POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 5:34pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (LSUSPORTS.NET) — Second-ranked LSU (46-7, 21-6 SEC) concludes the 2013 regular season with a three-game SEC series against No. 14 Ole Miss (35-18, 14-13 SEC) in Alex Box Stadium.
Game 1 of the series starts at 6:30 p.m. today, Game 2 starts at 7 p.m. Friday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 12 p.m. Saturday.
The games can be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) and live audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net .
Thursday’s game will be televised by ESPNU, Friday’s game will be televised by Cox Sports Television and Saturday’s contest will be televised by the CBS Sports Network.
LSU clinched the 2013 SEC Western Division title Saturday with a 2-1 victory at Texas A&M. The division title was LSU’s second in a row and its fourth during coach Paul Mainieri’s seven-season tenure with the Tigers.
LSU’s 46 regular-season wins is the most recorded in school history since the NCAA adopted a standardized 56-game regular-season schedule in 1992. The 46 wins exceeds the mark set by the 1997 LSU club, which completed its regular season with a 45-11 record.
LSU’s 21 SEC wins this season are the most by a Fighting Tiger squad since the 1998 team posted a 21-9 league record. The LSU record for SEC wins in a season is 22, set in 1986 and 1997.
“It’s important that we continue to play well during the final week of the regular season,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We have to build momentum as we head into the postseason, and I know our players have several significant goals in mind as we head down the stretch.
“We’re certainly looking forward to the series with Ole Miss; they have a very talented team and a great coach, Mike Bianco, who played at LSU. We’ve had some tremendous games with them over the years and we always enjoy competing against them.”
Mainieri said sophomore left-hander will start Thursday’s game on the mound for the Tigers, followed by junior right-hander Kurt McCune on Friday and junior right-hander Ryan Eades on Saturday. LSU ace right-hander Aaron Nola has been given the week off, and he is scheduled to start LSU’s opening game in the SEC Tournament next Wednesday.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, an LSU catcher from 1988-89 and an LSU assistant coach from 1993-97, will counter with junior right-hander Mike Mayers on Thursday, sophomore right-hander Sam Smith on Friday and junior right-hander Bobby Wahl on Saturday.
LSU is No. 2 in the SEC with a 2.37 team ERA, and the Tigers’ staff is fourth in the league in strikeouts with 412. Ole Miss is No. 5 in the SEC with a 2.92 team ERA, and Rebel pitchers have recorded 379 strikeouts, which is seventh in the league.
LSU reliever Chris Cotton earned a save and win last weekend at Texas A&M, improving his record to 3-1 and his saves total to 11 in 28 appearances out of the bullpen. Cotton worked a total of 2.2 scoreless innings against the Aggies, allowing just one hit with no walks and one strikeout.
Cotton’s fellow reliever, junior right-hander Nick Rumbelow, also turned in two effective outings against the Aggies, firing two scoreless innings with no hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
LSU is second in the SEC with a .312 team batting average, and the Tigers have the league’s second-highest total of home runs with 37. Ole Miss is No. 6 in the league with a .277 team batting average, and the Rebels have belted 19 dingers, which ranks 11th in the conference.
LSU freshman shortstop Alex Bregman is hitting .393 on the year, and he leads the SEC in base hits (88), triples (7) and total bases (132). Senior first baseman Mason Katz is batting .380 with 13 home runs, and he leads the conference in RBI with 63.
Senior leftfielder Raph Rhymes, the 2012 SEC Player of the Year, is batting .343 with 13 doubles and 37 RBI.
Ole Miss is led at the plate by junior catcher Stuart Turner, who is hitting .389 with 15 doubles, five homers and 46 RBI. Senior infielder Andrew Mistone is batting .309 with 10 doubles and 31 RBI, while sophomore outfielder Auston Bousfield is hitting .291 with nine doubles, three triples, two homers and 23 RBI.
LSU leads the all-time series with Ole Miss, 166-142, in a series that began in 1906. LSU has captured 10 of its last 14 regular-season series with Ole Miss, including a 2-1 series victory last season in Oxford. The Tigers also defeated the Rebels, 11-2, in an elimination game in the 2012 SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
LSU has won 16 consecutive regular-season series in Baton Rouge over Ole Miss. The Rebels’ last series victory over the Tigers in Alex Box Stadium came in 1982, when Ole Miss won two of three to close the season.