No. 4 LSU baseball travels to face Florida - KCTV5

No. 4 LSU baseball travels to face Florida

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GAINESVILLE, FL - No. 4 LSU (20-5-1, 3-2-1 SEC) opens a three-game SEC series at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday when the Tigers meet Florida (16-9, 3-3 SEC) at McKethan Stadium.

Game 2 will start at 12 p.m. CT Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 12 p.m. CT Sunday.

The games on Friday and Saturday can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including Baton Rouge flagship WDGL-FM 98.1 FM. Sunday's game can be heard in Baton Rouge only WDGL 98.1 FM.

Live video, audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

Friday's game will be televised by Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast, and it may also be viewed at ESPN3.com. Saturday's game will be televised by the CBS Sports Network.

The Tigers are just a half-game out of first place in the SEC standings after last weekend's SEC series victory over Georgia. LSU will resume conference play this weekend at Florida.

"Florida is always an extremely talented team, and this year is no exception," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "They've been among the top teams in the nation over the last several years and played in the College World Series finals just three years ago. We've got to match their intensity and play with an aggressive attitude, especially at the plate. We have to be better, and that means being more aggressive in our approach."

LSU recorded a 4-0 win over Georgia last Friday, marking the Tigers' ninth shutout of the season. The LSU record for most shutouts in a season is 10 by the 1996 national championship club.

Last Saturday's LSU win over Georgia was career victory No. 1,199 for Mainieri, now in his 32nd season as a collegiate coach. With one more win, Mainieri, a member of the 2014 ABCA Hall of Fame induction class, will become only the ninth NCAA Division I active coach to have 1,200 career victories.

Mainieri said LSU junior right-hander Aaron Nola (5-0, 0.22 ERA) the 2013 SEC Pitcher of the Year, will start Friday's game on the mound for the Tigers. Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan will counter with sophomore right-hander Eric Hanhold (3-2, 3.18 ERA).

Nola defeated Georgia last Friday, blanking the Bulldogs through 6.2 innings while allowing two hits with eight strikeouts. Nola has worked 40.1 innings this season with eight walks and an SEC-leading 56 strikeouts.

LSU's starting pitcher on Saturday, freshman left-hander Jared Poche', was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday. Poche', native of Lutcher, La., earned his first career SEC victory last Saturday with an exceptional performance against Georgia. He worked 8.2 innings, limiting the Bulldogs to one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Poche' fired 5.1 hitless innings before Georgia chopped an infield single in the sixth. He threw 102 pitches and recorded the longest outing by an LSU pitcher this season. Poche' improved his record to 5-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.91 in 33 innings with nine walks and 24 strikeouts.

The LSU pitching staff is No. 2 in the SEC with a 1.85 ERA. Florida is 12th in the league with a 2.95 ERA.

LSU is No. 7 in the SEC in team batting average with a .278 mark, and the Tigers have nine homers and 21 steals in 31 attempts.

Catcher Kade Scivicque leads LSU in hitting with a .373 average, and he's collected four doubles, two homers and 14 RBI. Sophomore centerfielder Andrew Stevenson is hitting .356 with four triples and 14 RBI, while sophomore shortstop Alex Bregman is batting .330 with six doubles, one homer and 15 RBI.

Florida enters Friday's game batting .265 as a team with six homers and 16 steals in 28 attempts. The Gators are No. 13 in the SEC in team batting average.

Junior catcher Taylor Gushue is the Gators' leading hitter, batting .337 with 10 doubles, two homers and 18 RBI. Junior first baseman Braden Mattson is batting .333 with four doubles, one homer and 16 RBI, while sophomore infielder Richie Martin is hitting .295 with six doubles, one triple and 10 RBI.

LSU leads the overall series with Florida, 56-39-1, and the Tigers have won five of the last six meetings between the teams. LSU swept the Gators in a three-game SEC series last season in Baton Rouge, and LSU defeated UF in two of three games in 2012 in Gainesville when the Gators were ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Gators, however, posted three-game sweeps of the Tigers in 2010 at Gainesville and in 2011 at Baton Rouge.

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