Tigers travel to Centenary

LSU begins its final full week of non-conference games on Tuesday as the Tigers travel to Shreveport, La., to take on the Centenary Gents. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Fair Grounds Field.

LSU (8-6) defeated Lipscomb, 8-4, on Sunday to end a four-game losing skid. Centenary (8-10) won two of three games in Shreveport last weekend versus Toledo.


"Our game with Centenary is a great opportunity for our program," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We're looking forward to playing in front of our fans in the Shreveport area, because they have such strong passion and enthusiasm for the Tigers. It's also an opportunity to showcase our program in an area of the state that produces great baseball players.


"Our team will need to be focused in order to win because Centenary is a very hard-nosed club that beat LSU the last time the teams played in Shreveport (in 2005). We need to play with great effort because this will be a very competitive game."


Tuesday's game marks the sixth time in eight seasons LSU has traveled to Fair Grounds Field to face Centenary. The Gents defeated LSU – ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time – by a 6-1 score in the teams' last meeting in Shreveport in 2005.


LSU has won 23 of the last 24 meetings in the overall series with Centenary, including a 15-3 victory last season in Alex Box Stadium.


Mainieri said true freshman right-hander T.J. Forrest, a product of Haughton (La.) High School, will start Tuesday's game on the mound. Forrest, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last April, will be making his first career collegiate appearance.


"It's a great storyline for T.J. Forrest," Mainieri said, "because his hometown is only about 10 miles from Shreveport. We're eager to see how he performs because I think he's a guy who can help us."


Forrest was the 44th-round selection of the Florida Marlins in last summer's MLB Draft.


Centenary coach Ed McCann will counter Tuesday with junior left-hander Johnny Noland (0-2). Noland is in his first season at Centenary after transferring from Saddleback (Calif.) College.


LSU right-hander Jared Bradford was named Monday as one of the Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball magazine.


Bradford, a junior from Hueytown, Ala., delivered a brilliant outing versus Lipscomb on Sunday, leading LSU to an 8-4 victory. Bradford limited the Bisons to two runs on three hits in 7.1 innings with one walk and 13 strikeouts. The strikeout total represented the highest by an LSU pitcher since April 2, 1999 when Kurt Ainsworth recorded 16 Ks in a win at Tennessee.


Bradford allowed only four base runners during his outing, and only two runners advanced to second base. The runs that were charged to him scored after he had left the game in the eighth inning.


Bradford threw 99 pitches in Sunday's outing after firing 20 pitches on Friday in a relief role against Lipscomb. He worked 1.2 shutout innings on Friday, allowing one hit with three strikeouts. In the two appearances combined, Bradford allowed two runs on four hits in nine innings with one walk, 16 strikeouts and a .143 opponent batting average.


LSU freshman centerfielder Jared Mitchell sparked LSU's offensive effort against Lipscomb on Sunday, as he was 4-for-4 at the plate with a walk, an RBI, three runs and two stolen bases. Mitchell lifted his season average to .328 (19-for-58) with team-highs of 16 runs and six steals.


Shortstop Michael Hollander enjoyed a productive series versus Lipscomb, batting .444 (4-for-9) in three games with one double, one homer, three RBI and two runs. Including the Tigers' game last Tuesday versus Tulane, Hollander hit .455 (5-for-11) for the week with two doubles, one homer, three runs and four RBI.


True freshman right-hander Matt Jackson delivered a solid relief outing against Lipscomb Saturday in just his second career collegiate appearance. Jackson, a teammate of Forrest at Haughton High, entered the game in the second inning with LSU trailing 6-0 and kept the Tigers within striking distance – he worked 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Jackson helped the Tigers narrow the gap to 8-7 before Lipscomb eventually prevailed by a 10-7 count.


LSU launched five homers in the final two games of the Lipscomb series – DH Ryan Schimpf and third baseman J.T. Wise belted their first homers of the year on Saturday, and Hollander and second baseman Chris Jackson unloaded their first homers of the season on Sunday. Catcher Sean Ochinko's dinger on Saturday was his second this season.


Centenary is led at the plate by outfielder Calvin Sanchez, who is batting .370 (20-for-54) with four doubles, one homer and nine RBI. Outfielder Matt Webb is hitting .347 (17-for-49) with five doubles, two triples, one homer and eight RBI.





LSU Fighting Tigers (8-6) vs. Centenary Gents (8-10)





Tuesday, March 6 – 7 p.m.






Fair Grounds Field in Shreveport, La.






LSU leads, 27-8-1






LSU – Fr. RHP T.J. Forrest (first career collegiate appearance) 


CC – Jr. LHP Johnny Noland (0-2, 5.21 ERA, 19.0 IP, 6 BB, 15 SO)


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