LSU has early start at SEC tourney
From LSU Sports
HOOVER, Ala. – Eighth-ranked LSU (40-14-1) opens SEC Tournament play at 9:30 a.m. CT Wednesday against No. 10 Vanderbilt in Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The game can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including Baton Rouge flagship WDGL-FM 98.1 FM. Live audio and stats of the game may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net, and live video will be available at ESPN3.com.
The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net, including cable Ch. 38 in Baton Rouge.
LSU, ranked No. 8 this week by USA Today, has appeared in the Top 10 of a major college baseball poll for 49 consecutive weeks, and the Tigers have won 22 of their 30 SEC series over the past three seasons.
The Tigers finished the regular-season as the No. 3 team in the Southeastern Conference, while Vanderbilt finished sixth. The Commodores defeated 11th-seeded Tennessee, 3-2, on Tuesday in a first-round tournament elimination game.
With a three-game sweep at Auburn last weekend, LSU posted 40 wins in a season for the sixth time in coach Paul Mainieri's eight-season tenure at LSU and for the 26th time in the past 31 seasons.
LSU leads the nation this season in shutouts with 16, including two last week – 27-0 vs. Northwestern State on Tuesday and 10-0 at Auburn on Thursday. The Tigers enter the SEC Tournament riding a four-game win streak in which LSU has outscored its opposition, 56-4.
"We've always taken pride in playing our best during the postseason, and we're entering the SEC Tournament with a lot of confidence," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We've had a lot of success in Hoover recently, winning the tournament four times in the last six years. We want to continue to play well in order to have a chance to win a championship and to enhance our resume as a potential NCAA regional host site."
Freshman left-hander Jared Poche' (9-3) will start Wednesday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Poche defeated Auburn last Thursday, limiting AU to no runs on three hits in eight innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
Vanderbilt will counter with junior left-hander Jared Miller (6-1), who defeated LSU on May 15 in Nashville. Miller limited the Tigers to one run on two hits in 6.2 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
Junior catcher/first baseman Tyler Moore earned National Player of the Week recognition Monday from Collegiate Baseball magazine after leading LSU to four straight victories. Moore batted .500 (8-for-16) with three doubles, one homer, 13 RBI and six runs scored. In Tuesday's win over Northwestern State. He produced a career-best eight RBI and launched the first grand slam of his career. In LSU's three-game SEC sweep at Auburn, Moore batted .417 (5-for-12) with two doubles, five RBI, two runs scored and a .462 on-base percentage.
Freshman outfielder Jake Fraley hit a blistering .667 (10-for-15) in LSU's four wins last week with one double, one homer, three RBI, three runs and .688 on-base percentage. Fraley batted .636 (7-for-11) in the Tigers' three-game SEC series sweep at Auburn with one RBI, two runs scored, one stolen base and a .667 on-base percentage. Fraley raised his cumulative average to a team-best .372 (35-for-94) with seven doubles, one triple, three homers and 27 RBI.
Vanderbilt is led at the plate by sophomore infielder Dansby Swanson, who is hitting .333 with 20 doubles, two triples, three homers and 30 RBI. Freshman outfielder Bryan Reynolds is batting .318 with 21 doubles, one triple, four homers and 42 RBI, and junior infielder Vince Conde is hitting .305 with nine doubles, one triple, four homers and 42 RBI.
LSU has a league-best 68-38 (.642) all-time record in the SEC Tournament, and the Tigers own a conference-high 10 tournament titles. Alabama and Mississippi State are second behind LSU with seven tournament titles, and Ole Miss is third with five championships. LSU has won four of the past six SEC Tournament crowns, claiming the title in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013. LSU posted a 4-1 tournament mark en route to the title last season, defeating Vanderbilt, 5-4 in 11 innings, in the championship game. The Tigers are 18-4 under eighth-year coach Paul Mainieri in SEC Tournament games.
LSU has a 54-40 all-time mark against Vanderbilt, though the Commodores won two of three games over the Tigers earlier this season (March 14-15). Vanderbilt has won the last six regular-season series between the schools and has a 14-4 mark in those contests. LSU's last SEC series victory over the Commodores came in Nashville in 2005, when the Tigers won two of three games. LSU, however, has won four of its last five SEC Tournament games against Vanderbilt, beginning with the second round of the 2008 tournament. The Tigers defeated the Commodores in SEC Tournament championship games in 2009 and 2013. LSU posted a 5-4, 11-inning victory over the Commodores in the championship game of the 2013 SEC Tournament.