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Around The SEC

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Around The SEC brings you results and standings after each weekend of SEC baseball action. Series winners are in bold. Series sweepers are in italicized-bold.

  • Auburn vs. Mississippi State
  • Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee
  • Texas A&M vs. Missouri
  • Kentucky at LSU
  • Florida vs. Alabama
  • Arkansas vs. Ole Miss

Series Of The Week

  • Georgia at South Carolina

Two road teams won series over the weekend, and both were surprising results. While Kentucky won at LSU, Georgia won at South Carolina for the first time since 1994, doing it via a 6-5, 4-3 doubleheader sweep. SC had three errors in that DH.

SEC Standings (click to enlarge)

standingsProvided by D1Baseball.com.

 

Poll Speak Monday

Chris Sciambra slides into a base during the Tigers' rubber match loss to Kentucky. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Chris Sciambra slides into a base during the Tigers’ rubber match loss to Kentucky. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Each Monday, you can track the Tigers in the polls as the rankings are released. 

LSU went 2-2 this week, winning at Tulane 13-7 and dropping two of three games to Kentucky in a three-game series at home.

Polls

RPI

(previous week’s ranking)

On Deck

  • Tuesday, 7 p.m. (CST): vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Zephyr Field, Metarie)
  • Thursday, 7 p.m.: at Alabama (Regions Park, Hoover)
  • Friday, 7 p.m.: at Alabama (Regions Park, Hoover)
  • Saturday, 2 p.m.: at Alabama (Regions Park, Hoover)

Balls and Strikes: Kentucky 12, LSU 10

Collin Strall allowed two runs in the top of the eighth inning. The Tigers surrendered four runs in the frame, blowing their 8-5 lead.

Collin Strall allowed two runs in the top of the eighth inning. The Tigers surrendered four runs in the frame, blowing their 8-5 lead.

General Info

  • Coverage: Game story
  • Twitter:   @DellengerAdv, @BarrecaAdvocate
  • On Deck: vs. University of Louisiana-Lafayette (Zephyr Field), 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.
  • In The Hole: at Alabama, 7:00 p.m. Thursday

STRIKES

  • Foster Fireworks: There may need to be a warning sign placed in the left field bleachers: “Beware for Jared Foster home run balls.” After hitting a mammoth two-run shot in Saturday night’s contest, Foster followed with another bomb on Sunday afternoon, tying the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning with another two-run homer.
  • Hale’s Homer:  Foster wasn’t the only one who wanted to get in on the fireworks show. Two batters later, senior third baseman Conner Hale decided to flex his muscles, firing a two-run home run over the left-center field wall. It was Hale’s fourth homer of the season, tying his career-high.
  • Bain And Newman Shine: Jake Godfrey’s struggles on the mound knocked the Tigers down, but sophomore Hunter Newman and freshman Austin Bain helped pick the squad back up from a four-run deficit. The right-handed duo combined for five innings of one-run baseball, allowing only four hits over that span.

BALLS

  • Godfrey Stumbles: LSU freshman right-hander Jake Godfrey has seen better days on the mound. After seemingly cruising in the top of he first inning against Kentucky, things began to unravel in the top of the second. Three consecutive Wildcats batters hit the first pitch of their respective at-bats: one went for a home run, and the other two were singles. After allowing another two singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly, Godfrey was yanked for sophomore reliever Hunter Newman.
  • Bullpen Blunders: After Hunter Newman and Austin Bain combined to toss five innings of one-run ball, two of LSU’s more-reliable relievers faltered in the top of the eighth. Sophomore right-hander Collin Strall allowed a single and a double to lead off the frame. Senior left-hander Zac Person didn’t fare much better after he came in afterward. Kentucky proceeded to score four runs off the duo, blowing LSU’s 8-5 lead and putting the Wildcats in a position to potentially win the series.
  • Outfield Circus: Kentucky tied the game with two outs in the top of the ninth on an inside-the-park home run to left field. Senior left fielder Jared Foster missed the initial catch on a diving attempt, then junior shortstop Alex Bregman slipped while trying to pick up the ball. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Pregame: LSU vs. Kentucky (G3)

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.

