With only nine league games left before the SEC Tournament, LSU will travel to Starkville to face Mississippi State on Thursday.

LSU Baseball Report/William P. Franques

#1 LSU Fighting Tigers (38-7, 14-6 SEC) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (23-22, 7-14 SEC)

DATES/TIMES
Thursday, April 30 – 6:30 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Friday, May 1 – 7 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Saturday, May 2 – 3 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

STADIUM
Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss.

RANKINGS
LSU – No. 1 by Baseball America; No. 1 USA Today; No. 1 D1 Baseball; No. 1 Collegiate Baseball; No. 1 Perfect Game; No. 1 NCBWA
MSU – unranked

RADIO
1130 the Tiger in Shreveport, LA

TV

Thursday - ESPNU
Friday – ESPNU
Saturday – ESPN2

SERIES RECORD
Mississippi State leads the overall series with LSU, 200-175-1, and the first meeting between the teams occurred in 1905. Last year, the Tigers swept three games from the Bulldogs in Baton Rouge. LSU has won 18 of the last 26 meetings between the clubs. LSU has also posted eight straight SEC series wins over the Bulldogs. Mississippi State's last regular-season series win over LSU came in 2006, when the Bulldogs won two of three games in the original Alex Box Stadium. LSU coach Paul Mainieri has a 21-10 career mark against Mississippi State.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU – So. LHP Jared Poche’ (7-1, 2.74 ERA, 69.0 IP, 17 BB, 43 SO)
MSU – Sr. LHP Lucas Laster (4-3, 3.16 ERA, 57.0 IP, 12 BB, 43 SO)

Game 2
LSU – Fr. RHP Alex Lange (7-0, 1.86 ERA, 63.0 IP, 28 BB, 72 SO)
MSU – Jr. RHP Preston Brown (5-5, 3.76 ERA, 67.0 IP, 23 BB, 50 SO)

Game 3
LSU – Fr. RHP Austin Bain (1-2, 2.83 ERA, 35.0 IP, 15 BB, 37 SO)
MSU – So. RHP Austin Sexton (4-4, 3.77 ERA, 57.1 IP, 18 BB, 51 SO)

BATON ROUGE, La. – Top-ranked LSU (38-7, 14-6 SEC) begins a three-game series versus Mississippi State (23-22, 7-14 SEC) at 6:30 p.m. CT at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT Friday, and first pitch for Game 3 is set for 3 p.m. CT Saturday.

The games on Thursday and Friday will be televised by ESPNU, and Saturday’s game will be televised by ESPN2.

LSU is ranked No. 1 this week in all six college baseball polls, marking the seventh week this season the Tigers are No. 1 in at least one poll. LSU has won 15 of its last 17 games and eight of its last nine.

The Tigers are in first place in the SEC Western Division, one game ahead of Texas A&M. LSU is in second place in the overall conference race, just one-half game behind Eastern Division leader Vanderbilt.

LSU posted an SEC series victory last weekend over second-ranked Texas A&M in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The Tigers batted .330 in the Texas A&M series and collected 35 hits in three games against the Aggie pitching staff, which has the best team ERA in the SEC (2.65).

“There was a lot of hype surrounding last weekend’s series with Texas A&M because it was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, “but this series with Mississippi State takes on even greater significance. There are only three weekends remaining in SEC play, and each game is crucial in establishing a strong resume for postseason tournament bids.

“LSU and Mississippi State have a storied rivalry featuring great players and coaches, and we’re expecting a tremendous challenge on the road this weekend.”

LSU leads the nation in hits (529), and the Tigers are No. 2 in the nation and No.1 in the SEC with a .320 team batting average.

The Tigers are paced offensively by senior catcher Kade Scivicque -- the SEC’s third-leading hitter – who is batting .380 on the year with 13 doubles, five homers, 32 RBI and 22 runs.

LSU junior first baseman Chris Chinea is hitting .357 with 11 doubles, six homers and 37 RBI, junior shortstop Alex Bregman is hitting .331 with 16 doubles, three triples, eight homers, 36 RBI and an SEC-leading 26 steals, and senior third baseman Conner Hale is batting .328 with 12 doubles, two triples, four homers and 38 RBI.

The LSU pitching staff is second in the SEC with a 2.83 team ERA. Freshman right-hander Alex Lange is No. 2 in the league in ERA (1.86) and No. 4 in the league in strikeouts (72).

Mississippi State is hitting .272 as a team (ninth in the SEC) with 19 homers and 39 steals in 53 attempts. The Bulldogs are led at the plate by senior first baseman Wes Rea, who is hitting .314 with nine doubles, one triple, four homers and 30 RBI. Junior infielder John Holland has eight doubles, one homer and 24 RBI, while sophomore outfielder/infielder Reid Humphreys has a team-high five homers to go along with six doubles and 21 RBI.

Mississippi State is No. 13 in the SEC with a 4.23 staff ERA.

Mississippi State leads the overall series with LSU, 200-175-1, and the first meeting between the teams occurred in 1905. Last year, the Tigers swept three games from the Bulldogs in Baton Rouge. LSU has won 18 of the last 26 meetings between the clubs. LSU has also posted eight straight SEC series wins over the Bulldogs. Mississippi State's last regular-season series win over LSU came in 2006, when the Bulldogs won two of three games in the original Alex Box Stadium. LSU coach Paul Mainieri has a 21-10 career mark against Mississippi State.