LSU baseball at Auburn: Pitching matchups, preview and prediction

Jun 14, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher Jared Poche
Jun 14, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher Jared Poche /

Pitching matchups, preview and predictions for the LSU baseball team’s series with the Auburn Tigers.

One week after dropping its first road SEC series to fall to 2-4 in conference play, the 19th-ranked LSU baseball team will hit the road again, traveling to Auburn (12-13, 1-5 SEC) for a three-game series. When the two teams met last year in Baton Rouge, LSU, ranked no. 3 at the time, took two out of three.

Conference play has gotten off to a rough start for LSU. The team has lost back-to-back series against Alabama and Texas A&M, turning a 13-3 start to the season into a pedestrian 16-8 record. The Tigers have struggled to score runs since the start of SEC play and, coming off of a 7-1 loss to Tulane on Tuesday night, has lost three of their last four games while scoring just six runs. LSU pitched well last weekend against Texas A&M, but scored just five runs (two earned) in three games against the Aggies.

Auburn has experienced struggles of its own this season, winning just one of its first six conference games. The Tigers head into Friday’s series opener on a high note after beating in-state rival Alabama by a score of 10-1 on Tuesday night. They dropped two out of three against Texas A&M to open up SEC play two weeks ago before being swept by Arkansas last weekend. As a team, Auburn is hitting .326 with 21 home runs in 25 games, but has pitched to a rough 4.15 ERA.

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 (4/1)- LSU: Alex Lange (2-1, 4.21 ERA), Auburn: Justin Camp (1-1, 4.71 ERA)

Saturday (4/2)- LSU: Jared Poche (2-3, 2.55 ERA), Auburn: Cole Lipscomb (1-2, 5.27 ERA)

Sunday (4/3)- LSU: John Valek III (4-1, 2.34 ERA), Auburn: TBA

Players to Watch


Anfernee Grier- Grier has been hot for the Tigers through the team’s first 25 games, hitting .434 (46-for-106). He has seven home runs, 23 RBIs and 35 runs scored. The junior outfielder has also been a force on the basepaths, stealing 13 bases in 16 attempts.

Joshua Palacios- Palacios is second on the team in average, hitting .411 (44-for-107) with 15 extra-base hits. Four of those extra-base hits have been triples. He has been active once on base, stealing 11 bases in 14 attempts while also getting things done defensively, picking up five assists from the outfield.

Niko Buentello- From the left side of the plate, Buentello has provided the Tigers with a lot of power. Starting all 25 games, he has posted a .380 average (38-for-100) with six doubles and six home runs to go along with 34 RBIs, which leads the team.

Andrew Mitchell- The sophomore left-hander has appeared in eight games (five starts) this season, throwing 32 2/3 innings. While his 3.58 ERA is nothing to look twice at, he is 4-0 this season and leads the Tigers with 33 strikeouts.


Greg Deichmann- While his struggles at third base have been a talking point lately, Deichmann has been coming around at the plate. His home run last Saturday against Texas A&M accounted for the Tigers’ only run and in the midweek loss to Tulane, he went 2-for-4 and drove in the team’s only run of the night. The sophomore’s average is up to .308 (24-for-78).

Beau Jordan- Jordan has done a solid job as a mainstay in the middle of the LSU lineup this year. He is second on the team with a .341 average (29-for-85) and leads with 19 RBIs. He has six doubles, one home run and 11 runs scored in 23 games played.

Antoine Duplantis- Duplantis has been the most consistent player on the roster in 2016, which is especially impressive considering he had never seen collegiate action before February. After a game on Tuesday night in which he reached base four times with two hits and two walks, his average is up to a team-high .370 (34-for-92) and his on-base percentage is up to .442, which is also the highest among regular starters.

Alex Lange- The 2015 National Freshman Pitcher of the Year has struggled this season, posting a 4.21 ERA in 36 1/3 innings. He is coming off of a start last week against Texas A&M in which he progressed despite struggling with control. The right-hander allowed just two earned runs in six and one-thirds innings while walking six and striking out 11. He will start the series opener on Friday night.

The LSU offense has struggled heavily at the start of conference play and its pitching staff, while improved in recent weeks, is still looking to string together some consistency. Auburn comes into the weekend with the opposite problem. The Tigers have been able to score runs (194), but have struggled on the mound throughout the year.


LSU’s young lineup shows progress and the weekend rotation gives them a chance in every game as they come away with two out of three on the road over Auburn.