LSU baseball faces tough midweek test after claiming first SEC series this weekend

LSU baseball head coach Jay Johnson called Nicholls State "the best team we'll see on a Tuesday night." PHOTO BY: Michael Bacigalupi

LSU baseball has finally gotten itself its first SEC series win of the season and now the Tigers have to turn their attention to what head coach Jay Johnson called on of the most difficult midweek games they’ll face.

“We’re playing the best team that we’ll see on a Tuesday tomorrow night,” Johnson said. “Really good respect for them. It’s almost the same team that was in the NCAA tournament. I mean literally, down the lineup it feels like it’s almost the same team.”

Nicholls (27-14) is coming off a series sweep of SLC foe Houston Christian. The Colonels are a dangerous team on offense averaging 8.5 runs per game and batting .310 this season with 41 homers.

LSU (25-16, 5-13 SEC) is coming off its first SEC series win of the season and is looking to improve on its 20-3 out of conference record. The Tigers have only dropped one midweek game this season, a 12-7 loss to Southern.

Edgar Alvarez leads the way for the Colenels and is one of the most dangerous hitters in the country. He has a .423 batting average, 51 RBI and 9 homers on the season.

Alvarez had a four RBI game last Friday against Houston Christian. He’s recorded a hit in all but three games this season. He didn’t record a hit on Sunday when Houston Christian walked him four times with three being intentional walks.

Garrett Felix is second on the team with a .317 batting average and 49 RBI this season.

LSU is batting .282 this season with 68 homers. Jared Jones leads the way with 17 home runs and hit two this weekend against Mizzou. Eleven of his homers have come in out of conference games.

LSU freshman Ashton Larson has impressed in recent weeks and is the team’s leading batting in SEC play with a .395 batting average. He reached base eight times this weekend and hit a homer in Sunday’s rubber match.

“[Larson’s] got the right type of heartbeat, the right type of maturity,” Johnson said. “He’s able to keep the game slow and really that’s why he’s elevated himself past not just some of the younger players in the program but some of the older players in the program. He’s a baseball guy.”

Nicholls’ pitching staff has a 5.42 ERA this season and is holding opponents to a .263 batting average. Michael Quevedo leads the team in innings pitched with 53.1 and is second on the team with a 4.56 ERA.

Dylan Farley started for the Colonels in their last midweek game and went three innings while allowing two hits and one run in a 9-6 loss to Southern Miss. He has a 7.77 ERA this season in six starts and 24.1 innings pitched.

Johnson didn’t name a starter for the game against Nicholls, but he said that it will be similar to what the Tigers did in last week’s midweek clash with New Orleans. Thatcher Hurd started that game and went two innings giving up two hits and two runs before being pulled for Sam Dutton.

“I would assume it’ll be a little bit like last Tuesday,” Johnson said. “I thought after we gave up the two homers it was a good of a pitching performance as we’ve had. I think you’ll see a little bit of what we did last week.”

LSU used seven pitchers in that game as LSU looked to get many of its arms throwing time. Freshman Kade Anderson hasn’t pitched since the Tennessee series and could be in contention to start with Hurd.

“[Hurd] pitched two innings last week and I’m sure he’ll be a part of the game plan tomorrow,” Johnson said. “I want him to be good because when he’s good, he’s as good as anybody.”

LSU’s pitching staff has a 4.63 ERA this season and is holding opposing batters to a .235 batting average. The Tigers should have a slew of pitchers available after only having five pitchers throw over two innings this weekend against Missouri.

The game between LSU and Nicholls will start at 6:30 p.m. and can be streamed on SEC Network+.

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Will Nickel

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