No. 2 LSU Baseball Opens Season on Friday | D1Baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers Breaks The Tigers Down

TigerRag.com’s Audibles podcast hosted by Camryn Conner on February 15, 2024. CC has video segments with Jay Johnson and Luke Holman then Jeff Palermo, Todd Horne and Jordan Kitchens talk 2024 Tigers with D1Baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers. No. 2 LSU Baseball Opens Season on Friday | D1Baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers Breaks The Tigers Down.

MORE ON THE NO. 2 LSU Tigers

The LSU Baseball Opening Day Fan Fest will begin at 11 a.m. CT Friday outside of Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The event is a free, family-friendly activity featuring food and drink trucks, inflatables, face painting, a caricature artist and the opportunity to take photos with the 2023 National Championship trophy.The Fan Fest ends at 2 p.m. CT, when LSU opens the 2024 season by facing VMI.—————————————————————–No. 2 LSU Tigers (0-0)VMI Keydets (0-0)Central Arkansas Bears (0-0)

DATES/TIMES

  • Friday, February 16 – VMI at LSU 2 p.m. CT(VMI vs. Central Arkansas @ 7 p.m. CT)
  • Saturday, February 17 – Central Arkansas at LSU @ 1p.m. CT(Central Arkansas vs. VMI @ 6 p.m. CT)
  • Sunday, February 18 –  VMI at LSU @ 1p.m. CT
  • Monday, February 19 – Central Arkansas at LSU @ 2 p.m. CT

STADIUM

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

RANKINGS

  • LSU – No. 2 Baseball America; No. 2 USA Today; No. 4 D1 Baseball
  • VMI and Central Arkansas are unranked

RADIO·        

LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates·        

Live audio at www.LSUsports.net/live; Live stats at www.LSUstats.com

ONLINE

  • All three games will be streamed live on SEC Network +

LSU SERIES RECORDS VS. VMI AND CENTRAL ARKANSAS

• Friday’s game will mark the first meeting between LSU and VMI, which is a member of the Southern Conference. The Southern Conference also includes Samford, Mercer, Wofford, Western Carolina, East Tennessee State, UNC Greensboro, and The Citadel. LSU is 3-0 all-time vs. Samford, 9-0 vs. Mercer, 1-0 vs. Western Carolina, 1-0 vs. UNC Greensboro and 2-0 vs. The Citadel.

• The first meeting between LSU and Central Arkansas occurred last season, a 10-4 LSU victory on March 24 in Baton Rouge. Central Arkansas is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, which also includes Lipscomb, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Stetson, Kennesaw State, Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky, North Florida, Queens, North Alabama and Bellarmine. LSU is 1-2 all-time vs. Lipscomb, 1-2 vs. Jacksonville, 5-4 vs. Stetson, 1-0 vs. Kennesaw State, 1-0 vs. Austin Peay, 2-1 vs. Eastern Kentucky, 2-1 vs. North Florida and 1-0 vs. Bellarmine.

LSU PITCHING ROTATION

Game 1 vs. VMI – Jr. RH Thatcher Hurd (8-3, 5.68 ERA, 63.1 IP, 40 BB, 84 SO in 2023)

Game 2 vs. Central Arkansas – Jr. RH Luke Holman (7-4, 3.67 ERA, 81.0 IP, 31 BB, 87 SO in 2023)

Game 3 vs. VMI – TBA

Game 4 vs. Central Arkansas – TBA

QUOTING COACH JAY JOHNSON

“We treat every game like a playoff game; the goal is to win each game in front of us and improve while we’re doing that. Part of improving is finding out your best team, and we’re not close to that right now. And, I actually mean that in a good way – the emergence of our players from the fall until now has been remarkable. We have a lot of work to do to sort that out, and that’s a good situation. We have more options with our position players than I thought we would coming out of November.”

