Watch: LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson previewing weekend series with No. 1 RPI Kentucky, open to ‘Holy Man’ to stop injury curse

Jordan Thompson
LSU shortstop Jordan Thompson leads the No. 1 Tigers into another key SEC series against a run-happy Kentucky team.
LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson talks UK Wildcats and more . . .

No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats (27-5, 9-3 SEC) at No. 1 LSU Tigers (27-5, 7-4 SEC)

DATES/TIMES

  • Thursday, April 13 @ 6 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
  • Friday, April 14 @ 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)
  • Saturday, April 15 @ 1 p.m. CT (SEC Network +)

STADIUM

  • Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La. (10,326)

RANKINGS

  • LSU – No. 1 in all college baseball polls
  • UK –  No. 11 Collegiate Baseball, No. 12 Baseball America, No. 12 D1 Baseball

RADIO

·        LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates, including 98.1 in Baton Rouge

·        Live audio for LSU games at www.LSUsports.net/live; Live stats for LSU games at www.LSUstats.com 

TV/ONLINE

  • All three games will be streamed on SEC Network +
  • Thursday’s game will also be televised on the SEC Network

LSU SERIES RECORD VS. KENTUCKY

  • LSU leads the all-time series with Kentucky, 55-31-1 … the teams split two games in the 2022 SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.; LSU posted an 11-6 win over UK in the Tigers’ opening SEC Tournament game last season, but the Wildcats recorded a 7-2 elimination game win over LSU two days later … LSU has won 13 of the past 19 SEC regular-season series against UK, including a 2-1 series victory in their last regular-season meeting on April 9-11, 2021, in Lexington, Ky.

LSU PITCHING ROTATION

Game 1 – Jr. RH Paul Skenes (5-1, 1.14 ERA, 47.1 IP, 8 BB, 91 SO)

Game 2 – Jr. RH Ty Floyd (5-0, 3.67 ERA, 34.1 IP, 14 BB, 38 SO)

Game 3 – Jr RH Christian Little (2-1, 4.05 ERA, 20.0 IP, 10 BB, 31 SO)

QUOTING COACH JAY JOHNSON

“Kentucky has a really good identity – they know who they are, and they play to that well. I’ve known (Kentucky coach) Nick Mingione a really long time, and he’s a very thoughtful guy in how he puts together his program, his roster. They bunt as well as any team that we’ve played since I’ve been at LSU. They do a good job with the running game; there are literally no holds barred on that end. So, we have some things we need to do to control what they do well.”

ABOUT THE TIGERS

·        LSU has won eight of its last 10 games, including an SEC two-game series split at No. 3 South Carolina last weekend … LSU’s 27-5 record is its best through 32 games since 2015, when the Tigers were also 27-5 … the Tigers are No. 4 in the most recent NCAA RPI rankings.

·        LSU, which has been ranked No. 1 all season – nine straight weeks – by all of the college baseball polls, enters this week at or near the top of several NCAA statistical categories … the Tigers are No. 1 in the nation in shutouts pitched (7), on-base percentage (.452), runs scored (332) and scoring average (10.4 runs per game) … … the Tigers are No. 3 nationally in batting average (.333), hits allowed per nine innings (6.57) and slugging percentage (.591), No. 4 in strikeouts pitched per nine innings (11.9) and No. 5 in WHIP (1.18).

·        LSU centerfielder Dylan Crews is No. 1 in the nation in batting average (.505), on-base percentage (.639) and in runs scored (55); he is No. 6 in slugging percentage (.860) … third baseman Tommy White is No. 1 in the nation in RBI per game (1.86) and in total RBI (54) … right-hander Paul Skenes leads the nation in strikeouts (91), strikeouts per nine innings (17.30), hits allowed per nine innings (3.99) and WHIP (0.61) … Skenes is No. 2 in the nation in ERA (1.14) and No. 5 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.38).

·        Graduate second baseman Gavin Dugas is batting .429 (6-for-14) in LSU’s last four games with one double, one triple, one homer and seven RBI … in last Friday’s win at third-ranked South Carolina, Dugas launched a two-out grand slam in the top of the eighth inning, erasing a 7-3 deficit and tying the game at 7-7 … LSU went on to score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth and secure an 8-7 victory … the grand slam was the third of Dugas’ career – he hit two grand slams in 2021 – and it marked his 10th home run this season.

·        Shortstop Jordan Thompson is hitting .400 (4-for-10) in LSU’s last three games with three homers, six RBI and five runs scored; Thompson has homered once in each of the Tigers’ last three contests … designated hitter Cade Beloso is batting .500 (6-for-12) in LSU’s last three games with one homer, four RBI and four runs scored … Beloso provided the game-winning hit in the top of the ninth inning last Friday at South Carolina, when he broke a 7-7 tie with an RBI single and lifted LSU to an 8-7 victory.

·        Freshman right-hander Gavin Guidry posted the first two pitching wins of his collegiate career last week, as he recorded relief victories over Nicholls (April 4) and third-ranked South Carolina (April 7) … he recorded a combined 3.0 scoreless innings with one hit, one walk and six strikeouts … in the win over the Gamecocks, Guidry pitched the final 1.2 innings, limiting South Carolina to no runs on one hit with one walk and three strikeouts … he entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out and the score tied 7-7, and he retired two straight batters to end the inning; after LSU took an 8-7 lead in the top of the ninth, Guidry blanked the Gamecocks in the bottom of the frame by striking out the side to end the game … Guidry earned the win over Nicholls by pitching 1.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

·        Junior right-hander Bryce Collins has fired 6.2 straight scoreless innings over his past five relief appearances with no hits, five walks and nine strikeouts … Collins earned the win at Tulane on Tuesday night, working 2.2 innings and allowing no runs on no hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

ABOUT THE WILDCATS

  • Kentucky is in third place in the SEC East with a 9-3 conference mark, two games behind Vanderbilt (10-1) … Kentucky is No. 1 in the most recent NCAA RPI rankings.
  • UK is No. 5 in the SEC in team batting average (.299), and the Wildcats lead the SEC in stolen bases (57) and sacrifice bunts (30) … Kentucky is 14th in the league in home runs with 22.
  • Infielder Hunter Gilliam is batting .379 on the year with eight doubles, one triple, six homers and 42 RBI … infielder Emilien Pitre is hitting .349 with 10 doubles, one triple, one homer and 31 RBI, and catcher Devin Burkes has 10 doubles, one triple, 4 homers and 40 RBI.
  • Kentucky is No. 4 in the league in team ERA (3.29), and the Wildcats have recorded 286 strikeouts in 276.0 innings while limiting opponents to a .211 cumulative batting average.
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