HOOVER, Ala. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri will give the ball to freshman right-hander Hunter Newman for the second-seeded Tigers’ game against third-seeded Arkansas in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for noon.
Top-seeded Vanderbilt and fifth-seeded Mississippi State will play in the second semifinal, which will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Saturday’s winners will meet in the championship game at 3:30 p.m.
Newman will be making his third start and 12th appearance. He was placed on the tournament roster as an extra pitcher because of the potential for a heavy pitching workload. LSU is playing its fourth game in as many days. Newman took the spot of second baseman JaCoby Jones, who has a sore left wrist.
Mainieri made two changes to his starting lineup as the Tigers face their first left-handed starter in the tournament — Razorbacks senior Randall Fant. Chris Chinea has replaced Tyler Moore, who had a game-tying RBI double in the ninth inning of a 3-2 victory against Alabama on Friday, at first base base. Jared Foster has replaced Andrew Stevenson and will play right field. Mark Laird moves from right to Stevenson’s spot in center.
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Arkansas beat LSU 4-1 on Thursday and the Tigers won two out of three games in Fayetteville, Ark., last month.
Here are the starting lineups:
1. DH Sean McMullen (.326)
2. CF Mark Laird (.289)
3. SS Alex Bregman (.385)
4. 2B Mason Katz (.392)
5. LF Raph Rhymes (.336)
6. 3B Christian Ibarra (.326)
7. C Ty Ross (.217)
8. 1B Chris Chinea (.267)
9. RF Jared Foster (.354)
SP — RH Hunter Newman (2-0, 2.18)
1. DH Joe Serrano (.287)
2. CF Matt Vinson (.303)
3. LF Brian Anderson (.345)
4. 2B Dominic Ficociello (.260)
5. RF Tyler Spoon (.288)
6. 3B Jacob Mahan (.283)
7. C Jake Wise (.211)
8. 1B Eric Fisher (.222)
9. SS Brett McAfee (.255)
SP — LH Randall Fant (5-1, 2.08)