ABOUT THE TIGERS

  • LSU has won 22 consecutive season-opening games; the Tigers’ last loss in a season opener occurred on February 10, 2001, when LSU dropped a 9-8 decision to Kansas State in the original Alex Box Stadium.
  • Coach Jay Johnson, the 2023 National Coach of the Year, enters his third season at the helm of the LSU program this weekend … Johnson, who directed LSU to the 2023 NCAA National Championship, has worked 11 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including one season (2005) at Point Loma Nazarene, two seasons (2014-15) at Nevada, six seasons (2016-21) at Arizona and two seasons at LSU … he directed Arizona to College World Series appearances in 2016 and in 2021, and to the 2021 Pac-12 title … he enters Friday’s season opener with a 411-211 (.661) overall record, including a 94-39 (.707) mark at LSU.
  • LSU is the reigning National Champion, having captured the 2023 College World Series title last June in Omaha, Neb. …. LSU has seven national championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2009, 2023), the second-most in NCAA history … LSU has the second-highest all-time NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.707, 174-72).
  • LSU has 21 players returning from its 2023 National Championship team, along with a class of new Tigers listed as high as No. 3 in recruiting rankings. The Tigers’ returning position players include 2023 All-American third baseman Tommy White, 2023 Freshman All-American first baseman Jared Jones, catcher/DH Hayden Travinski, catcher Alex Milazzo, infielder/outfielder Josh Pearson and outfielder Paxton Kling. Newcomers who should make an immediate impact upon the LSU lineup include outfielder Mac Bingham, shortstop Michael Braswell III and outfielder Jake Brown.
  • The LSU pitching staff features exceptional depth and is led by veterans like right-hander Thatcher Hurd, left-hander Nate Ackenhausen, right-hander Gavin Guidry and left-hander Griffin Herring. The staff will be bolstered by the addition of several new arms, including right-hander Luke Holman, left-hander Gage Jump, left-hander Cam Johnson and left-hander Justin Loer.
  • Third baseman Tommy White has been named to the 2024 Golden Spikes Award Watch List. He batted .374 (102-for-273) last season with 24 doubles, 24 homers, 105 RBI and 64 runs scored. He finished No. 1 in the nation in RBI (105), No. 3 in total bases (198) and No. 4 in RBI per game (1.59). White, a product of St. Pete Beach, Fla., completed last season No. 1 in the SEC in RBI (105), No. 2 in total bases (198), No. 2 in hits (102), No. 2 in doubles (24), No. 4 in homers (24), No. 6 in batting average (.374) and No. 7 in slugging percentage (.725).
  • Right-hander Luke Holman has been named to the 2024 Golden Spikes Award Watch List. Holman, who transferred to LSU from Alabama, made 31 appearances (15 starts) over two seasons for the Crimson Tide and posted a 4.05 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 100.0 innings. Holman, a native of Sinking Springs, Pa., worked as Alabama’s No. 1 starter in 2023, recording a 7-4 mark and a 3.67 ERA in 81.0 innings with 87 strikeouts and a .186 opponent batting average. He finished No. 2 in the SEC in WHIP (1.05) and No. 3 in opponent batting average and hits per nine innings (6.00).

ABOUT THE KEYDETS

  • VMI posted a 26-29 overall mark last season, 9-11 in the Southern Conference … the Keydets are led by third baseman/catcher Justin Starke, who is the 2024 Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year … Starke hit .392 (83-for-212) last season with 15 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 52 RBI and 32 stolen bases.
  • VMI’s scheduled starting pitcher against LSU in Friday’s season opener is left-hander Trey Morgan, who was 2-2 last season in 16 appearances (six starts) … Morgan posted a 5.58 ERA in 40.1 innings, and he recorded 16 walks and 22 strikeouts.
  • The Keydets batted .322 as a team last season with 134 doubles, 16 triples and 74 home runs … VMI stole 192 bases in 235 attempts … the Keydets’ pitching staff registered a 7.33 team ERA with 403 strikeouts and a .307 opponent batting average in 469.0 innings.

ABOUT THE BEARS

  • Central Arkansas was 23-31 last season, 14-16 in the Atlantic Sun Conference … among the Bears’ victories last season was a 5-4 win at Vanderbilt on February 21.
  • The Bears hit .269 as a team in 2023 with 84 doubles, nine triples and 56 home runs … UCA posted a 5.45 cumulative ERA with 443 strikeouts in 465.1 innings and a .271 opponent batting average.
  • UCA’s top returning hitters include infielder Reid Bowman, who batted .297 last season with eight doubles, four homers and 25 RBI; outfielder Drew Sturgeon, who hit .296 in 2023 with 11 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 33 RBI; and catcher/infielder AJ Mendolia, who batted .295 with seven doubles, five triples and 31 RBI.

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