POSTED: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 6:04pm
STARKVILLE, MS — No. 2 LSU (16-1, 0-0 SEC) opens Southeastern Conference action this weekend as the Tigers face eighth-ranked Mississippi State at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss.
Game 1 of the series starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Game 2 begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
The games can be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net . Live video of the games on Friday and Sunday is also available in the Geaux Zone, and Saturday's game may be viewed at www.ESPN3.com .
Saturday's game will be televised live on Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast.
The Tigers have won 11 straight games since dropping a 9-4 decision to BYU on February 23. LSU is No. 2 in the SEC with a .321 team batting average, and the Tigers have recorded 13 homers and 19 steals in 26 attempts. LSU is No. 6 in the league in team ERA at 2.41.
"Our players are very excited and ready to go to Starkville," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "Dudy Noble Field provides a great environment, and it's a challenging place to play, but I think we'll embrace the opportunity to compete against an excellent Mississippi State ball club. LSU-Mississippi State in my opinion has been one of the most important rivalries in the history of college baseball. The rivalry that began in the '80s with (former LSU coach) Skip Bertman and (former MSU coach) Ron Polk really shaped the game as we know it today."
Mainieri said that LSU sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola (2-0, 2.77 ERA) will start Friday's game on the mound for the Tigers, followed by junior right-hander Ryan Eades (3-0, 1.80) on Saturday and sophomore left-hander Cody Glenn (3-0, 0.73) on Sunday. Mississippi State coach John Cohen will counter with sophomore left-hander Jacob Lindgren (2-0, 0.96), junior right-hander Evan Mitchell (0-0, 2.30) and senior right-hander Kendall Graveman (1-1, 2.61).
LSU freshman outfielder Mark Laird is batting a sizzling .455 over the last 10 games with five RBI, 10 runs scored and a .550 on-base percentage. Junior third baseman Christian Ibarra is hitting .433 over the last 10 games with two doubles, nine RBI and five runs scored. Ibarra provided the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning RBI single to break a 3-3 tie in the Tigers' 9-3 win over Nicholls State on Wednesday night.
LSU senior first baseman Mason Katz is hitting .400 over the Tigers' past 10 games with two doubles, one triple, four homers and 16 RBI. Katz has homered four times in the past three games, including a two-run blast in Wednesday's win over Nicholls State.
Freshman shortstop Alex Bregman is hitting .429 over the past 10 games with four doubles, two triples, one homer and 10 RBI.
The Bulldogs are led at the plate by junior outfielder/catcher Hunter Renfroe, who is batting .436 with five doubles, two triples, five homers and 23 RBI. Junior infielder Alex Detz is hitting .418 with six doubles, one triple and 18 RBI, and junior infielder Adam Frazier is batting .403 with four doubles, four triples and 12 RBI.
Mississippi State is hitting an SEC-best .324 as a team with nine home runs and 28 stolen bases in 36 attempts. The Bulldogs are No. 2 in the league in team ERA at 1.84.
Mississippi State leads the overall series with LSU, 199-170-1, and the first meeting between the teams occurred in 1905. Last year, the Tigers won two of three regular-season games over the Bulldogs in Baton Rouge, but MSU defeated LSU twice in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. LSU has won 13 of the last 20 meetings between the clubs. LSU has also posted six straight regular-season series wins over the Bulldogs. Mississippi State's last regular-season series win over LSU came in 2006, when the Bulldogs won two of three games in the original Alex Box Stadium. LSU has won four straight regular-season series in Starkville - the Tigers' last series loss at Dudy Noble Field came in 2003, when the Bulldogs won two of three games.
#2 LSU Fighting Tigers (16-1, 0-0 SEC) at #8 Mississippi State Bulldogs (18-2, 0-0 SEC)
Friday, March 15 - 6:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 16 - 6 p.m. CT
Sunday, March 17 - 1:30 p.m. CT
Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss. (15,000)
LSU - No. 2 by USA Today; No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 7 by Baseball America
MSU - No. 8 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 11 by USA Today, No. 13 by Baseball America
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
Pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to first pitch
Friday - none
Saturday - Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast
Sunday - none