LSU baseball vs Alabama: Pitching matchups, preview and prediction

Jun 16, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher Alex Lange (35) throws against the Cal State Fullerton Titans during the first inning in the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 16, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher Alex Lange (35) throws against the Cal State Fullerton Titans during the first inning in the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports /

Pitching matchups, preview and predictions for the LSU baseball team’s series with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

After a 13-3 run in non-conference play, the seventh-ranked LSU baseball team is set to host the Alabama Crimson Tide (11-5, 0-0 SEC) at Alex Box Stadium this weekend to open up SEC play. When the two teams met in Tuscaloosa last season, LSU came away with a sweep of the Crimson Tide, though two of the games were decided in extra innings.

The Tigers have won nine of their last 10 games, most recently defeating New Orleans on Wednesday night by a score of 9-4. Last weekend, LSU got off to a rough start in its series with Ball State, dropping the opener on Friday night before coming back to take the series with wins on Saturday and Sunday. As conference play opens, the Tigers will look to improve upon their 21-8 SEC record from a year ago.

Alabama comes to Baton Rouge this weekend having lost three of its last four games. After a 10-2 start, the Crimson Tide dropped two of three to Houston last weekend before falling to Southern Mississippi on Tuesday. They will be looking for a better finish in conference play this season after going 12-18 against SEC opponents last year. Through 16 games, the Tide are only hitting .241 as a team, but they have pitched to a 2.01 ERA as a staff.

Below are the pitching matchups for the weekend, as well as a look at the key players to watch for each team:

Pitching Matchups

Friday (3/18)- Alabama: Geoffrey Bramblett (1-0, 1.05 ERA), LSU: Alex Lange (2-0, 4.24 ERA)

Saturday (3/19)- Alabama: Jake Walters (1-2, 3.32 ERA), LSU: Jared Poche (2-1, 2.49 ERA)

Sunday (3/20)- Alabama: Nick Eicholtz (1-0, 0.00 ERA), LSU: John Valek III (4-0, 1.99 ERA)

Players to Watch


Chance Vincent- Vincent is one of three players that has started all 16 games this season. The senior is hitting .300 (15-for-50) with eight RBIs while all 15 of his hits in 2016 have been singles.

Keith Holcombe- In 13 games this season (10 starts), Holcombe is hitting .313 (10-for-32) with a triple, five RBIs and eight runs scored. The freshman outfielder is also a linebacker on the Alabama football team, currently going through spring practices after redshirting this past fall.

Geoffrey Bramblett- Bramblett has started four games on the mound for the Tide this season, going 1-0 with a 1.05 ERA. He has allowed just three runs in 25 2/3 innings pitched this season while striking out 22 batters. The junior right-hander will start on Friday night.

Thomas Burrows- Burrows has been a strong left-handed option out of the bullpen so far this season. He hasn’t allowed a run in eight innings pitched, picking up four saves to lead the team.


Antoine Duplantis- The Tigers’ leading hitter has put together an incredible start to his collegiate career, posting a .417 average (25-for-60) in 16 games. He will look to extend his hitting streak to 17 games on Friday night, which would bring him closer to the second longest hitting streak by an LSU freshman. He is currently chasing Blake Dean (20 games) and Alex Bregman (23 games).

Jake Fraley- After a somewhat slow start to 2016, Fraley is proving to be one of LSU’s most reliable players. He is currently hitting .397 (25-for-63) with two doubles, three triples, a home run and 23 runs scored. The junior center fielder has stolen 13 bases in 18 attempts this season.

John Valek III- Valek has been the most consistent starter for LSU, going 4-0 in his first four starts as a Tiger. He has a 1.99 ERA, giving up five earned runs in 22 2/3 innings pitched. The senior right-hander will start on Sunday.

Caleb Gilbert- While Antoine Duplantis has been impressive as a position player in his first 16 collegiate games, Gilbert has been the Tigers’ most impressive freshman pitcher. In 10 1/3 innings pitched, he has allowed one earned run (0.87 ERA) while striking out 16 batters, the most by any LSU reliever.

While the LSU pitching staff is still looking for consistency, the offense has been strong all year. The Tigers have failed to score four-plus runs only once this season and have seven games with double-digit runs. Alabama presents the team’s biggest challenge to date, boasting a pitching staff that has a 2.01 ERA in 16 games.

As long as the Tigers show up offensively this weekend, LSU could be looking at a favorable matchup. The pitching staff has a good chance to come out strong this weekend against a struggling Crimson Tide offense.


LSU finally gets all three of its starting pitchers to click on the same weekend while the offense grinds out enough runs against a good Alabama staff to give the Tigers a sweep and a 3-0 start in SEC play.