Tigers try and break out of SEC slump

No. 21 LSU (21-10, 2-7 SEC) travels to face No. 24 Tennessee this weekend (18-11, 2-6) for a three-game SEC series in Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Game 1 of the LSU-UT series is set for 6 p.m. CT Friday, Game 2 begins at 3 p.m. CT Saturday and Game 3 starts at 11:30 a.m. CT Sunday.

 

Saturday's game will be televised by Fox Sports Net (Cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge) and Sunday's game will be televised by the Jumbo Sports Network (Cable Ch. 3 in Baton Rouge).

 

LSU enters the series in sixth place in the SEC Western Division while Tennessee, a 2005 participant in the College World Series, stands sixth in the SEC East.

 

"We know Tennessee will be a very well-prepared ball club for this weekend's series," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "They have an excellent Friday night pitcher (James Adkins) and a great catcher (J.P. Arencibia) among a group of very talented players.

 

"Our focus this weekend will be on trying to become more opportunistic. I don't think we have necessarily played poorly, but we haven't taken advantage of opportunities to score runs."

 

Tennessee, under 17th-year coach Rod Delmonico, enters the weekend with the best team batting average (.314) in the SEC, and the Volunteers are seventh in the league with a 3.72 team ERA.

 

LSU is No. 5 in the SEC in team batting average (.302) and No. 8 in team ERA (3.86).

 

Freshman right-hander Louis Coleman (2-2, 4.05 ERA) will take the mound for the Tigers in Friday's series opener. The outing will mark the second SEC career start for Coleman, who last pitched in relief versus Mississippi State on March 26.

 

Tennessee is expected to counter Friday with Adkins (4-3, 3.58 ERA), a sophomore left-hander who has recorded 57 strikeouts in 55.1 innings of work.

 

LSU freshman infielder J.T. Wise is batting a team-best .348 (40-for-115) with nine doubles, four homers and 18 RBI. Senior outfielder Quinn Stewart is batting .345 (40-for-116) with seven doubles, two triples, 35 RBI and an SEC-best 12 homers.

 

Stewart also leads the SEC in total bases (87) and slugging percentage (.750).

 

Tennessee is paced by sophomore outfielder Julio Borbon, who is hitting .388 (47-for-121) with eight doubles, one triple and 19 RBI. Arencibia, the Vols' sophomore catcher, leads the squad in homers (6) and RBI (25).

 

LSU leads the overall series with Tennessee, 40-13, and the teams split four meetings last season. LSU won two of three games over UT in Baton Rouge during the regular season before Tennessee posted a 5-1 victory over the Tigers in the SEC Tournament.

 

The Tigers have a 21-6 mark against Tennessee over the past 10 seasons. LSU has won seven of its last eight SEC series against Tennessee, including the last four in a row. The Volunteers' last series victory over the Tigers came in 1999 in Knoxville.

 

SERIES FACTS

# 21 LSU Fighting Tigers (21-10, 2-7) at #24 Tennessee Volunteers (18-11, 2-6)

 

DATES/TIMES 

Friday, April 7 – 6 p.m. CT; Saturday, April 8 – 3 p.m. CT; Sunday, April 9 – 11:30 a.m. CT

 

STADIUM

Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

  

RANKINGS

LSU (# 21 USA Today/ESPN)

Tennessee (# 24 NCBWA)

 

SERIES RECORD

LSU leads, 40-13 (first meeting in 1907) 

 

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Game 1

LSU -- Fr. RHP Louis Coleman (2-2, 4.05 ERA, 33.1 IP, 11 BB, 29 SO)

UT – So. LHP James Adkins (4-3, 3.58 ERA, 55.1 IP, 21 BB, 57 SO)

 

Game 2

LSU – Jr. LHP Clay Dirks (3-3, 4.03 ERA, 44.2 IP, 11 BB, 49 SO)

UT – Sr. RHP Craig Cobb (5-1, 3.09 ERA, 55.1 IP, 8 BB, 35 SO)

 

Game 3

LSU – Jr. RHP Derik Olvey (5-1, 2.32 ERA, 54.1 IP, 12 BB, 43 SO)

UT – Fr. RHP Josh Lindblom (4-2, 4.07 ERA, 48.2 IP, 18 BB, 54 SO)

 


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