Pregame: LSU vs. Georgia (Game 1)

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 with video.

General Info

What’s At Stake

  • Winning your SEC opener in front of what’s expected to be a rowdy, full house at Alex Box. That’s what’s on the line here. There’s pressure involved, too, since Georgia has struggled as of late. The Bulldogs have finished with a winning SEC record just one time since its run to the CWS finals in 2008.
Aaron Nola takes the mound Friday. He's 4-0. (The Tennessean)

Aaron Nola takes the mound Friday. He’s 4-0. (The Tennessean)

What To Watch

  • Nola’s night: Ace Aaron Nola had that earned run streak snap in last weekend’s Friday win over Vanderbilt (it was at 54 innings), but the guy still hasn’t lost a game on the mound this season. He’ll face a Georgia order that ranks in the middle of the pack in the league batting .289. With coach Paul Mainieri having just 11 healthy pitchers, he’ll need Nola to go deep to save his arms for the weekend games.
  • The bats: LSU had just 14 hits in a three-game series loss last weekend at Vanderbilt, the fewest by an LSU team in a three-game series since at least 1997. The Tigers had two hits, both from the same player, during the first four innings of the 9-0 win over South Alabama. So, there are some issues at the plate. Mainieri moved Kade Scivicque up in the cleanup hole in the game against USA, moving down Conner Hale No. 6 and giving Andrew Stevenson a boost to the No. 5 hole. He’s trying to spark his offense.
  • The lineup: Mainieri continues to shuffle his lineup. Expect Chris Chinea to start behind the plate (Nola feels more comfortable with him catching). And Jared Foster will see some time as a righty against Georgia’s lefty pitcher. Meanwhile, who’s on first? If Foster’s in left and Chinea’s behind the plate, McMullen is likely the DH. Could we see Scivicque at first? Maybe.

Know Your Opponent

  • The Bulldogs lost five of their first six games under first-year head coach Scott Stricklin, the man who led Kent State to Omaha in 2012. They then won 11 straight before a series loss last week to Mississippi State. UGA has an RPI (Warren Nolan) of 56.

Lineups

LSU

  • Sean McMullen, LF
  • Mark Laird, RF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Kade Scivicque, DH
  • Conner Hale, 1B
  • Christian Ibarra, 3B
  • Andrew Stevenson, CF
  • Chris Chinea, C
  • Kramer Robertson, 2B

Georgia

  • Nelson Ward, SS
  • Conor Welton, LF
  • Hunter Cole, 3B
  • Zack Bowers, C
  • Daniel Nichols, DH
  • Jared Walsh, 1B
  • Jess Posey, 2B
  • Skyler Weber, RF
  • Stephen Wrenn, CF