADIO:  statewide on LSU Sports Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) 

INTERNET:  radio broadcast and live stats of all three games at www.LSUsports.net

TV:  Cox Sports Television on Friday (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge); Fox Sports Net on Saturday (Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge); No TV on Sunday 

SERIES RECORD:  LSU leads, 38-11


Game 1

LSU -- Sr. LHP Lane Mestepey (6-6, 4.46 ERA, 80.2 IP, 20 BB, 43 SO)

UT – Jr. RHP Luke Hochevar (11-2, 1.77 ERA, 96.2 IP, 32 BB, 107 SO) 

Game 2

LSU – So. LHP Clay Dirks (9-2, 3.13 ERA, 74.2 IP, 24 BB, 55 SO)

UT – So. RHP Craig Cobb (5-2, 4.19 ERA, 68.2 IP, 18 BB, 41 SO)

Game 3

LSU – Jr. LHP Greg Smith (8-2, 2.31 ERA, 85.2 IP, 21 BB, 69 SO)

UT – Fr. LHP James Adkins (7-2, 2.66 ERA, 88.0 IP, 35 BB, 82 SO)

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