Tigers Travel to Florida

LSU (15-8, 2-4 SEC) resumes Southeastern Conference action at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday when the Tigers face the Florida Gators at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Game 2 starts at 4 p.m. ET Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 1 p.m. ET Sunday.


Sunday’s game will be regionally televised by FSN Florida, and it can be seen in Baton Rouge on Cox Digital Cable Ch. 255 (Fox College Sports Atlantic).


LSU has won four of its last six games, including a split this week in a pair on non-conference outings. The Tigers defeated Northwestern State, 10-3, on Tuesday before dropping an 8-6 decision to New Orleans on Wednesday.


LSU is 2-4 in SEC play after winning two of three games against Arkansas last weekend in Baton Rouge. The Tigers trail first-place Ole Miss (3-3) by one game in the SEC Western Division standings.


Florida has won five of its first six league games, and the Gators are in first place in both the overall and Eastern Division race.


 “Florida is playing very well right now, and we know we’ll have to be at our best to win this series,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I’m confident we’ll go to Gainesville and play well and give ourselves a chance to gain some ground in the SEC race. We look forward to competing against a very good Florida club in what should be a great environment for college baseball.”


Mainieri said junior left-hander Blake Martin (1-1, 4.10 ERA) will start Friday’s game on the mound for LSU. Martin has a solid outing last Friday in the Tigers’ 8-7 win over Arkansas, allowing five runs on four hits in 5.1 innings with three walks and seven strikeouts.


Mainieri said he would announce the Tigers’ Saturday and Sunday starting pitchers as the series progresses.


First-year Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan will counter this weekend with right-hander Billy Bullock (2-2, 3.23 ERA) on Friday, right-hander Patrick Keating (3-0, 2.92 ERA) on Saturday and right-hander Tommy Toledo (4-0, 1.93 ERA) on Sunday.


LSU junior outfielder Derek Helenihi leads the Tigers with a .379 (22-for-58) average. He has collected five doubles, two triples and 11 RBI.


Junior first baseman Matt Clark is batting .364 (28-for-77), and he has three doubles, 23 RBI and a team-best 10 home runs. Sophomore outfielder Blake Dean is hitting .349 (30-for-86) with five doubles, two triples, six homers and a team-high 25 RBI.


LSU is hitting .305 as a team with 30 home runs on the year. The Tigers’ pitching staff has a 3.98 ERA with 190 strikeouts and 82 walks in 203.1 innings.


Florida is led at the plate by freshman infielder Josh Adams, who is hitting .388 (31-for-80) with seven doubles, one triple, five homers and 30 RBI. Sophomore infielder Cole Figueroa is batting .360 (31-for-86) with six doubles, two homers and 29 RBI.


The Gators are hitting .309 as a team with 23 homers. Florida’s pitching staff has a 3.36 ERA and has recorded 129 strikeouts and 80 walks in 201 innings of work.


LSU leads the overall series with Florida, 47-29-1, though the Gators have captured the last two series with the Tigers, winning two of three games in 2006 and 2007.


LSU has won five of its last seven SEC series against the Gators, and the Tigers have a have a 15-8-1 mark against Florida since 1999.


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