Series Preview: LSU baseball heads on the road to take on No. 4 Tennessee

LSU baseball needs to claim three games against Ole Miss to have any chance at making the postseason. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU baseball played one of its best games of the season this week against McNeese, and the Tigers will likely need to replicate that performance to claim their first SEC series.

LSU (22-12, 3-9 SEC) has a road trip to No. 4 Tennessee (27-6, 7-5 SEC) this weekend. A series loss would see LSU drop its fifth conference series of the season.

“I think we’ll be an improved team this weekend and I think it’s going to be a great series,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said.

Tennessee is coming off a 2-1 series win over Auburn. The Vols have won via the run-rule in just seven innings in each of their last three games after beating Auburn 12-2 on Saturday, 19-5 on Sunday and Alabama A&M 20-2 on Tuesday.

Tennessee has been one of the best hitting teams in the country and leads the SEC in batting average with a .338. The Vols have more doubles than any team in the country with 94 and are tied for the most home runs in the nation with 89. They have the nation’s top slugging percentage and score the second more runs per game with 10.7.

Blake Burke and Kavares Tears have formed one of the best hitting duos in college baseball. Both players have a .410 batting average this season. Tears has 10 homers and 29 RBI. Burke has 11 homers and 30 RBI.

Dylan Dreiling leads the team with 40 RBI to go along with a .353 batting average. Christian Moore leads the team with 13 homers with seven coming in SEC play. Tennessee is batting .331 in conference play and has launcher 35 home runs against SEC opponents.

LSU is batting .284 this season and that average drops to .248 in conference play. The Tigers have 55 homers this season and Jared Jones leads the way with 14 homers after having three against McNeese on Tuesday.

Tommy White leads LSU with a .324 batting average and is second on the team with 11 homers and 29 RBI. Hayden Travinski leads the team with 31 RBI.

Tennessee’s pitching staff has the fifth best ERA in the SEC with a 3.90. Nate Snead is the Vols top reliever and leads the team with a 3.29 ERA in 38.1 innings pitched.

AJ Causey has been Tennessee’s Friday starter this season in place of an injured AJ Russell. Causey has a 5.35 ERA through 37 innings pitched. He’s struggled this season and gave up and gave up eight hits and eight runs in 1.1 innings in a 5-9 loss to Auburn last Friday.

Drew Beam has started the most games for the Vols with eight. He has a 3.63 ERA this season through 44.2 innings pitched and has been their Saturday starter this season. He pitched all seven innings for the Vols last Saturday and have up one earned run on three hits and one walk.

LSU has a 4.61 ERA this season and will likely throw Luke Holman Friday and Gage Jump on Saturday. The Tigers have used Javen Coleman as their third pitcher the last couple of series after Thatcher Hurd struggled to start the season.

Luke Holman has a 2.01 ERA this season through 44.2 innings pitched. He has a 6-1 record and went 5.2 innings against Vanderbilt last week. He gave up four hits and four earned runs to the Commodores.

Jump has a 3.98 ERA this season and went 5.1 innings against Vanderbilt last weekend. He gave up six hits and four earned runs while recording three strikeouts.

Game one will start on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.

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Will Nickel

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