LSU recorded a three-game Southeastern Conference sweep of Auburn last weekend to move into a first-place tie with Georgia in the overall league race. LSU is in sole possession of first place in the SEC Western Division, one-half game ahead of Arkansas.
The Tigers’ series win over Auburn was LSU’s first SEC sweep since the final series of the 2008 regular season, when LSU swept Auburn at Plainsman Park. LSU has won 10 of its last 11 conference series, dating back to last season.
“We were very happy to win all five games last week, including an SEC sweep,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We enjoyed the sweep for a little while, but now we have to focus on Tulane. They’re an outstanding team that is playing very well right now. They’ll be excited to play us on our home field, and I know our guys will be ready for the challenge.”
Mainieri said sophomore right-hander Ben Alsup (0-0, 4.00 ERA) will start Tuesday’s game on the mound for the Tigers. Alsup, a native of Ruston, La., will make his second career collegiate start.
Alsup was very effective in a relief outing last Wednesday versus Nicholls State as he fired three scoreless innings, allowing no hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Tulane will counter with junior left-hander Aaron Loup (2-3, 5.44 ERA).
Sophomore right-hander Anthony Ranaudo was named one of six National Players of the Week Monday by Collegiate Baseball magazine. He delivered an exceptional performance on Friday versus Auburn, firing a career-high 15 strikeouts in a 7-3 victory. The 15 Ks were the most by an LSU pitcher since Kurt Ainsworth recorded 16 strikeouts at Tennessee in 1999.
Ranaudo, who leads the SEC in strikeouts with 98 this season, is 5-2 on the year with a 2.89 ERA.
Freshman reliever Matty Ott was named SEC Pitcher of the Week Monday, as he recorded a win and three saves in four appearances. Ott fired 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits (all singles) with one walk and four strikeouts.
Ott earned a save in Tuesday’s win over Southeastern Louisiana, allowing two hits over 1.2 scoreless innings with one strikeout. He recorded his second save of the week Friday versus Auburn, striking out the final two batters with two runners on to preserve a 7-3 victory.
Ott was the winning pitcher in Saturday’s 7-6 victory over Auburn, as he fired two shutout innings without surrendering a hit. He completed the week with another save in Sunday’s 7-6 win over Auburn, blanking the Plainsmen over the final 1.1 innings with one strikeout.
Freshman third baseman Tyler Hanover hit .455 (5-for-11) in the Auburn series with two homers, five RBI and three runs scored.
Hanover’s three-run homer in the fifth inning on Sunday erased a 4-2 deficit and proved to be the game-winning hit in LSU’s 7-6 triumph.
Hanover is hitting .355 (27-for-76) in SEC games with two doubles, three homers and 20 RBI.
LSU sophomore infielder DJ LeMahieu, formerly the Tigers’ starting shortstop, was moved to second base on Tuesday, and he responded with a very productive week. LeMahieu hit .455 (10-for-22) in five games with one double, five RBI and one run. He batted .500 (7-for-14) in the Auburn series with one double and three RBI.
LeMahieu’s biggest hit of the week came on Saturday versus Auburn, as he delivered a walk-off, two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 7-6 win. LeMahieu also helped the Tigers turn five double plays during the week – LSU had recorded just 16 double plays in its 40 games prior to last week.
Tulane is hitting .299 on the year with 57 homers and 86 stolen bases. The Green Wave is led by junior infielder Josh Prince (.372, 12 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 26 RBI), senior first baseman Sam Honeck (.357, 13 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 63 RBI) and freshman catcher Jeremy Schaeffer (.331, 6 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 43 RBI).
LSU leads the overall series with Tulane, 160-124-3, though the Wave posted an 8-7 win over the Tigers earlier this month in New Orleans.
Tulane holds an 11-9 series advantage over LSU since the beginning of the 2001 season.
Tulane (26-18) at #4 LSU (33-12)
Tuesday, April 28 – 6:30 p.m. CT
Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. (9,200)
LSU - No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 5 by Baseball America, No. 5 by USA Today/ESPN
Tulane - unranked
· LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
· The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
www.LSUsports.net – live video, audio and stats in the Geaux Zone.
Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge)
LSU leads, 160-124-3 (teams first met in 1893)
LSU – So. RH Ben Alsup (1-0, 4.88 ERA, 24.0 IP, 6 BB, 19 SO)
TU – Jr. LH Aaron Loup (2-3, 5.44 ERA, 41. IP, 5 BB, 40 SO)