LSU (29-16-1, 9-11-1 SEC) enters the Kentucky (34-11, 11-10 SEC) series in third place in the SEC West, 1.5 games behind first-place Ole Miss (11-10). LSU is a half game behind Alabama (10-11) for the final berth in the eight-team SEC Tournament with nine league games remaining.
The Tigers have won six straight games, including a three-game Southeastern Conference sweep of No. 9 South Carolina last weekend in Alex Box Stadium.
The sweep over South Carolina was LSU’s first in the SEC since 2006 when LSU won three straight at Auburn. The series victory over the Gamecocks was also the Tigers’ first SEC sweep at home since LSU swept Tennessee at Alex Box Stadium in 2003.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, “and we’ll need to continue to play at a high level this weekend against a very talented Kentucky team. They lead the league in hitting and pitching, and they play especially well at home. We’re excited for the opportunity to play in what should be a great series.”
Game 1: Friday at 6:30 p.m. EST
Game 2: Saturday at 1 p.m. EST
Game 3: Sunday at 1 p.m. EST
Friday – Jumbo Sports Network (Cable Ch. 16 in Baton Rouge)
Saturday – Jumbo Sports Network (Cable Ch. 16 in Baton Rouge)
Sunday – Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge)
LSU leads the series, 34-19-1 (the teams first met in 1975)
LSU – Jr. LHP Blake Martin (2-3, 4.71 ERA, 57.1 IP, 25 BB, 58 SO)
UK – Jr. LHP Chris Rusin (4-2, 3.19 ERA, 59.1 IP, 11 BB, 53 SO)
LSU – Jr. RHP Jordan Brown (3-0, 4.30 ERA, 46.0 IP, 21 BB, 43 SO)
UK – So. LHP James Paxton (3-2, 3.32 ERA, 38.0 IP, 19 BB, 34 SO)
LSU – Jr. LHP Ryan Verdugo (7-2, 3.26 ERA, 58.0 IP, 21 BB, 48 SO)
UK – Sr. RHP Greg Dombrowski (5-0, 2.96 ERA, 54.2 IP, 9 BB, 44 SO)
By the Numbers
Sophomore designated hitter/outfielder Blake Dean has sizzled at the plate during the LSU’s six-game win streak, batting .480 (12-for-25) with three doubles, two homers and four RBI.
Junior first baseman Matt Clark is batting .364 (8-for-22) in the last six games with two doubles, three homers and six RBI. Freshman shortstop DJ LeMahieu is batting .348 (8-for-23) during the win streak with three doubles, one homer and seven RBI. LeMahieu enters the Kentucky series riding a 12-game hitting streak.
LSU is batting .294 as a team with 58 homers, the fifth-highest HR total in the SEC. The Tigers’ pitching staff has a 3.89 ERA – fourth-best in the SEC – and has recorded 359 strikeouts and 135 walks in 412.1 innings.
Kentucky is led at the plate by first baseman Sawyer Carroll, who is batting an SEC-best .431 with 15 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 63 RBI. Outfielder Collin Cowgill is hitting .380 with 11 doubles, two triples, 16 homers and 47 RBI.
LSU leads the overall series between the schools, 34-19-1, and the Tigers have won seven of their last nine SEC series over Kentucky. However, the Wildcats have a 4-1-1 advantage over the Tigers in the last six games, including a 2-0-1 series victory last season in Baton Rouge.
Kentucky won the first two games of last season’s series by scores of 16-2 and 6-5 before Game 3 ended in a 9-9 tie when the contest was halted after eight innings due to SEC travel regulations.