LSU plays host to Holy Cross in Alex Box Stadium - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

LSU plays host to Holy Cross in Alex Box Stadium

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BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 13 LSU (4-0) opens a three-game series versus Holy Cross at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium. Game 2 of the series starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is Noon Sunday.

Live video, audio and stats of all three games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. All three games can be also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.

LSU is ranked No. 13 this week in the Collegiate Baseball magazine poll. The Tigers have won their first four games by a combined score of 41-8 while recording a .348 team batting average and a 1.50 team ERA.

Friday's game will mark the 2011 season opener for Holy Cross, located in Worcester, Mass. The Crusaders, members of the Patriot League, posted a 26-26 overall mark last season and finished third in the conference with a 10-10 record.

"I know that Holy Cross has a veteran club and a lot of quality arms on their pitching staff," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Teams from the Northeast have tough players that play baseball in very difficult conditions, so I know the Holy Cross team is composed of hard-nosed kids who love the game. We're going to have to continue to play at a high level to beat them."

Mainieri said that freshman right-hander Kevin Gausman will start Game 1 on the mound for the Tigers. Gausman made his collegiate debut last Saturday against Wake Forest, allowing two runs on six hits in 5.2 innings with no walks and six strikeouts.

Freshman right-hander Kurt McCune, named SEC Pitcher of the Week on Monday, will start Saturday's game for the Tigers. McCune fired six shutout innings last Sunday against Wake Forest, allowing just one hit with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Senior right-hander Ben Alsup will take the mound on Sunday after working five innings in a win over Wake Forest last Friday. Alsup surrendered just one unearned run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Holy Cross coach Greg DiCenzo will counter on Friday with junior left-hander John Pedrotty, who was 5-1 with a 7.27 ERA as a reliever last season.

LSU preseason all-America centerfielder Mikie Mahtook is hitting .417 through four games with team-highs of four homers, eight RBI and seven runs. Junior third baseman Tyler Hanover is batting a blistering .600 with two doubles, one RBI and five runs, while sophomore rightfielder Mason Katz is hitting .462 with four doubles, one homer, seven RBI and seven runs.

The Crusaders have seven returning starters in their lineup, including senior outfielder Jack Laurendeau, who hit .355 last season with seven homer and 25 RBI. Other top hitters returning for Holy Cross include senior first baseman Eric Oxford (.302, 4 HR, 38 RBI) and senior outfielder Nick Ciardiello (.368, 10 HR, 57 RBI).

Friday's series opener marks the first meeting between LSU and Holy Cross, though the Tigers have faced some of the Crusaders' Patriot League brethren. LSU has a 2-0 all-time mark against Army, 2-1 versus Bucknell, 4-0 versus Colgate, 0-1 against Lafayette and 9-3 versus Navy.

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