LSU baseball kicks off campus doubleheader

LSU baseball kicks off campus doubleheader
Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer

POSTED: Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 3:00pm

UPDATED: Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 3:04pm

The seventh-ranked LSU baseball team plays a rare midweek game at 3 p.m. Wednesday when the Tigers play host to McNeese State in Alex Box Stadium. The LSU-McNeese State game precedes the LSU men's basketball game versus Georgia, which tips off at 7 p.m. in the Maravich Center.

"We're looking forward to playing a 'businessman's special,'" said LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri. "We're so happy for (LSU basketball coach) Trent Johnson and his team - they've won three in a row and they're playing so well. It's a nice doubleheader for LSU fans - baseball in the afternoon and basketball after our game."

The LSU-McNeese State game will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, with Baton Rouge affiliate WDGL 98.1 FM serving as the flagship station. Live video and audio of the game may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at

LSU climbed in the baseball rankings released Monday, moving up to No. 7 in the Baseball America poll and No. 9 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

LSU (3-0) opened the 2012 season last weekend with two victories over Air Force and a win over Alcorn State. The Tigers began the year ranked No. 8 by Baseball America and No. 12 by Collegiate Baseball.

LSU outscored its opposition, 33-2, over the weekend, defeating Air Force 10-2 on Friday and 4-0 on Sunday, and Alcorn State 19-0 on Saturday. The Tigers recorded back-to-back shutouts over Alcorn State and Air Force, marking the first time LSU posted consecutive shutouts since April 2008 when it blanked Centenary and Alabama.

The Tigers' 19 runs in the Alcorn State game marked LSU's highest total since it scored 25 runs against Centenary on February 20, 2010. The Tigers' 19-run margin of victory was their largest since defeating Duquesne 24-5 on February 24, 2001.

McNeese State enters Wednesday's game with a 1-1 mark after splitting two games with Houston Baptist over the weekend. Cowboys coach Terry Burrows will send senior right-hander Ryan Sampere to the mound as the MSU starter.

"Terry Burrows is an outstanding coach, and he is building a great program at McNeese," Mainieri said. "We expect a tremendous challenge from their team. Two years ago we won a 2-1 game against them, and we had to make a great catch in the outfield in the ninth inning to preserve the win."

Mainieri said sophomore right-hander Joe Broussard will start Wednesday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Broussard made his 2012 season debut last Saturday against Alcorn State, when he recorded two shutout innings with three strikeouts.

Three LSU hitters collected four hits in the Tigers' three wins last weekend, including sophomore catcher Ty Ross (4-for-7, 2 RBI, 2 runs), sophomore outfielder Jackson Slaid (4-for-8, 1 double, 3 RBI, 2 runs) and junior outfielder Raph Rhymes (4-for-9, 2 RBI, 5 runs). Junior first baseman/outfielder Mason Katz collected three hits, including a triple, and a team-best five RBI, and sophomore outfielder JaCoby Jones produced a double and four RBI.

Freshman infielder/outfielder Jared Foster, a backup quarterback for the LSU football team last fall, was 2-for-5 at the plate over the weekend with a double, three RBI and one run. Senior infielder Beau Didier blasted a solo homer Saturday in LSU's win over Alcorn State, the second dinger of his career and his first since 2009, when he homered in his only at-bat of the season.

LSU leads the all-time series with McNeese State, 24-9, including a 6-0 victory over the Cowboys last season in Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers have won six straight games over the Cowboys; McNeese State's last win over LSU came in 2000, a 4-3 decision in Lake Charles.

The teams will meet for a second time this season next Wednesday, February 29, at Cowboy Diamond in Lake Charles.

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