Who: LSU (26-12, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) at Kentucky (26-12, 10-5)
When: Game 1 at 1 p.m. Friday, Game 2 shortly after
Where: Cliff Hagan Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
Radio: WDGL-FM 98.1; WWL-AM, 870
Rankings: LSU is ranked No. 9 by Baseball America, Kentucky is ranked No. 14 by Baseball America
Friday’s likely starters
LSU – Jr. RHP Alex Lange (4-4, 3.27 ERA, 52.1 IP, 17 BB, 69 SO)
UK – RHP Sean Hjelle (5-2, 3.97 ERA, 56.2 IP, 11 BB, 54 SO)
LSU – Sr. LHP Jared Poche’ (6-2, 2.67 ERA, 57.1 IP, 13 BB, 42 SO)
UK – Jr. LHP Zach Logue (5-3, 4.04 ERA, 55.2 IP, 11 BB, 52 SO)
What to watch for: With inclement weather expected Saturday, LSU and Kentucky will play a double header Friday. Expect to see a few balls leave the yard this weekend. Kentucky’s Cliff Hagan Stadium is one of the smallest in the conference, especially for left-handed power hitters. It’s only 310 feet to the fence down the right field line (compared to 330 feet for both left and right field in Alex Box Stadium), and only 350 feet to the power alley in right-center (365 in Alex Box Stadium). Of the seven home runs LSU’s Greg Deichmann has hit to right field at Alex Box Stadium, none have traveled less than 373 feet according to LSU’s baseball flight-tracking data system. But this works both ways. LSU’s pitching staff has been plagued at times by the home run this season, with the three weekend starters giving up 19 home runs between them this season. Only Kentucky (38) has given up more homers than LSU (35) in the SEC.
On the Wildcats: Kentucky has surprised many by sprinting out to the SEC east lead through the first half of the SEC slate. The Wildcats lineup has been largely responsible for this quick start, leading the SEC in both hitting (.308) and runs per game (7.7). Eight Kentucky regulars are hitting .299 or better, led by first baseman Evan White, who has hit .383 with five home runs since returning from an early season hamstring injury. What remains to be seen is if Kentucky can win when its lineup isn’t producing at its normal rate. It should be concerning to Kentucky fans that the team sports a 4.57 ERA against conference opponents, and is ranked No. 11 among SEC teams in fielding percentage (.970).