LSU hosts No. 1 Miss. State

No. 14 LSU (18-5, 1-2 SEC) faces top-ranked Mississippi State (17-0, 2-0 SEC) this weekend in the Tigers' Southeastern Conference home opener at Alex Box Stadium.

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

 

Mississippi State is undefeated this season through 17 games, and the Bulldogs are ranked No.1 in the nation by Baseball America magazine

 

"Mississippi State is a very solid, veteran ball club," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "We are obviously going to have our hands full because they are so good in every phase of the game."

 

The Bulldogs enter the weekend with the best team ERA (2.06) in the SEC, and they are No. 3 in the league in batting average (.318). LSU leads the SEC with a .319 team batting average, and the Tigers are No. 6 in team ERA (2.81).

 

Junior left-hander Daniel Forrer (1-0) will take the mound for the Tigers in Friday's series opener. The outing will mark the first SEC career start for Forrer, who has recorded 32 strikeouts in 28.2 innings this season.

 

"Daniel is a very talented pitcher, and he is not likely to be affected by the pressure of starting on Friday night," Laval said. "We're looking forward to seeing how he competes against a very tough lineup."

 

Mississippi State head coach Ron Polk is expected to counter Friday with senior left-hander Brooks Dunn (4-0), who has a 2.36 ERA in 26.2 innings of work.

 

LSU will attempt this weekend to win seventh SEC series in eight outings, dating back to last year. The Tigers opened conference play last weekend by winning one of three games at Kentucky.

 

Mississippi State began SEC play at home last weekend with two wins over Tennessee before Game 3 of the series was rained out.

 

LSU freshman infielder J.T. Wise is batting a team-best .361 (30-for-83) with seven doubles, one homer and 14 RBI. Senior outfielder Bruce Sprowl is hitting .354 (29-for-82) with five doubles, four triples and 11 RBI, and senior outfielder Quinn Stewart is batting .353 (30-for-85) with five doubles, two triples, 29 RBI and an SEC-best eight homers.

 

Mississippi State is paced by senior infielder Thomas Berkery (.415, 1 HR, 10 RBI, senior outfielder Joseph Hunter (.333, 1 HR, 18 RBI) and senior outfielder Jeff Butts (.302, 2 HR, 13 RBI).

 

Mississippi State leads the all-time series with LSU, 190-156-1, but the Tigers hold an 11-10 advantage over MSU in the 21 meetings this decade. The teams split four games last season, as LSU posted a 2-1 series victory in Starkville before Mississippi State defeated the Tigers in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.

 

The Tigers have won seven of the last 10 meetings between the clubs, including a 2-1 series victory in the Bulldogs' last appearance in Baton Rouge in 2004. Laval has an 8-6 mark against Mississippi State during his five-year tenure as LSU's coach.

 

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SERIES FACTS

#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs (17-0, 2-0) at # 14 LSU Fighting Tigers (18-5, 1-2)

 

DATES/TIMES 

 

Friday, March 24 – 6:30 p.m. CST; Saturday, March 25 – 2 p.m. CST; Sunday, March 26 – 1 p.m. CST 

 

STADIUM

 

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

 

RANKINGS

 

LSU (# 14 Collegiate Baseball, # 15 USA Today/ESPN, # 15 Baseball America)

 

Mississippi State (# 1 Baseball America, # 3 Collegiate Baseball, # 7 USA Today/ESPN)

 

 

SERIES RECORD

 

Mississippi State leads, 190-156-1 (first meeting in 1905)

 

 

PITCHING MATCHUPS

 

Game 1

 

LSU -- Jr. LHP Daniel Forrer (1-0, 4.40 ERA, 28.2 IP, 12 BB, 32 SO)

 

MSU – Sr. LHP Brooks Dunn (4-0, 2.36 ERA, 26.2 IP, 5 BB, 19 SO)

 

Game 2

 

LSU – Jr. LHP Clay Dirks (3-2, 2.53 ERA, 32.0 IP, 9 BB, 38 SO) or

 

Jr. RHP Derik Olvey (5-0, 1.71 ERA, 42.0 IP, 7 BB, 28 SO)

 

MSU – Jr. RHP Josh Johnson (4-0, 1.42 ERA, 25.1 IP, 5 BB, 18 SO)

 

Game 3

 

LSU – Jr. LHP Clay Dirks (3-2, 2.53 ERA, 32.0 IP, 9 BB, 38 SO) or

 

Jr. RHP Derik Olvey (5-0, 1.71 ERA, 42.0 IP, 7 BB, 28 SO)

 

MSU – So. RHP John Lalor (2-0, 3.38 ERA, 18.2 IP, 4 BB, 19 SO)

 

 


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