Tigers set to tango with Temple Owls

Here's a preview for the action at the Box as Temple comes to town for the weekend.


Game 1

LSU -- Jr. LHP Clay Dirks (1-0, 1.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 2 BB, 14 SO)

TU – Sr. RHP Tim Foulkrod (2005 stats: 6-7, 3.46 ERA, 91.0 IP, 42 SO)

Game 2

LSU – Jr. RHP Derik Olvey (2-0, 0.59 ERA, 15.1 IP, 1 BB, 9 SO)

TU – So. RHP Arshwin Asjes (2005 stats: 8-2, 3.25 ERA, 61 SO at Gloucester County College)

Game 3

LSU – Jr. LHP Daniel Forrer (1-0, 4.22 ERA, 10.2 IP, 5 BB, 14 SO)

TU – Sr. LHP Justin Mendek (2005 stats: 1-3, 5.11 ERA, 24.2 IP, 18 SO)

No. 15 LSU (7-1) plays host to Temple (0-0) this weekend in a three-game series at Alex Box Stadium.

Game 1 of the series is set for 6:30 p.m. CST Friday, Game 2 begins at Noon CST Saturday and Game 3 starts at Noon CST Sunday.

The games will be broadcast statewide on the LSU Sports Radio Network. The games on Friday and Sunday can be heard in Baton Rouge on WDGL 98.1 FM, and the Baton Rouge affiliate for Saturday's game is WTGE 107.3 FM.

The audio broadcast, streaming video and live stats are also available in the Geaux Zone powered by USAgencies at www.LSUsports.net.

None of the three games will be televised.

Junior left-hander Clay Dirks will take the mound for the Tigers in Friday's contest against Temple. Dirks earned his 19th career LSU win by defeating Tennessee Tech on Feb. 17. Dirks limited TTU to one earned run on three hits in five innings with one walk and he tied his career high with eight strikeouts.

Temple, a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, posted a 17-33 record last season. Friday's game will mark the season opener for the Owls, led by first-year coach Rob Valli, the 2005 National Junior College Coach of the Year. Valli directed Gloucester (N.J.) County College to the 2005 JUCO national championship.

"This will be a real challenge this weekend because Temple will throw a lot of quality arms at us," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "It's their season opener, and they will be especially energized with a new coach and plenty of enthusiasm.

"Coach Valli had tremendous success in junior college, and he will have his team ready to play. When a Northern school gets outside for the first time, they can be very dangerous with the bats because of the adrenaline rush. That's something our pitchers will have to be prepared for."

Senior right-hander Tim Foulkrod, who led the Owls in wins (6) and ERA (3.46) last season, is expected to start Friday's game for Temple.

The Owls' top returning hitter is junior third baseman Dan Brady, who batted .257 in 2005 with 16 doubles, five homers and 31 RBI.

LSU enters Friday's contest riding a five-game win streak. The Tigers are No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference with a .347 batting average after collecting 10 hits in a 7-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana Tuesday night.

Senior catcher Matt Liuzza is batting a sizzling .458 (11-for-24) with four doubles, three RBI and eight runs, and he enters Friday's game on a six-game hit streak. Junior left fielder Steven Waguespack is hitting .419 (13-for-31) with three doubles, one triple, four RBI and six runs.

LSU has already produced five triples in eight games this season after collecting just 14 triples in 62 games last year. After recording just 22 sacrifice bunts in 62 games last season, LSU has already sacrificed nine times in eight games this year.

The LSU pitching staff has limited opponents to just a .199 batting average while recording 78 strikeouts and 18 walks in 73 innings.

Junior right-hander Derik Olvey, who is LSU's scheduled starter on Saturday, registered a win over Tennessee Tech last weekend by limiting the Golden Eagles to one run on three hits in seven innings with one walk and four strikeouts. Olvey is now 2-0 on the year with a 0.59 ERA, and in 15.1 innings, he has allowed just one run on seven hits with one walk and nine strikeouts.

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