LSU BASEBALL GAME PREVIEW: No. 2 Tigers vs. No. 13 Texas Longhorns

Luke Holman allowed no runs in his debut for No. 2 LSU baseball, a 2-0 win over Central Arkansas. PHOTO BY: Michael Bacigalupi

No. 2 LSU continues its Texas road trip tonight with a game against the No. 13 Texas Longhorns to kick off the Astros College Classic.

LSU (8-1) played Rice Reckling Park on Wednesday and hammered the Owls for a 16-4 win in its first game away from Alex Box Stadium this season. Texas (7-1) is coming off a 15-4 win over St. John’s on Tuesday and has won six games in a row.

Texas leads the overall series against LSU 28-14-1 and has won four of the last six meetings against the Tigers. In the most recent matchup between the two teams, LSU shutout the Longhorns in a 3-0 win last season in Austin.

LSU is 1-1 all time against Texas in the Astros College Classic. The Tigers have appeared in the tournament four times and have a 6-6 record all-time. LSU participated in the even in 2015, 2017, 2020 and 2022. All of LSU’s games in the tournament will be played in Minute Maid Park.

“Our players aspire to play in Major League parks one day, so playing in Minute Maid Park is really cool for them,” Johnson said. “We have a strong connection with the Astros, obviously, because of our location and (former LSU and current Astros infielder) Alex Bregman, and I’ve coached a lot of players who played in the Astros organization. It wasn’t hard to get our players to get excited about practicing for 50 minutes in Minute Maid Park today.”

LSU will start right-hander Luke Holman against Texas. Holman has been LSU’s best pitcher so far this season and has yet to give up a run thought 12.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 18 batters and given up just one extra-base hit in his two starts this season. He has given up just five hits in 42 batters faced and has a WHIP of .486.

Holman is replacing Thatcher Hurd as the Friday night starter for LSU. Hurd started the previous two Fridays in games against VMI and Stony Brook. Hurd has allowed seven earned runs in seven innings pitched and recorded 12 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .355 against him.

Texas will start right-hander Lebarron Jonson Jr. against LSU. Johnson has started two games this season and pitched 13.0 innings. He’s given up just seven hits and two runs while recording 14 strikeouts. He has posted a .846 WHIP after facing 48 batters this season. He pitched 8.0 innings and gave up just two hits and no earned runs in his most recent appearance, a 2-0 win over Cal Poly last Friday.

Texas is hitting .329 as a team with 20 doubles, two triples and 13 home runs this season. Jared Thomas is the Longhorns’ top hitter. Thomas is hitting an incredible .581 this season with five doubles, one homer, six RBI, 14 runs and six steals.

LSU is batting .330 this season with 12 doubles, three triple and 14 homers. Brady Neal is tied with Jared Jones for the team lead in RBI with 11 after recording five RBI and two homers while going 2-for-4 at the plate against Rice.

“Texas has a great team, and they’re playing really well right now, so it’s going to be a great challenge,” Jay Johnson said. “UL Lafayette and Texas State both play a very aggressive, confident brand of baseball. I think we’ve improved over the last week, and we’re obviously trying to win as many games as we can, but we’re also working to get better and figure out what our best team is. This weekend has tremendous value for us.”

LSU’s game against Texas will start at 7 p.m. tonight. LSU will play against UL on Saturday night at 7 p.m. and against Texas State on Sunday at 3 p.m.

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