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GAMETHREAD: v. Lamar; 6:30pm

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LSU baseball finds its self in a position not many could have imagined earlier this season. Ranked in the top 5 (as high as #1 in one of the many polls of record in college baseball), leading the SEC West by 3 games, tied for the overall conference crown, with the nation's leader in batting average, and one of, if not the best weekend rotations in the country. There is still half of the conference slate to go, including this weekend's series at the other #1 team in the country, but LSU is firmly in the driver's seat to host postseason baseball at The Box for the first time since it's inaugural season.

LSU will work on one of the key steps of improving from a good team to an Omaha team tonight against Lamar. For a team that will lean on it's pitching to get the job done, as LSU does, finding a 4th starter is crucial to surviving post-season play. Joe Broussard will get the start tonight in an attempt to see if he can be that starter. Broussard's season started off with a bad outing v Grambling in February, but he vastly improved in a few brief relief outings and had a good 6.1 IP outing v Alcorn St. last week. I'd expect a similar length outing tonight, though as it's the only midweek game this week, Mainieri might try to keep a few arms fresh for the weekend.

The Lamar Cardinals (13-21, 6-12 in the Southland) are one of the few teams in the South that has an all-time winning record v LSU and Skip Bertman, leading 5-1 all time, including a perfect 2-0 at Old Alex Box. During most of that time, Lamar was in the Sun Belt. The last meeting was back in '95, in a season opening invitational in the Superdome, a series I really wish we could bring back. While Lamar is still coached by the same man, Jim Gilligan, who has 1,218 lifetime wins, it hasn't been a good year for the Cardinals. Their only notable series wins are 2 games over Baylor, one of the hottest teams in college baseball, in an early season tournament in Waco, and taking 2 of 3 from Southeastern. Lamar doesn't have a single batter over .300, though SR LF Jeff Abt is hitting .353 over his last five games and is on a seven-game hitting streak. Lamar is pitching 4.60 as a team and is carrying a 146/205 BB/K ratio, far away from LSU's 90/338 mark.

Weather is perfect with not a cloud in the sky and a high that only hit the mid 70's today. No TV.

PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU - So. RHP Joe Broussard (4-0, 3.75 ERA, 24.0 IP, 7 BB, 24 SO)
LU - Sr. RHP Andrew Beasley (0-0, 3.60 ERA, 10.0 IP, 5 BB, 5 SO)