Who: LSU at Alabama
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sewell-Thomas Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Online: SEC Network+
Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
Rankings: LSU is ranked No. 15 by Baseball America. Alabama is not ranked.
Saturday’s likely starters: LSU, Fr. RHP Eric Walker (5-1, 3.49 ERA, 56.2 IP, 13 BB, 52 K); Alabama, to be announced.
What to watch for: For the first time in his career, Walker truly struggled last week. Kentucky drilled him for seven runs on seven hits (both career highs), and he was knocked out of the game in the third inning (for the shortest start of his career). He saw his ERA rise by a full run, going from 2.48 to 3.49. Afterward, he said he simply did not have his typical stuff, and Kentucky made him pay for it. He’ll get an opportunity to bounce back against a lineup that is not nearly as potent as Kentucky’s was, but it will still be interesting to see how the freshman responds to his first true rough patch. One of the qualities the LSU staff loves most about Walker is how unflappable he is in hairy situations.
On the Crimson Tide: Alabama has not announced a starter, but it will likely be junior right-hander Jake Walters, its typical Friday night starter. Walters has been Alabama’s best starting pitcher this season, going 4-4 with a 4.04 ERA and striking out 45 in 49 innings. Against SEC teams, he hasn’t been quite as effective, going 1-3 with a 5.84 ERA in five starts. The reason Walters was not announced as a starter is because coach Greg Goff wanted to have Walters available out of the bullpen in the first two games in case he was needed.
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