Tigers, Red Foxes to battle in Regional opener

No. 12 LSU (38-20) plays host to Marist at 1 p.m. Friday in the opening game of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional in Alex Box Stadium.

Game 2 of the regional features Northwestern State versus Rice at 6:30 p.m. The regional continues through Sunday, with a final game to be played Monday, if necessary.

The Baton Rouge Regional winner will face the winner of the New Orleans Regional in a Super Regional series next weekend. The Super Regional winner advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

The New Orleans Regional features Tulane, Alabama, UL-Lafayette and Southern.

The LSU-Marist game 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.

All of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional games will be televised by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).

LSU coach Smoke Laval will send junior right-hander Justin Meier (2-3, 4.34 ERA) to the mound in Friday's regional opener. Meier fired a seven-hit shutout in LSU's 2004 regional opener against Army, recording a career-best nine strikeouts with no walks.

"Justin deserves this opportunity," Laval said. "He came through for us in this situation last year, and we hope he can do it again. If he's on his game, then we've got a chance."

Marist coach Joe Raccuia will counter Friday with senior left-hander Chris Tracz (9-3, 2.85 ERA).

The Tigers, champions of the SEC Western Division, are led at the plate by first-team all-American outfielder Ryan Patterson (.363, 19 HR, 49 RBI) and all-SEC outfielder Nick Stavinoha (.350, 17 HR, 59 RBI). LSU is hitting .292 as a team, and the Tigers have launched an SEC-high 74 homers this seasons.

Marist, champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, is paced by outfielder Travis Musolf, who is batting .359 with nine doubles, three triples and 28 RBI. Outfielder Keith Brachold leads the Red Foxes in homers (6) and RBI (49).

LSU is playing host to an NCAA Regional tournament for the 16th straight season. The Tigers have won nine consecutive regionals -- LSU was last eliminated in a regional in 1995 by Rice.

GAME FACTS
Marist Red Foxes (33-19) vs. # 12 LSU Fighting Tigers (38-20)

DATES/TIMES
Friday, June 3 -- 1 p.m. CDT (Game 1 of NCAA Baton Rouge Regional)

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

RANKINGS
LSU (# 12 ESPN/Sports Weekly, # 13 Baseball America, # 16 Collegiate Baseball)
Marist (unranked)

TICKETS
$10 -- available at Alex Box Stadium and at www.LSUsports.net beginning at 8 a.m. Friday

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

INTERNET
Radio broadcast and live stats at www.LSUsports.net

TV
Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge)

SERIES RECORD
First meeting

PITCHING MATCHUPS
LSU -- Jr. RHP Justin Meier (2-3, 4.34 ERA, 37.1 IP, 14 BB, 27 SO)
Marist -- Sr. LHP Chris Tracz (9-3, 2.85 ERA, 98.0 IP, 17 BB, 75 SO)


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