Tigers ready for three-game set at Auburn

LSU (29-17, 8-13 SEC) travels to Auburn (22-25, 9-12) this weekend as the Tigers seek to move into position for an SEC Tournament berth. With nine SEC regular-season games remaining, LSU is 10th in the overall league standings, one game behind ninth-place Auburn and 1.5 games behind eighth-place Mississippi State. The top eight teams qualify for the SEC Tournament May 24-28 in Hoover, Ala.

Following the Auburn series, LSU concludes the regular season versus Vanderbilt (May 12-14) and at Florida (May 18-20).

 

Game 1 of the LSU-Auburn series is set for 7 p.m. CT Friday, Game 2 begins at 7 p.m. CT Saturday and Game 3 starts at 1 p.m. CT Sunday.

 

The games on Saturday and Sunday will be televised by the Jumbo Sports Network.

 

LSU has won three of its last four conference series, with all three victories coming against ranked teams at the time of the series – No. 24 Tennessee, No. 8 Alabama and No. 11 Arkansas.

 

"Our players are looking forward to the challenge of going up to Auburn and competing," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "We realize we're the type of club that needs to execute in all phases of the game in order to be successful. It seems like we're getting closer to that level of play, but time will tell.

 

"We're taking the mindset that we need to control what is within our reach. That's all we can do."

 

Junior left-hander Clay Dirks (3-4, 5.34 ERA) will take the mound for the Tigers in Friday's series opener. Dirks turned in a solid no-decision effort in last Friday's win over Arkansas, limiting the Hogs to five runs on nine hits in 7.2 innings with four strikeouts.

 

Auburn coach Tom Slater will counter Friday with sophomore right-hander Brett Butts (3-5, 6.40 ERA).

 

Despite working with a depleted pitching staff, LSU posted an SEC series victory over 11th-ranked Arkansas last weekend. The Tigers were without four key hurlers due to injuries – weekend starter Derik Olvey, closer Chase Dardar and middle relievers Michael Bonura and Darryl Shaffer -- yet LSU managed to record two wins over the Razorbacks.

 

Junior right-hander Jonathan Wilhite, who had pitched just 2.2 innings in SEC games entering the series, earned the relief win in Game 1, allowing one run on two hits in 1.1 innings with one strikeout.

 

Junior right-hander Edgar Ramirez, who had pitched just 8.2 SEC innings entering the series, earned the relief victory in Game 3, limiting the Hogs to one run on four hits in 4.1 with three walks and a career-best six strikeouts.

 

Third baseman Will Harris was called upon to close Game 3 on the mound for the Tigers, and he responded by earning his first career save. Making just his sixth pitching appearance this season, Harris preserved the 7-5 victory by pitching a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit with two strikeouts.

 

LSU senior right fielder Quinn Stewart enters the series ranked No. 2 in the nation in homers with 20. He trails Kellen Kulbacki of James Madison, who has 21 on the year.

 

Sophomore shortstop Michael Hollander helped lead the Tigers to the series victory over Arkansas, batting .364 (4-for-11) in three games with one homer, four RBI and three runs. Hollander's home run was a walk-off blast in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 to give the Tigers a 7-6 victory.

 

The homer was Hollander's fourth of the season and his first since March 18 at Kentucky. Hollander also delivered a clutch RBI single in the eighth inning of Game 3, providing LSU with an insurance run in a 7-5 win.

 

Freshman centerfielder Jarred Bogany batted .500 (8-for-16) in four games last week, scoring two runs and recording a .500 on-base percentage. In the Arkansas series, Bogany hit a team-best .417 (5-for-12) and scored a pair of runs.

 

Bogany is the Tigers' leading hitter this season, batting .348 (40-for-115) on the year with four doubles, two triples, 11 RBI and 15 runs.

 

Auburn catcher/infielder Josh Donaldson belted home runs in three consecutive games (4/23 at Florida, 4/25 vs. Mercer, 4/28 at Alabama), making him the first AU player to accomplish that feat since Karl Amonite did it over the span of two seasons (June 1, 2003 – Feb. 5, 2005). Donaldson has had back-to-back homer games twice this season.

 

Auburn infielder Tyler Johnstone has reached base safely in 46 out of 47 games this season. With six more stolen bases, Johnstone will enter AU's top-10 in that career category.

 

LSU leads the overall series with Auburn, 75-62, and the Tigers have won seven of their last 11 games with the Plainsmen.

 

LSU has captured five of the last seven SEC series with Auburn, including three straight series victories at Plainsman Park (2000, 2002, 2004). Auburn last posted a home series victory over LSU in 1998.

 

 

LSU Fighting Tigers (29-17, 8-13)

at Auburn Tigers (22-25, 9-12) 

 

 

DATES/TIMES 

 

Friday, May 5 -- 7 p.m. CT; Saturday, May 6 – 7 p.m. CT; Sunday, May 7 – 1 p.m. CT

 

 

 

STADIUM

 

Plainsman Park in Auburn, Ala.

 

 

 

RANKINGS

 

Neither team is ranked

 

 

SERIES RECORD

 

LSU leads, 75-62 (first meeting in 1907)   

 

 

 

PITCHING MATCHUPS

 

Game 1

 

LSU – Jr. LHP Clay Dirks (3-4, 5.34 ERA, 60.2 IP, 14 BB, 59 SO)

 

AU – So. RHP Brett Butts (3-5, 6.40 ERA, 57.2 IP, 21 BB, 38 SO)  

 

 

 

Game 2

 

LSU – Fr. RHP Louis Coleman (4-3, 4.31 ERA, 62.2 IP, 22 BB, 40 SO)

 

AU – Fr. LHP Evan Crawford (5-5, 3.84 ERA, 63.1 IP, 35 BB, 44 SO)

 

 

 

Game 3

 

LSU – Jr. LHP Daniel Forrer (1-2, 6.35 ERA, 51.0 IP, 21 BB, 46 SO)

 

AU – Jr. RHP Chris Dennis (3-4, 6.02 ERA, 49.1 IP, 31 BB, 29 SO)

 

 


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