Tigers try to tame the Hawgs

LSU (12-6, 0-3 SEC) plays its first Southeastern Conference home series of the season this weekend as the Tigers meet Arkansas (13-6, 1-2 SEC) in Alex Box Stadium.

Game 1 begins Friday at 7 p.m., Game 2 starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 1 p.m. Sunday.


LSU snapped a five-game losing streak Wednesday with a 7-5 victory over Tulane in Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers opened SEC play last weekend at Tennessee, dropping all three games to the Volunteers.


Arkansas split a pair of games this week at Nebraska. The Hogs dropped two of three SEC games at home last weekend versus Georgia.


“I thought the win over Tulane was a great team win," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We hope that it gives our club a lot of confidence heading into a very challenging series with Arkansas. I was very encouraged by our competitiveness at the plate against Tulane. We will need to do the same this weekend -- bunch several quality at-bats together and produce runs in critical situations."


Mainieri said junior left-hander Blake Martin (1-1, 3.00 ERA) will start Friday’s game on the mound for LSU. Martin pitched effectively in his first career SEC start last Sunday at Tennessee, limiting the Vols to two runs on four hits in 4.2 innings of a seven-inning game. Martin recorded two walks and four strikeouts in the outing.


Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn will counter on Friday with left-hander Cliff Springston (4-0, 1.11 ERA). Springston defeated Georgia in his SEC debut last weekend, limiting the Bulldogs to one run on five hits in 5.2 innings with three walks and four strikeouts.


LSU sophomore second baseman Ryan Schimpf is hitting .364 (24-for-66) with five doubles, three triples, three homers and 12 RBI. Schimpf's three-run triple Wednesday against Tulane highlighted the Tigers' five-run uprising in the sixth inning.


Sophomore leftfielder Blake Dean is hitting .349 (22-for-63) with three doubles, two triples, four homers and 19 RBI. Junior first baseman Matt Clark is batting .344 (21-for-61), and he leads the Tigers in home runs (8) and RBI (21).


LSU is hitting .302 as a team with 23 home runs and a .375 on-base percentage. The Tigers' pitching staff has a 4.00 ERA and has posted 147 strikeouts in 155.1 innings.

Arkansas is led at the plate by junior infielder Logan Forsythe, who is hitting .417 (20-for-48) wtih five doubles, one triple, one homer and eight RBI. Freshman outfielder Brett Eibner is batting .397 (23-for-58) with three doubles, two triples, three homer and 23 RBI, and senior first baseman Aaron Murphree is hitting .362 (25-for-69) with six doubles, 13 homers and 31 RBI.


The Razorbacks are hitting .304 as a team with 35 home runs. The Arkansas pitching staff has a 4.53 ERA and has recorded 150 strikeouts in 167 innings.


LSU leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 43-20, and the Tigers have a 16-9 advantage over the Hogs in games played this decade. The Tigers have won three straight SEC series versus Arkansas, winning seven of the past nine games between the clubs.


LSU posted a 2-1 series victory at Arkansas last season when the Hogs were ranked as high as No.3 in the nation.

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