No. 6 LSU hosts Tennessee for SEC weekend series

From LSU Sports

BATON ROUGE, La. – Sixth-ranked LSU (31-10-1, 10-7-1 SEC) plays host to Tennessee (25-14, 7-11 SEC) this weekend in a three-game Southeastern Conference series beginning at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

Game 2 is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 12 p.m. Sunday.

The games can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including Baton Rouge flagship WDGL-FM 98.1 FM. Live video, audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at

Saturday's game will be televised by Cox Sports Television, and it may be also be viewed at

LSU, winners of 11 of its last 13 games, is in third place in the overall SEC standings after winning two of three games at No. 10 Ole Miss last weekend. The Tigers trail Alabama and Florida by 1.5 games in the league race with 12 games remaining in the regular season.

LSU has appeared in the Top 10 of a major college baseball poll for 45 consecutive weeks, and the Tigers have won 20 of their 26 SEC series over the past three seasons.

Tennessee, led by third-year coach Dave Serrano, is in sixth place in the SEC Eastern Division. Serrano enjoyed highly successful tenures at UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton prior to taking over the Tennessee program.

"Tennessee has a very talented club, and Dave Serrano is one of the best coaches in the country," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "They always have excellent ball players and have produced a number of big leaguers in recent years. Every weekend in the SEC is a tremendous challenge, and this one is no exception. Our players are preparing to face a very capable team that is looking for a chance to climb in the league standings."

LSU junior right-hander Aaron Nola, a candidate for the 2014 Golden Spikes Award, will start Friday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Nola is 7-1 on the year, and the leads the SEC in ERA (0.88) and strikeouts (91).

The LSU staff is fourth in the SEC in team ERA (2.31), and Tigers have posted a school-record 13 shutouts this season, including a 6-0 blanking of Tulane on Tuesday night.

LSU is ninth in the league in team batting average (.272) and the Tigers have recorded 19 homers and 30 steals in 44 attempts. The Tigers enjoyed one of their best offensive nights of the season in Tuesday's win over Tulane, pounding out 14 hits, including 12 against Green Wave ace Tyler Mapes.

LSU junior infielder Conner Hale was named SEC Player of the Week Monday after hitting .583 (7-for-12) in the Tigers' games last week with one double, one homer, two RBI, eight runs scored and a .643 on-base percentage. In LSU's SEC series victory last weekend at No. 10 Ole Miss, Hale hit .625 (5-for-8) with one double, one homer, one RBI, five runs scored and a .667 on-base percentage.

Sophomore outfielder Andrew Stevenson leads the Tigers with a .360 batting average, and he's collected two doubles, four triples, 22 RBI and 28 runs. Junior catcher Kade Scivicque is batting .313 with four doubles, four homers, 24 RBI and 22 runs.

Tennessee is seventh in the SEC with a .280 team batting average, and the Vols are No. 10 in the league in pitching with a 3.39 ERA.  The Vols have collected 15 homers, and they've stolen 64 bases in 84 attempts.

Freshman infielder Nick Senzel is batting .352 for Tennessee with seven doubles, two triples, one homer and 30 RBI, while sophomore outfielder Christin Stewart is hitting .340 with 13 doubles, five triples, four homers and 30 RBI.

LSU leads the all-time series with Tennessee, 50-21, and this weekend's series marks the first meeting between the clubs since 2011, when the Tigers swept three games from the Vols in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have won six straight games over UT, as LSU also swept the Vols in 2010 in Knoxville.

Prior to 2010, however, the Vols won three straight series over the Tigers, including a 2-1 series victory in 2009 in Baton Rouge.