General Info

Jake Godfrey starts on Sunday in the rubber match. (Patrick Dennis)

Jake Godfrey starts on Sunday in the rubber match. (Patrick Dennis)

  • What: LSU (23-4, 5-3 SEC) vs. Kentucky (17-10, 3-5)
  • When: 11 a.m. Sunday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Starting pitchers: LSU Fr. RHP Jake Godfrey (5-0, 2.25) vs. UK RHP Kyle Cody (2-2, 4.88)
  • TV: None
  • In-game updates on Twitter: @Dellenger Adv@BarrecaAdvocate
  • On deck: vs. University of Louisiana-Lafayette, 7 p.m. Tuesday (Zephyr Field)
  • In the hole: at Alabama, 7 p.m. Thursday (Hoover, Alabama)

Links To Know

Lineups

LSU

  • Jake Fraley, LF
  • Mark Larid, RF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Conner Hale, 3B
  • Kade Scivicque, C
  • Andrew Stevenson, CF
  • Chris Chinea, 1B
  • Chris Sciambra, DH
  • Jared Foster, 2B

Kentucky

  • Kyle Barrett, CF
  • Evan White, 1B
  • Ka’ai Tom, LF
  • JaVon Shelby, 2B
  • Dorian Hairston, RF
  • Thomas Bernal, 3B
  • Zach Arnold, C
  • Marcus Carson, DH
  • Connor Heady, SS

Balls and Strikes: LSU 7, Kentucky 3

Chris Chinea hit an inside-the-park HR on Saturday evening against Kentucky. (PATRICK DENNIS)

Chris Chinea hit an inside-the-park HR on Saturday evening against Kentucky. (PATRICK DENNIS)

General Info

  • Coverage: Game story
  • Twitter:   @DellengerAdv, @BarrecaAdvocate
  • On Deck: vs. Kentucky, 11:00 a.m. Sunday
  • In The Hole: vs. University of Louisiana-Lafayette (Zephyr Field), 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.

STRIKES

  • Chris “Speed Demon” Chinea: There were likely more people who picked Notre Dame to upset Kentucky basketball in the NCAA Tournament than there were who picked Chris Chinea’s first home run of the season to be an inside-the-parker. But Chinea’s homer sealed the deal on Saturday night, giving LSU a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth. “I’ve been working with Mark Laird, who hit one the other day,” Chinea said. “He taught me how to do inside-the-parkers. I took his advice, worked in the cage, and happened to do it.”
  • The Spectacular Lange: How did LSU freshman right-hander Alex Lange follow up his last outing at Alex Box Stadium (where he recorded 13 strikeouts against Ole Miss)? Just by striking out another 13 batters against an SEC opponent. The rookie was electric on Saturday night, tossing seven innings of one-run ball and allowing only six hits.
  • Fraley’s Grab: With two outs and two runners on in the top of the eighth inning of a 2-2 game, sophomore shortstop Connor Heady launched a ball destined for the left field fence. Jake Fraley wouldn’t allow it. The Middletown, Delaware, native made a leaping grab at the wall to preserve the tie.

BALLS

  • Bregman’s Bad Luck: Despite making decent contact on Saturday night, LSU junior shortstop Alex Bregman’s batting average continues to take a dip. Bregman finished 1-for-5 at the plate in the second game of the Kentucky series, and his average currently sits at .309.
  • Not-So-Clutch Hitting: LSU has had better days with runners in scoring position. As a team, the Tigers batted .154 (2-for-13), and the offense didn’t pick up until the bottom of the eighth inning as a result.

Pregame: LSU vs. Kentucky

Jesse Stallings likely won't be available on Saturday after tossing 3.2 innings on Friday evening.

Jesse Stallings likely won’t be available on Saturday after tossing 3.2 innings on Friday evening.

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.

