The No. 7 national seed LSU Tigers kick off the 2012 NCAA Baseball Tournament's Super Regional round on Friday with the first game of a best-of-three series against the Stony Brook Seawolves. A spot in the College World Series is on the line.
The LSU Tigers pitching staff is led by the Baltimore Orioles' No. 4 overall draft pick RHP Kevin Gausman (11-1, 2.72 ERA), a native of Colorado. He pitched LSU to victory over the Oregon St. Beavers in a 7-1 victory last Saturday. He is joined by freshman pitcher Aaron Nola (7-4, 3.66 ERA) and Ryan Eades (5-2, 3.55 ERA) in the rotation.
Nola will draw the opening game start, just as he did when regional play started last week. The freshman struck out 10 batters and allowed just one run in eight innings in the 4-1 victory over the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.
The Tigers' offense is led by Raph Rhymes, who is hitting .452/.510/.557 with 52 RBI. Nola's older brother, Aaron, is hitting .313 and has the third most RBI on the team, 42. The LSU offense came up big in Sunday's finale to lead a 6-5 comeback victory in the 10th inning over the second game against the Beavers.
Stony Brook is the Cinderella of this tournament so far, surviving the opening double-elimination round with three victories over last Sunday and Monday. The Seawolves are led by outfielder Travis Jankowski, a supplemental first-round pick by the San Diego Padres on Monday. Jankowski leads a contingent of seven Stony Brook draftees. As a junior, Jankowski is hitting .417/.484/.632 with 17 doubles, 10 triples, five home runs and 46 RBI.
Game time/date: 10:00 a.m. MT Friday, June 8, 2012
Location: Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
TV: ESPN2, ESPN3.com