Top-ranked LSU begins its 2019 baseball season at Alex Box Stadium this weekend, starting with a Friday night tilt against in-state UL-Monroe, with pre-season All-American Zack Hess taking the mound against the Warhawks.
LSU returns a talented group of veteran players along with the top-ranked recruiting class of incoming freshmen.
LSU Fighting Tigers vs. ULM Warhawks/Army Black Knights/Air Force Falcons
Military Appreciation Weekend
• ULM at LSU: Friday, Feb. 15 – 7 p.m. CT
• Army at LSU: Saturday, Feb. 16 – 2 p.m. CT
• Air Force at LSU: Sunday, Feb. 17 – 3 p.m. CT
Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field (10,326)
• LSU – No. 1 Collegiate Baseball, No. 1 USA Today, No. 1 Perfect Game, No. 2 Baseball America, No. 2 D1 Baseball
• ULM, Army and Air Force are unranked
All three games may be viewed at SEC Network + - accessible at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app
The Air Force “Wings of Blue” parachuting team will execute a jump into the stadium prior to each of the three LSU games this weekend.
SERIES RECORD VS. THIS WEEKEND’S OPPONENTS
LSU leads the all-time series with UL-Monroe, 39-8, including a 4-1 win over the Warhawks in the teams’ last meeting in the 2012 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. The Tigers lead the all-time series with Army, 4-0, including a doubleheader sweep of the Black Knights in 2017 in Baton Rouge. The second game of the twin bill featured a seven-inning no-hitter by LSU pitcher Jared Poche’. LSU has a 4-0 advantage in the all-time series with Air Force, including a 10-3 in over the Falcons in 2017 at Alex Box Stadium.
Game 1 — LSU – Jr. RH Zack Hess (7-6, 5.05 ERA, 92.2 IP, 49 BB, 107 SO in 2018) | Feature ULM – Sr. RH Jacob Barton (redshirted in 2018 – 2-0, 6.57 ERA, 18 BB, 26 SO at Miss. State in 2017)
Game 2 — LSU – Fr. RH Landon Marceaux (making first career collegiate appearance) Army – Sr. RH Daniel Burggraaf (7-3, 2.90 ERA, 62.0 IP, 25 BB, 83 SO in 2018)
Game 3 — LSU – Fr. RH Jaden Hill (making first career collegiate appearance) AFA – Sr. LH Ethan Nichols (0-3, 5.34 ERA, 28.2 IP, 16 BB, 32 SO in 2018)
QUOTING PAUL MAINIERI
“Our job as coaches now is to make sure that our players are loose, that they play aggressively and utilize the ability that they have. If they do that, then I think we’re going to be OK this season. No matter what happens Friday night, we have 55 games remaining on our schedule after the opener. Our job is to win games in June, and that’s what we’re preparing the team to do. I hope along the way to June we win all of our games, but our focus will be on building the team as the season progresses. The key is to continue moving in a forward direction over the course of the entire year.”
ABOUT THE TIGERS
• LSU has won 17 consecutive season-opening games; the Tigers’ last loss in a season opener came in 2001, when LSU dropped a 9-8 decision to Kansas State in the original Alex Box Stadium.
• Outfielder Antoine Duplantis has 268 career hits, just 85 shy of breaking the SEC record held by former LSU 1B Eddy Furniss (352 hits – 1995-98).
• LSU Game 1 starting pitcher Zack Hess received preseason All-America recognition and is on the 55-man Watch List for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award.
• Outfielder Daniel Cabrera received preseason All-America recognition, and he was named to the Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team … he batted .315 last season with 18 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 54 RBI, and he finished seventh in the SEC in doubles and eighth in RBI.
• LSU closer Todd Peterson is on the 75-man Watch List for the 2019 NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award.
• LSU has four second-generation Tiger players on its roster – 1B Drew Bianco is the son of Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, who was a catcher at LSU in 1988-89 and an LSU assistant coach from 1993-97 … 2B Brandt Broussard is the son of Burke Broussard, the starting second baseman on LSU’s first College World Series team in 1986 … Catcher Braden Doughty is the son of Richard Doughty, who played catcher at LSU in 1989, and RHP Chase Costello is the son of Vincent Costello, an outfielder at LSU in 1984-85.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS
• UL-Monroe posted a 23-31 overall record last season, 10-20 in the Sun Belt Conference … head coach Michael Federico is in his second season at the helm of the Warhawks program.
• Army registered a 37-24 overall mark in 2018, and the Black Knights finished in a first-place tie with Navy in the Patriot League standings with an 18-7 record.
• Air Force was 24-30 overall and 12-17 in the Mountain West Conference last season … the Falcons are coached by Mike Kazlausky, who played at Air Force under Paul Mainieri when Mainieri was the AFA head coach … Mainieri coached at Air Force from 1989-94.