General Info

  • What: LSU (22-4, 4-3 SEC) vs. Kentucky (17-9, 3-4)
  • When: 7 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Starting pitchers: Kentucky, Jr. RHP Dustin Beggs (3-2, 3.44 ERA) vs. LSU, Fr. RHP Alex Lange (5-0, 1.42 ERA)
  • TV: None
  • In-game updates on Twitter: @Dellenger Adv@BarrecaAdvocate
  • On deck: vs. Kentucky, 11 a.m., Sunday
  • In the hole: at University of Louisiana-Lafayette, 7 p.m. Tuesday

Links To Know

What’s At Stake

  • If someone would have told LSU coach Paul Mainieri that he would have started out 4-3 in SEC play against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Kentucky, he probably wouldn’t have been a happy camper. He’ll need rookie right-hander Alex Lange to give his team a spark after the Tigers dropped the series opener last night.

What To Watch

  • Lange’s Dominance: LSU freshman Alex Lange has been as good as they come in the Saturday night role. He currently leads LSU’s staff in ERA (1.42) and strikeouts (45), and he has surrendered the fewest walks (10). He has also held opponents to a .183 batting average this season. Considering sophomore southpaw Jared Poche’ failed to hold down Kentucky’s bats in the series opener, Lange will have to get his squad back on track tonight.
  • 2-3-4 Struggles: Last night was a night to forget for LSU’s 2-3-4 hitters. Juniors Mark Laird and Alex Bregman and senior Conner Hale combined for a 2-for-15 evening at the plate, though Laird and Bregman did draw three walks.  Unfortunately for the trio, Kentucky junior Dustin Beggs has held opposing batters to a .222 mark this season.
  • Life Without A Closer: Paul Mainieri won’t have his typical closer on Saturday (and possibly even Sunday). In an effort to preserve a tie game last night in extras, redshirt freshman Jesse Stallings tossed 3.2 innings, allowing two runs in the top of the 12th inning to drop his first contest of his career. Because of the workload, Stallings will likely be unavailable tonight.

Know Your Opponent

  • Kentucky junior right-hander Dustin Beggs is no slouch on the mound. He has struck out 28 batters in 36.2 innings pitched, walking only 10 in that span. That being said, he’s had trouble with keeping the ball in the yard this season, allowing five home runs.

Lineups

LSU

  1. Jake Fraley, LF
  2. Mark Laird, RF
  3. Alex Bregman, SS
  4. Conner Hale, 3B
  5. Kade Scivicque, C
  6. Andrew Stevenson, CF
  7. Chris Chinea, 1B
  8. Chris Sciambra, DH
  9. Jared Foster, 2B

Kentucky

  1. Kyle Barrett, CF
  2. Evan White, 1B
  3. Ka’ai Tom, LF
  4. JaVon Shelby, 2B
  5. Storm Wilson, DH
  6. Marcus Carson, RF
  7. Riley Mahan, 3B
  8. Greg Fettes, C
  9. Connor Heady, SS

Balls and Strikes: Kentucky 5, LSU 4

Jared Poche' stumbled in the top of the seventh after pitching six shutout innings. (AP)

Jared Poche stumbled in the top of the seventh after pitching six shutout innings. (AP)

General Info

  • Coverage: Game story
  • Twitter:   @DellengerAdv, @BarrecaAdvocate
  • On Deck: vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
  • In The Hole: vs. Kentucky, 11:00 a.m. Sunday

STRIKES

  • Bullpen Almost Saves The Day: LSU needed a lift after sophomore left-hander Jared Poche’ struggled in the top of the seventh. The Tigers’ bullpen gave the squad just that. Three LSU relievers – Parker Bugg, Zac Person and Jesse Stallings – combined to toss 4  innings, holding down the Wildcats’ offense until the top of the 12th.  Stallings did allow two runs, but it came after 3.2 innings on the mound.
  • Sciambra’s Wild Night: It wasn’t all good for senior designated hitter Chris Sciambra on Friday night. Fact: Sciambra did reach base three times on Friday night in the leadoff spot. Also a fact: he did so by hitting a chopper to second base for an infield single, by launching the world’s first-ever (possibly) ground-rule single and by reaching first base on a strikeout after the ball got away from the catcher. The result was a 2-for-4 night with an RBI.
  • Stevenson Still Streaking: LSU junior center fielder Andrews Stevenson extended his hitting streak to 12 games after roping a single in the bottom of the second inning.

