LSU held its No. 1 position in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll released Monday. The Tigers are No. 2 in this week’s Baseball America rankings.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri said the Tigers will be prepared to face a formidable Southern club Wednesday. The Jaguars are coached by Roger Cador, now in his 25th season at the helm of the program.
Southern opened its season last weekend, posting a 1-2 mark at the Major League Baseball Urban Invitational in Compton, Calif. The Jaguars defeated San Diego State (4-2) and suffered losses to San Diego (6-4) and Bethune-Cookman (10-4).
“The LSU-Southern game is always extremely competitive, and it’s evident Roger has another very good team,” Mainieri said. “They beat a San Diego State club coached by (Major League Hall of Famer) Tony Gwynn, and they nearly beat San Diego in their first game. We’ll have to be ready to face a very strong challenge in our ball park.”
Mainieri said true freshman left-hander Chris Matulis, a product of Boynton Beach, Fla., will start the game on the mound for the Tigers.
LSU swept three games last weekend against Villanova by scores of 12-3, 11-1, and 6-3 in the inaugural series of the New Alex Box Stadium. The 29 runs scored by LSU were the most in an opening weekend series since 2005 when the Tigers collected 37 runs against Nicholls State.
LSU had 16 extra-base hits last weekend and swiped 11 of 13 bases while limiting Villanova to only two stolen bases. The Tigers’ pitching staff was superb with 33 strikeouts and only eight walks over the three games as it registered a 2.33 ERA.
The Tigers were led by SEC Player of the Week Ryan Schimpf, who batted .700 (7-for-10) in the series with two doubles, one homer and six RBI. The junior second baseman scored three runs, walked four times and stole four bases, recording a .786 on-base percentage and a 1.200 slugging percentage.
Sophomore shortstop DJ LeMahieu hit .556 (5-for-9) in the series with three triples, three RBI and two runs scored. LeMahieu collected two triples in Sunday’s win over Villanova, becoming the first LSU player to hit two triples in a game since 1999, when Jeff Leaumont had a pair of triples against Kentucky.
Pre-season all-American right-hander Louis Coleman earned the victory in the season opener, limiting Villanova to just two hits in five scoreless innings with two walks and eight strikeouts, tying his career high in Ks.
LSU leads the overall series with Southern, 43-2, as the squads first met in 1970. LSU defeated the Jaguars twice last season -- a 6-1 victory in the original Alex Box Stadium and an 8-3 win at SU’s Lee-Hines Field.
Southern’s two wins in the series versus LSU both came in the original Alex Box Stadium – an 11-6 victory in 2001 and a 9-5 triumph in 2005.
Southern Jaguars (1-2) at #1 LSU Tigers (3-0)
Wednesday, February 25 – 6:30 p.m. CT
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (9,200)
LSU - No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball and USA Today/ESPN; No. 2 by Baseball America
Southern - unranked
· LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
· The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
· Pregame show starts at 6:15 p.m.
- kids 12 and under can join the Tigers on the field for the National Anthem
LSU leads, 43-2
LSU – Fr. LHP Chris Matulis (first career collegiate appearance)
SU – Jr. LHP Chase Richard (5-3, 5.10 ERA, 41 K, 12 BB in 2008)