LSU opens SEC Tournament play Wednesday morning vs. South Carolina
2023 SEC Tournament
No. 6 seed South Carolina Gamecocks (39-17) vs. No. 3 seed LSU Tigers (42-13)
• Wednesday, May 24 @ 9:30 a.m. CT (SEC Network)
• Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala. (10,800)
• LSU – No. 4 in USA Today; No. 5 in D1 Baseball; No. 5 in Baseball America (No. 4 in NCAA RPI)
• USC – No. 19 in USA Today; No. 22 in Baseball America (No. 6 in NCAA RPI)
• LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
• Live audio at www.LSUsports.net/live; Live stats at www.LSUstats.com
• The game will be televised on the SEC Network and streamed on SEC Network +
LSU SERIES RECORD VS. SOUTH CAROLINA
• LSU leads the all-time series with South Carolina, 41-32-1 … LSU has won 19 of its past 30 games versus South Carolina … the teams played to a 1-1 series tie earlier this season (April 6-7) in Columbia, S.C., as Game 3 of the series was rained out.
LSU IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT
• LSU has a league-best 89-47 (.654) all-time record in the SEC Tournament, and the Tigers own a conference-high 12 tournament titles … Alabama and Mississippi State are second behind LSU with seven tournament titles … LSU has won six of the past 14 SEC Tournament crowns, claiming the title in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017 … the Tigers were 38-11 under former coach Paul Mainieri (2007-21) in SEC Tournament games … LSU had reached the semifinal round in seven straight SEC Tournaments (2013-19) before dropping a first-round, single-elimination game to Georgia in 2021 by a score of 4-1.
LSU – So. RH Thatcher Hurd (4-2, 6.59 ERA, 41.0 IP, 29 BB, 55 SO)
USC – So. RH Eli Jones (4-4, 3.88 ERA, 46.1 IP, 15 BB, 57 SO)
QUOTING LSU COACH JAY JOHNSON
“Our team has done such a great job this season; we’ve played our way into where we want to be. I want our guys to get to Omaha and experience Omaha, and we’ve done what we need to do relative to playing at home for the NCAA Tournament. With that being said, when you put the Tiger uniform on, there’s an expectation that we’re competing to win. Our guys are winners, and we play to win every game. We’re excited to be here for the SEC Tournament; it’s one of the best events in all of amateur baseball.”
ABOUT THE TIGERS
• LSU is the No. 3 seed in the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala., and will play its first game at 9:30 a.m. CT Wednesday against either No. 6 seed South Carolina or No. 11 seed Georgia. The No. 3 SEC Tournament seed is LSU’s highest since the 2017 Tigers were the No. 1 seed in the event.
• The Tigers completed the 2023 regular season 42-13 overall and 19-10 in conference play. LSU recorded its most SEC regular-season wins since the 2017 club won 21 SEC games, and the Tigers posted their most overall regular-season wins since the 2015 squad ended the regular season with 46 victories.
• The Tigers, the SEC’s No. 4 seed last season, have finished in the Top 4 in the overall SEC standings in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2014 and 2015. LSU’s second-place finish in the SEC Western Division is its best since the Tigers won the Western Division in 2017.
• LSU has reached the 40-win mark in back-to-back years for the first time since the 2016 and 2017 seasons … LSU finished 40-22 in 2022.
• LSU enters the SEC Tournament at or near the top of several NCAA statistical categories … the Tigers are No. 1 in the nation in shutouts pitched (9); No. 2 in on-base percentage (.440); No. 3 in hit-by-pitch (119); No. 3 in strikeouts pitched per nine innings (11.6); No. 4 in runs scored (522); No. 4 in slugging percentage (.568); No. 6 in scoring average (9.5 runs per game); and No. 9 in hits allowed per nine innings (7.70).
• LSU centerfielder Dylan Crews is No. 3 in the nation in on-base percentage (.573); No. 2 in runs scored (79); No. 3 in walks (56); and No. 7 in batting average (.423); … third baseman Tommy White is No. 2 in the nation in RBI per game (1.75), and he is No. 2 nationally in total RBI (89).
• Right-hander Paul Skenes is No. 1 in the nation in strikeouts (164), strikeouts per nine innings (17.03), WHIP (0.75) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.93) … Skenes is No. 3 in hits allowed per nine innings (5.19) and No. 4 in ERA (1.77) … second baseman Gavin Dugas is No. 3 in the nation in hit-by-pitch (26).
• LSU is No. 1 in the SEC in 10 offensive categories – batting average (.310), slugging percentage (.568), on-base percentage (.440), runs (522), hits (569), RBI (478), home runs (115), total bases (1,042), hit-by-pitch (119) and sacrifice flies (32) and plate appearances (2,332).
• LSU junior centerfielder Dylan Crews was named 2023 SEC Player of the Year Monday in a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches … Crews, also voted the 2022 SEC Player of the Year, is only the second player to win the award on two occasions, joining Florida’s Matt LaPorta, who was named SEC Player of the Year in 2005 and 2007 … Crews is the only player to receive the honor in back-to-back seasons.
• Crews, a junior from Longwood, Fla., leads the SEC and is ranked seventh nationally with a .423 batting average … he has 14 home runs, 13 doubles and 57 RBI, and he is the league leader in on-base percentage (.573), runs scored (79) and walks (56) … he has increased his reached base streak to 59 straight games, which includes all 55 games this season and the final four games of last season.
• Junior right-hander Paul Skenes was named 2023 SEC Pitcher of the Year in a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches … Skenes is LSU’s first SEC Pitcher of the Year since Aaron Nola won the award in both 2013 and 2014 … Skenes, a junior from Lake Forest, Calif., leads the SEC in wins (10), strikeouts (164), earned run average (1.77), innings pitched (86.2) and opponent batting average (.161) … he is ranked No. 2 on LSU’s all-time single-season strikeouts list, trailing only Ben McDonald, who recorded 202 strikeouts in 1989.
• Skenes, who has allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of his 14 starts this season, was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week three times in 2023 … he has also received Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week recognition on seven occasions this season.
• LSU is now the only school with both a two-time SEC Player of the Year (Dylan Crews, 2022-23) and a two-time SEC Pitcher of the Year (Aaron Nola, 2013-14).
• Sophomore third baseman Tommy White was voted First-Team All-SEC Monday in a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches … White has 89 RBI this season, already the sixth-highest single-season total in LSU history … he is No. 2 in the nation in RBI per game (1.75), No. 2 in total RBI and No. 11 in slugging percentage (.793).
ABOUT THE GAMECOCKS
• South Carolina defeated Georgia, 9-0, on Tuesday in a first-round SEC Tournament elimination game on Tuesday … the Gamecocks completed the regular season in third place in the SEC Eastern Division with a 16-13 conference record.
• The Gamecocks are No. 11 in the SEC with a .276 team batting average .. South Carolina is fourth in the league with 109 home runs.
• Infielder Ethan Petry is hitting .379 on the year with nine doubles, 21 homers and 70 RBI … catcher Cole Messina is batting .313 with 17 doubles, one triple, 17 homers and 63 RBI … first baseman Gavin Casas has eight doubles, 19 homers and 49 RBI.
• The South Carolina pitching staff is No. 3 in the SEC with a 4.08 cumulative ERA … the Gamecocks have recorded 548 strikeouts in 481.0 innings while limiting opponents to a .241 batting average.
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