Preview: No. 20 LSU Tigers (34-18, 14-13 SEC) at No. 11 Vanderbilt Commodores (35-16, 14-13 SEC)

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LSU's Gavin Dugas

DATES/TIMES
• Thursday, May 19 @ 7 p.m. CT
• Friday, May 20 @ 6 p.m. CT
• Saturday, May 21 @ 1 p.m. CT
STADIUM
• Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn.
RANKINGS
• LSU – No. 20 Perfect Game, No. 21 NCBWA, No. 24 USA Today
• VU – No. 11 Collegiate Baseball, No. 16 NCBWA, No. 19 USA Today
RADIO
• LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
• Live audio at www.LSUsports.net/live; Live stats at www.LSUstats.com
TV/ONLINE
• All three games will be streamed live on SEC Network +
• Thursday’s game will be televised live on ESPN2
• Saturday’s game will be televised live on the SEC Network

LSU SERIES RECORD VS. VANDERBILT
LSU has a 58-47 series edge over Vanderbilt, and Thursday’s game will mark the 106th meeting between the schools in a series that began in 1954. Vanderbilt has won eight of the past nine regular-season series between the schools, including a three-game sweep in Baton Rouge last season. However, LSU has a 6-2 all-time mark against Vanderbilt in SEC Tournament games. This week’s series marks LSU’s first appearance in Nashville since March 23-25, 2018, when Vanderbilt won two of three games over the Tigers. LSU has lost four straight SEC series in Nashville – the Tigers’ last series win in Nashville came in 2005, when the Tigers captured two of three games against the Commodores.

QUOTING COACH JAY JOHNSON
“We want to get to the top, and that’s where Vanderbilt’s program is right now. As I’ve said before, the only way to it is through it. So far, our guys have responded to most of the challenges we’ve faced. I know we’re looking forward to this weekend; Vanderbilt is a tough team. They have a ton of speed and athleticism – (outfielder) Enrique Bradfield is one of the best players in college baseball, and (utility player) Spencer Jones has had a really good year. They have a really good pitching staff with all of their pieces in order. If you want to get to Omaha, you have to play and be successful against this caliber of team, so we’re really looking forward to the challenge.”

ABOUT THE TIGERS
• LSU dropped an SEC series to Ole Miss last weekend; however the Tigers have still won three of their past four league series … the Tigers defeated Northwestern State, 19-7 (7 innings) on Tuesday night, and LSU begins Week 10 of SEC action when it meets Vanderbilt in Nashville at 7 p.m. CT Thursday.
• LSU, which is 14-13 in the SEC, is in fourth place in the Western Division, and if the season ended today, the Tigers would be either the No. 5, No. 6 or No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament, pending tie-breakers … the final seeds and pairings for the SEC Tournament will be announced after the regular season concludes on Saturday … LSU is 7-3 this season in one run-games, including a 5-2 mark in SEC one-run games.
• INF Cade Doughty leads the SEC in doubles with 18 … OF Dylan Crews is No. 2 in the SEC in triples (4), No. 3 in total bases (135), No. 3 in RBI (58), No. 5 in homers (17), No. 5 in runs (55), and No. 6 in hits (69) … INF Jacob Berry is No. 3 in batting average (.378), No. 5 in on-base percentage (.465), No. 6 in slugging percentage (.672), No. 7 in total bases (121), No. 8 in base hits (68) and No. 8 in homers (15) … 1B Tre’ Morgan is No. 3 in the SEC in hit by pitch (14) and No. 8 in base hits (68) … OF Gavin Dugas is No. 2 in the SEC in hit by pitch (14).
• LSU is near the top of the SEC in several offensive categories, including slugging percentage (No. 2 – .517); on-base percentage (No. 2 – .405); total bases (No. 2 – 914); runs scored (No. 2 – 414); RBI (No. 2 – 392); home runs (No. 3 – 95); batting average (No. 3 – .289); doubles (No. 4 – 100) and base hits (No. 5 – 511).
• LSU’s batters have been hit by a pitch 107 times through 52 games of the regular season … LSU tied the NCAA single-game record for hit-by-pitches Tuesday night when the Tigers were hit on 10 occasions versus Northwestern State … the Tigers are No. 2 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC in batters hit-by-pitches, and the next-closest SEC team in that category is Missouri with 79 HBPs.
• Sophomore right-hander Ty Floyd delivered an excellent relief outing last weekend in Game 1 of the Ole Miss series, limiting the Rebels to one run on two hits in six innings with two walks and three strikeouts … the effort marked his second straight outstanding performance in SEC play, as on May 7 he limited Alabama to one run on two hits in four innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
• Sophomore right-hander Blake Money recorded eight strikeouts in 4.2 innings over two relief appearances last week, allowing one earned run and no walks.
• The LSU pitching staff is near the top of the SEC in a number of categories, including team ERA (No. 4 – 3.97); opponent batting average (No. 4 – .232); fewest earned runs allowed (No. 4 – 202); fewest hits allowed (No. 4 – 406); and fewest walks allowed (No. 4 – 180).

ABOUT THE COMMODORES
• Vanderbilt has captured national championships in 2014 and 2019, and the Commodores finished as national runners-up in 2015 and 2021.
• The Commodores are No. 4 in the SEC with a .288 batting average, and Vanderbilt has 63 home runs and a league-high 83 steals in 92 attempts … the Vanderbilt pitching staff is No. 2 in the SEC with a 3.39 team ERA, and the Commodores are limiting opponents to a .207 cumulative batting average.
• Vanderbilt is led at the plate by utility player Dominic Keegan, who his hitting .384 with 16 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 57 RBI … utility player Spencer Jones is hitting .366 with 18 doubles, three triples, six homers and 43 RBI, and outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. is batting .330 with 10 doubles, five triples, seven homers and 29 RBI … Bradfield is 41-for-41 in stolen base attempts this season.
• Vanderbilt left-hander Devin Futrell is No. 2 in the SEC with a 2.52 ERA … left-hander Carter Holton is No. 2 in the league in strikeouts with 86 … right-hander Chris McElvain is No. 3 in the league with a .185 opponent batting average.

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