Tigers look to get back on track

No. 15 LSU (20-7, 2-4 SEC) plays host to No. 5 South Carolina (23-3, 5-1 SEC) in a three-game SEC series this weekend in Alex Box Stadium.

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


None of the three games will be televised.


South Carolina, guided by 10th-year coach Ray Tanner, represents the second consecutive Top 5 club LSU will face in a weekend series. Top-ranked Mississippi State posted a 2-1 series victory over the Tigers last weekend in Alex Box Stadium.


The Gamecocks enter this weekend's series tied for first place with Vanderbilt in the SEC Eastern Division. LSU is tied for third place in the SEC West, three games behind first-place Alabama (5-1).


"South Carolina is a very aggressive team at the plate and in the way they pitch the baseball," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "Coach Tanner's style is to be the aggressor, and that's reflected in the way they play. They obviously do everything very well, based upon their numbers."


The Gamecocks enter the weekend with the best team batting average (.317) and fielding percentage (.983) in the SEC, and they are No. 2 in the league in team ERA (2.58).


LSU is No. 2 in the SEC with a .316 team batting average, and the Tigers are No. 8 in team ERA (3.36) and No. 4 in fielding percentage (.971).


Junior left-hander Daniel Forrer (1-1) will take the mound for the Tigers in Friday's series opener. The outing will mark the second SEC career start for Forrer, who suffered a loss to Mississippi State last weekend in his conference debut as a starter.


Forrer worked 6.1 innings against Mississippi State, allowing six run on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts.


South Carolina is expected to counter Friday with junior left-hander Arik Hempy (2-1), who has a 2.73 ERA in 29.2 innings of work.


LSU freshman infielder J.T. Wise is batting a team-best .370 (37-for-100) with nine doubles, two homers and 15 RBI. Senior outfielder Quinn Stewart is batting .366 (37-for-101) with seven doubles, two triples, 33 RBI and an SEC-best 11 homers.


Stewart also leads the SEC in total bases (81) and slugging percentage (.802).


South Carolina is paced by senior infielder Neil Giesler, who leads the SEC with a remarkable .500 (45-for-90) batting average to go along with five doubles, two homers and 21 RBI.


Junior outfielder Robbie Grinestaff is No. 2 in the SEC in home runs (8) and No. 3 in RBI (34).


LSU leads the overall series with South Carolina, 21-15-1, though the Gamecocks have won the last four meetings between the schools.


LSU has won eight of the 10 SEC regular-season series with South Carolina since 1992. The Gamecocks' only regular-season series victories over the Tigers came in 2002, when USC won two games in Columbia, and last season, when the Gamecocks swept three games in Alex Box Stadium.


The Tigers have an 8-6-1advantage over South Carolina in games played in Alex Box Stadium since 1992.




# 5 South Carolina Gamecocks (23-3, 5-1) at # 15 LSU Fighting Tigers (20-7, 2-4)





Friday, March 31 – 6:30 p.m. CT; Saturday, April 1 – 3 p.m. CT; Sunday, April 2 – 1 p.m. CT 





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





LSU (# 15 Collegiate Baseball, # 16 USA Today/ESPN, # 16 Baseball America)


South Carolina (# 5 Baseball America, # 5 Collegiate Baseball, # 6 USA Today/ESPN)





LSU leads, 21-15-1 (first meeting in 1992)





Game 1


LSU -- Jr. LHP Daniel Forrer (1-1, 5.14 ERA, 35.0 IP, 15 BB, 35 SO)


USC – Jr. LHP Arik Hempy (2-1, 2.73 ERA, 29.2 IP, 10 BB, 43 SO)



Game 2


LSU – Jr. LHP Clay Dirks (3-2, 3.20 ERA, 39.1 IP, 10 BB, 46 SO)


USC – Fr. RHP Mike Cisco (3-0, 2.73 ERA, 26.1 IP, 6 BB, 27 SO)



Game 3


LSU – Jr. RHP Derik Olvey (5-0, 2.58 ERA, 45.1 IP, 9 BB, 32 SO)


USC – Jr. LHP Forrest Beverly (5-1, 4.33 ERA, 35.1 IP, 5 BB, 33 SO)


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