MSU-LSU Baseball Series Preview

Mississippi State and LSU, both ranked in the top-10, tangle in a three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend at LSU.

Weather - Friday - There is 0% chance of rain during the game. The temperatures should range from the low 60s to the high 50s. | Saturday - Temperatures should be in the 60s and 50s during the game. No rain is expected. | Sunday - There is a 70% chance of rain. And temperatures should be in the low 60s.

Gametimes (CDT) - Friday 6:30 p.m. | Saturday 6:30 p.m. | Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Coaches - LSU head coach Paul Mainieri is entering his 8th season at LSU. He has an overall record of 315-133-2 and is 119-89-2 in SEC play. Five of his teams have advanced to NCAA postseason play with four advancing to a Super Regional and three of those continuing on to the College World Series. One of his teams, the 2009 squad, won the national championship. His teams are 26-10 in NCAA postseason play.

John Cohen, who is entering his sixth season as the head coach at Mississippi State, has an overall record of 177-131 and a 61-88 record in SEC play. His 2011, 2012 and 2013 teams appeared in regionals with his 2011 team advancing to a Super Regional and his 2013 team advancing to the College World Series where they were national runner-up. His teams overall NCAA postseason record is 13-7.

LSU Home/Mississippi State Road Records - LSU is 17-2-1 at home while MSU is 3-4 on the road.

Expected Pitching Rotations - LSU is expected to start freshman LHP Jared Poche' (5-2, 2.61 ERA) Friday, junior RHP Aaron Nola (5-1, 0.55) Saturday and TBA Sunday.

Poche' has been up and down in the SEC this season. In three starts he has thrown 18.0 innings, giving up 11 runs (9 earned) on 12 hits and 10 walks while striking out 10. His ERA is 4.50. He's pitched much better at home than on the road in the SEC with a 1.03 home ERA and a 7.72 road ERA.

Nola has dominated in his three SEC starts. He's allowed just 3 runs (all earned) in 22.0 innings for a 1.23 SEC ERA. In his 22 innings he's given up 14 hits while walking 7 and striking out 25. He's expected to be a high first-round draft pick in the upcoming MLB draft.

Although LSU hasn't announced their Sunday starter, they have thrown three pitchers in the 3rd game of SEC action, junior LHP Zac Person (1-1, 2.93), senior RHP Kurt McCune (1-0, 3.45) and junior LHP Kyle Bouman (3-1, 2.17).

None have pitched that well in their SEC starts. Person allowed 5 runs in 2.2 innings of work against Florida, while McCune allowed 2 runs in 1.2 innings against Georgia and Bouman allowed 3 runs in 4 innings against Vanderbilt.

Mississippi State is expected to start junior LHP Ross Mitchell (5-1, 1.55) Friday, junior RHP Trevor Fitts (2-1, 3.09) Saturday and possibly sophomore RHP Preston Brown (3-1, 1.95) Sunday.

Mitchell has been exceptional in SEC games this season. In his three SEC starts he has allowed 4 runs on 14 hits and 6 walks while striking out 10 in 25.1 innings. His SEC ERA is 1.42. He has thrown 2 complete games in SEC action.

Fitts has been solid in SEC action. In his three SEC starts he has thrown 14.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 13 hits and 2 walks while striking out 15. His SEC ERA is 1.88. Normally, he'll throw between 3+ to 6+ innings in the SEC.

Brown has been fairly good in SEC action. He's battling a minor injury right now but could be ready to go by Sunday. In his two SEC outings he's given up 6 runs on 14 hits and 2 walks to go along with 7 strikeouts in 13 innings for a 4.15 SEC ERA. Prior to taking over the Friday starting spot in the SEC rotation he was MSU's mid-week starter.

Relief Pitching - LSU will primarily use five pitchers in SEC action, junior RHP Joe Broussard (0-0, 5 saves, 0.71), junior LHP Zac Person (1-1, 0, 2.93), freshman RHP Parker Bugg (0-1, 2, 1.04), senior RHP Nate Fury (1-1, 0, 2.92) and junior LHP Alden Faucheux (1-0, 0, 2.51).

Broussard has been LSU's closer this season. He's appeared in 5 of 9 SEC games this year. In 3.2 innings of work he has allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. He was roughed up in his last outing (against Florida), giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk in 1.2 innings of work.

