LSU baseball heads into its final non-conference game of season against Northwestern State

LSU baseball heads into its final non-conference game of the season looking to finish with a 23-3 record. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU baseball will wrap up non-conference play this week with a matchup against Northwestern State as the Tigers make a late postseason push.

With a win, LSU will finish 23-3 in out of conference play in the regular season. The Tigers are on a hot streak winning their last three SEC series including an upset win over No. 1 Texas A&M.

“There’s a lot of work to do over these next two weeks,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said.” We haven’t put ourselves in the (NCAA Tournament) field yet, but we have put ourselves in the fight. I think the best thing is that we’re playing well enough to win. Our best baseball is still ahead of us.”

Northwestern has a 19-28 record this season and is coming off a series loss to Lamar this weekend. The Demons started the season poorly with just two wins in their first nine games but have since found better form. They have won five of their last seven games including a 16-8 win over Grambling who LSU played last week.

LSU leads the all-time series 61-13 and have won 23 of the last 26 matchups with NSU including a 14-4 win last season. This will be NSU’s second trip to Alex Box this season after it split its games with Stony Brook and Northern Illinois earlier this season.

The Demons are batting .255 as a team with 41 homers this season and are led by second baseman Balin Valentine with nine home runs. He’s second on the team with a .295 batting average and 40 RBI. Reese Lipoma leades the team with a .309 batting average and 12 doubles.

LSU freshmen Ashton Larson and Steven Milam have been heating up down the stretch this season. Larson leads the team in batting average in conference play with a .365 and on base percentage with .440.

Milam is coming off a great series against Texas A&M that earned him SEC Freshman of the Week honors. He batted .444 against the Aggies with two doubles and one RBI.

NSU’s pitching staff has a 6.46 ERA this season and is holding opponents to a .387 batting average. Right hander Kevin Robinson has been the Demons midweek starter this season and has a 2.57 ERA through 28 innings pitched. His last start came against Grambling State when he went four innings and gave up four hits and one earned run.

LSU’s pitching staff has a 4.52 ER this season and holds opposing batters to a .233 batting average. Kade Anderson has been the team’s midweek pitcher for much of the season despite not starting last Tuesday after playing in game three against Auburn.

Anderson didn’t pitch this weekend against the Aggies and should be available. He had a rough outing against Auburn in his last start when he gave up five earned runs on four hits in just 0.2 innings pitched. He has a 4.35 ERA this season, but it drops to a 1.62 against nonconference opponents.

LSU has been dominant in its last several midweek games beating its last four opponents by a combined score of 57-5.

LSU and NSU will start at 6:30 p.m. from Alex Box Stadium and will be streamed on SEC Network +.

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Will Nickel

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