BALLS

  • Poche’ Stumbles Late: For six innings, LSU sophomore southpaw Jared Poche’ was nearly untouchable. In fact, he didn’t allow a Kentucky base runner until the top of the fifth. But when the Wildcats came to the plate in the top of the seventh, things began to unravel for the Lutcher, Louisiana, native. After allowing a one-out double, Poche’ surrendered an RBI single to Kentucky senior third baseman Thomas Bernal. Poche’ proceeded to allow three more singles in the inning, resulting in three runs and a blown lead.
  • Corner Defense: After going four games without making an error, the LSU defense faltered on Friday night. In the top of the fifth inning, senior third baseman Conner Hale made a throwing error. Junior first baseman Chris Chinea didn’t fare any better on the opposite side of the diamond. After failing to scoop a throw from senior second baseman Jared Foster on a double play attempt in the top of the fifth, Chinea made a fielding error one inning later. He also failed to make a play on a hard chopper in the top of the 12th, resulting in a game-winning two-run double for Kentucky.

Pregame: LSU vs. Kentucky

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.

General Info

  • What: LSU (22-3, 4-2 SEC) vs. Kentucky (16-9, 2-4)
  • When: 7 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Starting pitchers: UK sophomore RHP Zack Brown (2-2, 2.43 ERA) vs. LSU sophomore LHP Jared Poché (5-1, 3.37 ERA)
  • TV: None
  • In-game updates on Twitter: @Dellenger Adv, @BarrecaAdvocate
  • On deck: vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
  • In the hole: vs. Kentucky, 11 a.m., Sunday

Links To Know

What’s At Stake

  • For Jared Poché, this is a chance for a rebound from what he calls the worst outing of his life – not just his career. He lasted less than four innings and gave up 10 hits and five runs in a 5-1 loss to Arkansas last Thursday.

What To Watch

  • Bats vs. Brown: LSU leads the nation in batting average (.332), but UK pitcher Zack Brown holds opposing players to a .182 batting average. So who wins out? The Tigers have scored 15 or more hits in three straight games – something that hasn’t happened since May 2011.

    Andrew Stevenson leads the team with an 11-game hitting streak. He's made some good catches, too. (Patrick Dennis)

    Andrew Stevenson leads the team with an 11-game hitting streak. He’s made some good catches, too. (Patrick Dennis)

  • The streaks: Beside the team’s 15-plus hits streak, Andrew Stevenson and Kade Scivicque are carrying hit streaks of their own. Stevenson has hit safely in 11 straight games, and Scivicque has hit safely in eight straight. Both players, too, have made some spectacular defensive plays – Scivicque from his catcher spot and Stevenson in center field.
  • Leading off: Mainieri suggested that he may tweak his batting order, putting Jake Fraley back into the leadoff spot. Chris Sciambra has batted leadoff as LSU’s designated hitter in the last three games. Mainieri moved Fraley out of the leadoff to relieve pressure, but the sophomore has been on fire lately.

Know Your Opponent

  • The Wildcats have an RPI of 50 and were swept in their SEC opening series at South Carolina, a three-game set that included two close games. They took two of three from Mississippi State last week.