Person has been very versatile in SEC action, throwing in middle relief, closing and pitching late in the game. In the 4 games that he has relieved in he has thrown 5.2, allowing 0 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9.

Bugg has appeared in three SEC games. In 7 innings he has given up 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5. He's a middle reliever for LSU.

Fury has also appeared in 3 SEC games this season. In his 2.2 innings of work he has allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks to go along with his 3 Ks.

Faucheux has thrown in 3 SEC games this season. He's allowed 4 runs on 2 hits and 6 walks while striking out 3 in 6.1 innings of work.

Mississippi State is expected to primarily use four pitchers in relief, senior RHP Ben Bracewell (2-2, 0 Saves, 2.00 ERA), sophomore RHP Myles Gentry (0-0, 2, 3.29), junior RHP Jonathan Holder (2-1, 4, 2.60) and junior LHP Jacob Lindgren (3-0, 2, 0.93).

Bracewell has thrown in 2 SEC games, 1 as a starter and 1 as a reliever. He's given up 3 runs (2 earned) in 6 innings, while allowing 8 hits and walking 2 to go along with his 8 Ks. He's likely to be used in long relief if one of the starters is taken out early in the game.

Gentry is more of a middle reliever. In his 2 SEC appearances he has given up 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks to go along with his 2 Ks in 3.0 innings of work.

Holder, who is MSU's closer, has appeared in 3 SEC games so far this season. He's allowed 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9 in 4.2 innings of work.

Like Holder, Lindgren has appeared in 3 SEC games this season. He's pitched about double the amount of innings that Holder has, throwing 8.2 innings. He's allowed 2 runs (both unearned) on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 15 batters.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in the Last 5 Games - LSU is led at the plate by junior Kade Scivicque who comes in hitting .368 (7-of-19, 4 RBI) in his last five games. Junior Conner Hale is close behind at .350 (7-of-20, 0 RBI). Freshman Jake Fraley comes in at .300 (3-of-10, 2 RBI), as does junior Tyler Moore (3-of-10, 0 RBI). Sophomore Andrew Stevenson is hitting .294 (5-of-17, 0 RBI), senior Christian Ibarra comes in at .182 (2-of-11, 3 RBI), sophomore Mark Laird is hitting .158 (3-of-19, 1 RBI), senior Sean McMullen comes in at.143 (3-of-21, 3 RBI) and sophomore Alex Bregman is hitting .056 (1-of-18, 3 RBI). In part-time duty freshman Kramer Robertson is hitting .111 (1-of-9, 2 RBI).

Mississippi State is led at the plate by freshman Gavin Collins who is hitting .455 (5-of-11, 0 RBI) in the last five games. Close behind is senior Derrick Armstrong who comes in hitting .444 (8-of-18, 3 RBI). Coming in next is junior Zack Randolph at .333 (4-of-12, 2 RBI) as does senior Demarcus Henderson (4-of-12, 0 RBI). Next is senior Brett Pirtle who is hitting .313 (5-of-16, 0 RBI). Junior Jake Vickerson is hitting .308 (4-of-13, 2 RBI), senior Alex Detz is hitting .231 (3-of-13, 4 RBI), junior Wes Rea is batting .211 (4-of-19, 2 RBI), junior Seth Heck is hitting at a .059 clip (1-of-17, 0 RBI) while junior Matthew Britton is hitting .000 (0-of-11, 0 RBI).

How LSU and MSU Match Up
LSU Category Mississippi State
21-8-1 Record 20-10
.274 Batting Average .270
179 (6.0 pg) Runs 159 (5.3 pg)
14 Home Runs 6
.364 OB % .378
24-35 Stolen Bases-Attempts 45-59
110 (3.7 pg) Walks 144 (4.8 pg)
119 (4.0 pg) Strikeouts 166 (5.5 pg)
210 (7.0 pg) LOB 245 (8.2 pg)
2.29 Team ERA 2.76
8 Saves 10
75 (2.5 pg) Walks 99 (3.3 pg)
221 (7.4 pg) Strikeouts 256 (8.5 pg)
.211 Batting Average Against .242
.979 Fielding % .985

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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