LSU baseball will renew an old nonconference rivalry at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when it hosts Lamar at Alex Box Stadium.
The programs have met 14 times, first in 1984 and again every year from 2012-19. They were scheduled to play in both 2020 and 2022, but the pandemic cut the 2020 season short and inclement weather forced the teams to cancel last year’s game.
LSU (11-1) leads the all-time series 8-6. Lamar last beat the Tigers in 2016, when the Cardinals won 12-11 in Beaumont, Texas.
Will Davis, a Baton Rouge native who played catcher at LSU from 2004-07 and coached under Paul Mainieri for seven seasons, is Lamar’s head coach. Across five seasons (excluding 2020), Davis has led the Cardinals to a 132-141 overall record (75-81 Southland Conference). Last season, Lamar posted a 37-21 record. This year, the Cardinals are 10-2, including a Feb. 21 win over then-No. 5 Texas A&M.
“(Davis) does a great job,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said. “I’ve gotten to know him a little bit better since I’ve become the coach here. I think he has the right idea for putting that program in the best place to be successful.”
Johnson said he expects his hitters to face Cardinals’ Friday starter Brooks Capel, a 6-foot-6 junior right-hander who was pulled after two innings in a loss to Pennsylvania on Friday. Across three starts and 12⅔ innings, Capel has a 2.84 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting .244 against him, with 11 hits and four earned runs.
Through 12 games, Lamar’s pitching staff ranks among the best in the country. The Cardinals' ERA (2.68) and WHIP (1.05) both rank 10th in the country. Per nine innings, they’ve allowed the 18th-fewest hits and the 10th-fewest walks.
The Cardinals are not as effective at the plate. They’re hitting .241, which ranks outside the top 230 in the nation. They’ve recorded only 93 hits and six home runs. Senior catcher Ryan Snell leads the Lamar hitters with a .721 slugging percentage, which ranks outside the top 160 in the country.
After a relatively slow start to the season, the LSU bats came alive during their four-game stretch from Friday to Monday. The Tigers scored double-digit runs in all four games, including a 26-run eruption in a Saturday win over Central Connecticut State.
The game against Lamar will be the Tigers' sixth game in nine days.
“This will be a great challenge,” Johnson said. “All of these things that we’re doing are challenging, going on the road, playing in the (Round Rock) tournament, playing at Texas, four games in four days. I think our guys are doing a good job of taking it in stride.”