LSU set to host pair of teams this weekend

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

BATON ROUGE – Fifth-ranked LSU (11-4) concludes a seven-game homestand this weekend as the Tigers play host to Arizona State (11-10) and Western Illinois (4-10) in Alex Box Stadium.

LSU will face Arizona State at 6:30 p.m. Friday; the Tigers meet Western Illinois at 4 p.m. Saturday, and LSU plays Arizona State again at 4 p.m. Sunday.

In addition, Arizona State and Western Illinois will meet twice this weekend – the teams play at Noon Saturday and again at Noon Sunday.

The LSU-Arizona State game on Friday will be broadcast in Baton Rouge only on WTGE 107.3 FM. The radio station for the Tigers’ baseball games on Saturday and Sunday will be determined by the results of LSU’s participation in the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament. As long as LSU remains alive in the men’s basketball tournament, the baseball games will be broadcast on WTGE 107.3 FM. If LSU is eliminated from the tournament, the baseball games will be broadcast on WDGL 98.1 FM.

All three LSU baseball games can also be heard on the LSU Athletics web site,

LSU coach Smoke Laval will send senior left-hander Lane Mestepey (3-1, 1.42 ERA) to the mound in Friday’s weekend opener.

Mestepey picked up his 32nd career victory in last Friday’s win over UAB, as he worked 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and a career-high eight strikeouts. Mestepey is now just six wins shy of tying Scott Schultz (38 wins, 1992-95) for the LSU career victories record.

Arizona State coach Pat Murphy is expected to counter Friday with sophomore right-hander Zechry Zinicola (2-1, 3.74 ERA).

The Tigers enter Friday’s contest with a 4-4 mark in their last eight games, including a 6-2 loss to top-ranked Tulane on Tuesday. LSU, hitting .293 as a team, is led by second baseman Clay Harris, who is batting .389 with two homers and 12 RBI.

LSU left fielder Ryan Patterson, a preseason all-America, is hitting .364 with two homers and nine RBI, and DH Blake Gill is batting .340 with one homer and 14 RBI. Right fielder Nick Stavinoha, a .340 hitter, leads the club in homers (3) and RBI (18).

The Sun Devils are coming off a successful weekend in which they went 3-0 at the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C., recording wins over No. 4 North Carolina, tournament host East Carolina and Ohio State. ASU has won five of its last six games heading into the weekend to climb over the .500 mark for the first time since mid-February.

The two games against nationally-ranked LSU continue a tough stretch of games that will see the Sun Devils play 15 of their first 25 games against teams that have appeared in the national polls this season. ASU is also in a current stretch of playing a string of 15 of 18 games away from Tempe. The Devils return home next weekend for a three-game non-conference series against Oklahoma (Mar. 18-20) and then begin Pac-10 play on the road at USC (Mar. 24-26).

LSU leads the all-time series with Arizona State, 4-1-1, and the Tigers will face Western Illinois for the first time on Saturday. LSU won two of three against ASU in 2000 in Baton Rouge, and the Tigers were 2-0-1 versus the Sun Devils in 2001 in Tempe.