No. 14 Texas Longhorns baseball (3-1) will begin a three game non-conference series on Friday at 7 pm CST against No. 22 LSU (2-2) in Baton Rouge. The series will be the first time the two teams have played since the 2009 College World Series in which LSU defeated Texas in a deciding third game.
The series will be one of Texas’ marquee non-conference tests, but LSU has been struggling to begin 2018. Poor starting pitching led to the Tigers falling 10-5 and 11-6 to Notre Dame in the final two games of Opening Weekend after winning the first game of the series 7-6.
LSU was able to bounce back with a mid-week home win against New Orleans, 14-6.
Nolan Kingham will get the start for the ‘Horns on Friday night. The junior is coming off of a career performance against UL-Lafayette in which he allowed no runs in eight complete innings, striking out a career high 10 batters and allowing only three hits and one walk.
Chase Shugart and Blair Henley, who both turned in impressive performances of their own last weekend, will likely start Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
LSU sophomore Zack Hess will face-off against Kingham Friday night against the ‘Horns. Hess allowed five hits, six walks, and eight runs in only 2.1 innings pitched in his start last Saturday against Notre Dame.
Junior Caleb Gilbert will get the start Saturday for the Tigers. Gilbert also had a poor outing against the Fighting Irish last weekend, allowing 10 hits and six runs in 4.1 innings pitched in his start last Friday.
Sophomore Todd Peterson will remain the Sunday starter for LSU this weekend. Peterson allowed four hits, four walks, and and three runs in four innings pitched last Sunday.
The series should be fascinating to watch because the two teams appear to have different strengths. While Texas has dominated with a 1.25 team ERA, LSU owns a 7.50 ERA. However, the Tigers have generated 29 runs (included four homers) through four games, while Texas has only managed to score 17 runs in the same amount of matches.
LSU’s Beau Jordan has gotten off to the hottest start of any of the Tigers, as the senior outfielder is currently hitting .417 with three doubles and two homers in only twelve at-bats.
Still, the Tigers are only hitting .252 as a team, not much better than Texas’ .236 team batting average.
With the way LSU has been playing, it’s certainly not out of the question to expect Texas to get out of Baton Rouge with a series win. The ‘Horns will need to continue to get stellar pitching performances from their starters, and use the same confidence they found at the plate versus Lamar last Wednesday against the Tigers too.
You can watch the game on the WatchESPN app or on SECN+. You can also tune in to 101.9 the Horn for a radio broadcast of the game.