Tigers set to host Northwestern State

No. 20 LSU (23-11) plays host to Northwestern State (15-18) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium.

LSU coach Smoke Laval said sophomore right-hander Michael Bonura (1-0, 3.32 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Bonura, who missed last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, enjoyed a solid outing last Tuesday against Southern, limiting the Jaguars to one run on four hits in 5.2 innings with no walks and five strikeouts.

 

"Michael Bonura did what he was supposed to do -- fill up the zone with strikes," Laval said. "I wanted him to leave with a bit of confidence, which I think is a step in the right direction."

 

Northwestern State coach Mitch Gaspard, a 1984 LSU baseball letterman, is expected to counter Tuesday with sophomore right-hander Kyle Broughton (2-4, 4.18 ERA).

 

LSU has won three of it last four games, including a 2-1 SEC series victory at No. 24 Tennessee last weekend. Sunday's 6-2 win in Knoxville featured a four-run outburst in the seventh inning that erased a 2-0 deficit – second baseman J.T. Wise and designated hitter Jordan Mayer each launched a two-run homer in the frame to lift the Tigers to the win.

 

Wise, who was just 1-for-11 at the plate in the series entering the seventh inning, unloaded his fifth dinger of the season to tie the game at 2-2. Mayer later gave LSU the lead with his two-run blast, his third of the year and his first since March 11 versus Stetson.

 

Junior right-hander Derik Olvey pitched brilliantly on Sunday to earn the win as he limited Tennessee to two runs on 11 hits – all singles – in 8.2 innings with one walk and nine strikeouts. Olvey, a native of Pelham, Ala., is now 6-1 on the year with a 2.29 ERA -- in 63 innings, he has recorded 13 walks and 52 strikeouts, and opponents are batting just .201 against him.

 

In his last two outings, Olvey has recorded a 1.53 ERA in 17.2 innings, as he has allowed three earned runs while registering four walks and 20 strikeouts.

 

Freshman right-hander Louis Coleman defeated Tennessee last Friday in just his second career SEC start. Coleman, a native of Schlater, Miss., worked eight innings and limited UT to two runs (one earned) on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

 

Senior right-hander Chase Dardar picked up a win and a save last week, as he defeated Southern on Tuesday and earned the save at Tennesee on Sunday. Dardar, a native of Marrero, La., collected his fourth win in five decisions on Tuesday, limiting Southern to one run on two hits in 3.1 innings with no walks and three strikeouts.

 

Dardar earned the save on Sunday in relief of Olvey, as he retired the final Tennesee batter with runners at first and second base to preserve the 6-2 triumph.

 

Right fielder Quinn Stewart increased his SEC-leading home run total to 14 Friday as he blasted two dingers at Tennessee. Stewart's three-run shot in the sixth inning increased LSU's lead to 9-0, and his solo blast to lead off the ninth gave the Tigers a 10-2 advantage.

 

Stewart is batting .333 (42-for-126) on the year with seven doubles, two triples, 14 homers and 39 RBI.

 

Northwestern State is hitting .253 as a team this season, and the Demons have unloaded 18 homers. Senior second baseman Brandon Morgan is NSU's offensive leader, batting .360 (36-for-100) with five doubles, five triples, two homers and 24 RBI.

 

LSU leads the series with Northwestern State, 44-10, and the Tigers have won six straight and eight of the last nine meetings between the clubs.

 

LSU defeated the Demons twice in Alex Box Stadium in 2005, posting a 19-2 victory during the regular season before eliminating Northwestern State from the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional with a 12-4 decision.

 

Northwestern State's last win in Baton Rouge came in 1999, when the Demons posted a 12-6 victory.

 

 

GAME FACTS

 

Northwestern State Demons (15-18) at # 20 LSU Fighting Tigers (23-11)

 

 

 

DATE/TIME 

 

Tuesday, April 11 – 6:30 p.m. CDT

 

 

 

STADIUM

 

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

 

 

 

RANKINGS

 

LSU (# 20 USA Today/ESPN)

 

Northwestern State (unranked)

 

 

TV

 

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

 

 

 

SERIES RECORD

 

LSU leads, 44-10 (first meeting in 1937)

 

 

 

PITCHING MATCHUP

 

LSU:  So. RHP Michael Bonura (1-0, 3.32 ERA, 21.2 IP, 8 BB, 20 SO)

 

NSU:  So. RHP Kyle Broughton (2-4, 4.18 ERA, 47.1 IP, 16 BB, 31 SO)

 


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