Apr 10, 2014 9:35 PM by LSU Sports Information
BATON ROUGE, La. - Eighth-ranked LSU (25-8-1, 6-5-1 SEC) plays host to Arkansas (21-13, 6-6 SEC) in a three-game Southeastern Conference series beginning at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Game 2 is set for 12 p.m. Saturday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 1 p.m. Sunday.
The games can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including Baton Rouge flagship WDGL-FM 98.1 FM. Live audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. Live video will also be available in the Geaux Zone on Friday and Sunday.
The games on Friday and Sunday will be televised by Cox Sports Television, and Saturday's game will be televised by ESPN2. All three games may be viewed at ESPN3.com.
LSU, ranked in the Top 10 of at least one poll for 43 consecutive weeks, is riding a five-game win streak, including a three-game SEC sweep of Mississippi State last weekend. The Tigers are 1.5 games behind Alabama in both the SEC overall and Western Division standings.
"We have a great deal of respect for the Arkansas program and the way they play the game," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "(Arkansas coach) Dave Van Horn and I share a lot of the same philosophies in the way we manage a game, and it's a great challenge to coach against him. Whenever the SEC schedule comes out each year, the first date I look for is the weekend we play Arkansas. In my previous seven seasons here, we've won the SEC West four times and they've won it twice, and it seems like whoever wins this series goes on to win the division."
Junior right-hander Aaron Nola will be the Tigers' starting pitcher on Friday. Nola earned SEC Pitcher of the Week recognition after he fired eight shutout innings to defeat No. 9 Mississippi State last Friday. Nola limited the Bulldogs to just two singles while recording two walks and 10 strikeouts. He fired 116 pitches and did not give up a hit until the sixth inning on a lead-off single.
Nola improved to 6-1 on the year and lowered his ERA to 0.47; in 57 innings, he's recorded 11 walks and 71 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting just. 141 against him. Nola is No. 3 in the nation in strikeouts and No. 5 in ERA, and he leads the SEC in both categories.
LSU's 17-4 win over Mississippi State last Sunday marked the most runs for the Tigers in an SEC game since they scored 18 runs in a win over Florida on May 4 of last season. The Tigers collected 20 hits on Sunday, the most hits for LSU in an SEC contest since it accumulated 23 hits in a win at Mississippi State on May 16, 2009.
The Tigers enter the series batting .275 as a team with 16 homers and 26 stolen bases in 37 attempts. LSU is led at the plate by junior catcher Kade Scivicque, who is hitting .369 with four homers and 23 RBI. Sophomore centerfielder Andrew Stevenson is batting .347 with four triples and 17 RBI, while junior second baseman Conner Hale is hitting .295 with three doubles and 12 RBI.
Arkansas is hitting .259 as a team with 12 homers and 24 steals in 30 attempts. The Rozorbacks are led at the plate by junior infielder/outfielder Brian Anderson, who is batting .336 with nine doubles, one triple, three homers and 29 RBI. Junior outfielder Joe Serrano is hitting .336 with six doubles and 17 RBI., while sophomore outfielder/infielder Tyler Spoon is batting .280 with three homers and 28 RBI.
LSU is No. 8 in the SEC in batting average (.275), and the Tigers are No. 2 in the league in ERA (2.13). Arkansas is No. 14 in the conference in batting average (.259), and the Razorbacks are No. 5 in ERA (2.30).
LSU leads the series with Arkansas, 57-28, and the Tigers have won eight of their last nine SEC regular-season series versus the Razorbacks, including a 2-1 series victory last season in Fayetteville. The teams also split a pair of games last season in the SEC Tournament. The only series win for Arkansas over LSU in the past nine seasons came in 2011, when the Razorbacks swept three games from the Tigers in Fayetteville. The Tigers are 21-10 against Arkansas over the past nine seasons, including two wins over the Razorbacks in the 2009 College World Series.