LSU Baseball Preview Primer: No. 2 Tigers host Xavier

Paxton Kling. Photo by Michael Bacigalupi

Xavier Musketeers (7-6) at No. 2 LSU Tigers (12-1)Military Appreciation Weekend – all veterans and activeduty military may purchase $5 discounted ticketsDATES/TIMES

  • Friday, March 8 @ 6:30 p.m. CT
  • Saturday, March 9 @ 5 p.m. CT
  • Sunday, March 10 @ 12 p.m. CT

STADIUM

  • Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field (10,326)

RANKINGS

  • LSU – No. 2 Baseball America; No. 2 USA Today; No. 3 D1 Baseball
  • XU – unranked

RADIO·        LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates·        Live audio at www.LSUsports.net/live; Live stats at www.LSUstats.comTV/ONLINE

  • All three LSU-Xavier games will be streamed on SEC Network +

LSU SERIES RECORD VS. XAVIER

  • Friday’s game marks the first meeting between LSU and Xavier on the diamond … LSU is 8-0 all-time against the current baseball programs in the Big East Conference … the Tigers are 3-0 vs. Villanova, 2-0 vs. Butler, 2-0 vs. St. John’s and 1-0 vs. Connecticut.

PITCHING ROTATIONSGame 1 LSU – Jr. RH Luke Holman (3-0, 0.00 ERA, 18.0 IP, 2 BB, 30 SO)XU – Jr. RH Luke Hoskins (2-1, 9.64 ERA, 14.0 IP, 3 BB, 12 SO)Game 2LSU – So. LH Gage Jump (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8.1 IP, 1 BB, 11 SO)XU – Jr. LH Nolan Hughes (0-2, 12.15 ERA, 6.2 IP, 14 BB, 14 SO)Game 3LSU – Jr. RH Thatcher Hurd (1-1, 6.75 ERA, 12.0 IP, 6 BB, 17 SO)XU – Sr. RH Nick Boyle (1-0, 4.85 ERA, 13.0 IP, 13 BB, 13 SO) QUOTING COACH JAY JOHNSON “Our starting pitching has been phenomenal for five games in a row, and that really simplifies the game in a lot of ways. It helps us maximize the bullpen appropriately, and our relievers have done a great job. We have five games in six days before we start SEC play next weekend, so we have a lot of business to handle before we get there. We’ve played a winning style of baseball over the past several games; when we do that, we become a lot to deal with.” ABOUT THE TIGERS

  • LSU enters Friday’s series opener on a seven-game win streak, and the Tigers this week are ranked No. 2 in the nation by Baseball America and by USA Today, and No. 3 in the country by D1 Baseball … LSU opened this week with a 4-3 win at Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday night (March 6) … last week, the Tigers posted a 16-4 win at Rice on Wednesday night, then defeated Texas, UL Lafayette and Texas State over the weekend in the Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute Maid Park … LSU’s win streak started with a Feb. 24 win over Northern Illinois, followed by a Feb. 25 victory over Stony Brook.
  • LSU’s 3-0 record last weekend allowed the Tigers to claim the Astros Foundation College Classic title for the first time in five appearances at the tournament … Vanderbilt was also 3-0 in the event with wins over UL Lafayette, Houston and Texas; however, the Tigers captured the title by having a greater overall run differential in their victories.
  • LSU centerfielder Paxton Kling’s two-run double in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night (March 6) lifted the second-ranked Tigers to a 4-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana at Alumni Field in Hammond, La. … Kling’s double capped a three-run rally in the top of the ninth that erased a 3-1 Southeastern lead … LSU starting pitcher Kade Anderson delivered a brilliant effort, allowing one unearned run in 5.0 innings with two hits, two walks and a career-best 13 strikeouts.
  • Junior right-hander Luke Holman fired 5.2 shutout innings last Friday (March 1) in a win over No. 13 Texas in the Astros Foundation College Classic … Holman limited the Longhorns to three hits with one walk and a career-high 12 strikeouts … he threw 91 pitches in the outing, recording 61 pitches for strikes … he retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced to complete his outing … Holman is 3-0 this season with a 0.00 ERA in 18.0 innings … he has recorded two walks and 30 strikeouts, and he’s limiting opponents to a .133 batting average .. he was named SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week on March 4, and he was named National Pitcher of the Month for February by the NCBWA … he was also voted to the Astros Foundation College Classic All-Tournament team.
  • Graduate catcher Hayden Travinski has four doubles, one homer and nine RBI during LSU’s seven-game win streak … he helped lead LSU to its four straight wins in Houston last week, batting .462 (6-for-13) in four games with three doubles, one homer, six RBI, four walks, two hit-by-pitches and a .632 on-base percentage … he was 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI in last Saturday’s win over UL Lafayette … his solo homer in the seventh inning against the Cajuns extended LSU’s lead to 5-3 and proved to be the difference in the Tigers’ 5-4 win … Travinski doubled twice and drove in two runs in last Sunday’s win over Texas State.
  • Freshman second baseman Steven Milam is batting a team-high .440 (11-for-25) during the Tigers’ seven-game win streak … he helped lead LSU to its four wins last week in Houston, as he batted .400 (6-for-15) in four games with one double, four RBI, four walks, and a .500 on-base percentage … he was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs in last Sunday’s win over Texas State … he also drove in two runs for the Tigers in the Feb. 28 win at Rice … Milam is LSU’s overall leading hitter this season, batting .415 (17-for-41) with two doubles, 10 RBI, 13 runs, three stolen bases and a .519 on-base percentage.
  • Sophomore left-hander Gage Jump was superb in his starting role last Saturday (March 2) versus UL Lafayette, earning the win by limiting the Cajuns to just one hit in five shutout innings with no walks and five strikeouts … Jump threw 76 pitches, 59 for strikes in the outing … he was voted to the Astros Foundation College Classic All-Tournament team.
  • First baseman Jared Jones hit .462 (6-for-13) in four games last week with three doubles, one homer, five RBI, four runs, five walks and a .611 on-base percentage, and he was named to the Astros Foundation College Classic All-Tournament team … catcher Brady Neal is hitting .368 (7-for-19) during LSU’s seven-game win streak three doubles, two homers, five RBI and four runs …. Neal was 2-for-4 at Rice on Feb. 28 with two homers, five RBI, three runs and a walk … the effort marked the first multi-homer game of Neal’s LSU career.

ABOUT THE MUSKETEERS

  • Xavier is 7-6 this season after beginning its Louisiana road swing earlier this week by splitting two games at Louisiana Tech in Ruston … the Musketeers are hitting .280 as a team with 28 doubles, one triple, 20 home runs and 14 steals in 18 attempts … the XU pitching staff has a 7.05 cumulative ERA with 98 strikeouts in 111.0 innings.
  • The Musketeers are led at the plate by outfielder Isaac Wachsmann, who is hitting .464 with one double, four homers and eight RBI … infielder Matt McCormick has four homers and 13 RBI, and outfielder Aedan Anderson has three homers and 11 RBI.
  • LSU left-hander Justin Loer is a former pitcher at Xavier for two seasons (2022-23) … Loer, a Lakeville, Minn., native, made 29 appearances (one start) for Xavier in 2023, posting a 6-2 record, a 1.89 ERA and seven saves in 57.0 innings with 63 strikeouts and a .182 opponent batting average … Loer earned 2023 Second-Team All-Big East honors and helped lead Xavier to the Big East Conference Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament bid.

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