Lineups

LSU

  • Chris Sciambra, DH
  • Mark Laird, RF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Conner Hale, 3B
  • Kade Scivicque, C
  • Andrew Stevenson, CF
  • Chris Chinea, 1B
  • Jake Fraley, LF
  • Jared Foster, 2B

Kentucky

  • Kyle Barrett, CF
  • Evan White, 1B
  • Ka’ai Tom, LF
  • JaVon Shelby, 2B
  • Dorian Hairston, RF
  • Thomas Bernal, 3B
  • Zach Arnold, DH
  • Greg Fettes, C
  • Connor Heady, SS

Balls And Strikes: LSU 13, Tulane 7

Andy Cannizaro won against his old team. (Eliot Kamenitz)

Andy Cannizaro won against his old team. (Eliot Kamenitz)


General Info

  • Coverage: Game story
  • Twitter:   @DellengerAdv
  • On Deck: vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m. Friday
  • In The Hole: vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

STRIKES

  • Jake Fraley, Andrew Stevenson: Fraley, a sophomore, had a career-high four RBIs. He was 2-for-5 and walked with the bases loaded. Stevenson caught a running, over-the-shoulder catch in center fielder and had four hits in the game – his second four-hit outing in the last three games.
  • Hunter Newman: Newman threw three innings of one-hit ball, walked one and struck out one in a relief outing for struggling starter Russell Reynolds. Newman hasn’t allowed a run in 10.2 innings this season. He says his breaking ball got better during his year off last season.
  • Mark Laird: Laird got the first homer of his career – and it came in an inside-the-park style. He smashed a line drive to left field, bounding over a diving Jackson Johnson. He came home, scoring easily. He followed it with an even harder line drive to left that he turned into a triple.

BALLS

  • Collin Strall, Kyle Bouman: These two combined to allow four hits and three runs, two earned, as Tulane scored the final four runs of the game.
  • Russell Reynolds: Reynolds lasted just 2.2 innings. He walked four, three in Tulane’s two-run third inning. Coach Paul Mainieri is grooming Reynolds as his No. 4 starter, but that might have hit a snag on Tuesday.

Pregame: LSU vs. Tulane

Russell Reynolds makes his third start of the season. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Russell Reynolds makes his third start of the season. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.

NEW ORLEANS -

General Info

  • What: LSU (21-3) vs. Tulane (17-7)
  • When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
  • Where: Turchin Stadium, New Orleans
  • Starting pitchers: TU junior RHP Patrick Duester (3-1, 0.34) vs. LSU sophomore RHP Russell Reynolds (1-0, 3.38)
  • TV: CST
  • In-game updates on Twitter: @Dellenger Adv
  • On deck: vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m. Friday
  • In the hole: vs. Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Links To Know

What’s At StakeCA5LCDqWAAADN0I

  • For pitcher Russell Reynolds, it’s a chance to get closer to securing his spot as the Tigers’ No. 4 starter. He gets his third start of the season, and coach Paul Mainieri could extend Reynolds more than ever. He’ll be pitching in a hostile environment.

What To Watch

  • Sciambra’s bat: Chris Sciambra started as many SEC games last weekend as he did all of last season (2). He had a three-run triple on Friday and had four hits in Saturday’s series-clinching win. Mainieri says he’ll be in the lineup against at Tulane, likely as the leadoff designated hitter.
  • Relievers: LSU’s bullpen nearly blew that win at Arkansas on Saturday. The Tigers relievers walked four, struck out one, hit two and allowed five hits and three runs. They’ll likely get a workout Tuesday against Tulane, especially if the game gets ugly. Zac Person, Alden Cartwright and Collins Strall had their issues Saturday. How will they respond?

Know Your Opponent

  • Tulane has an RPI of 79. The Green Wave has only lost two of six three-game series this weekend, and TU has a team ERA of 1.89, third nationally. Patrick Duester has allowed one earned runs, but nine total runs, in 26.1 innings on the mound.

Lineups

LSU

  • Chris Sciambra, DH
  • Mark Laird, RF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Conner Hale, 3B
  • Kade Scivicque, C
  • Andrew Stevenson, CF
  • Chris Chinea, 1B
  • Jake Fraley, LF
  • Jared Foster, 2B

Tulane

  • Stephen Alemais, SS
  • John Gandolfo, CF
  • Hunter Hope, 3B
  • Lex Kaplan, RF
  • Hunter Williams, 1B
  • Jake Rogers, C
  • Garrett Deschamp, 3B
  • Jackson Johnson, LF
  • Sam Bjorngjeld, DH