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GAMETHREAD: Baseball vs Southern, 4pm, SECN+

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Gus Stark \ LSUSports.net

LSU Baseball is starting off the season with a loaded week, playing Southern this afternoon, then traveling to Nicholls tomorrow. These double bill midweeks are always a good chance to stretch the pitching staff and experiment with the lineups a bit. Coach Mainieri has announced that Maurice Hampton will start both games in center field as he continues to get back up to speed with baseball. There will also be some experimentation at shortstop with Zack Mathis, I believe a reflection of both Hal Hughes’ continued struggles at the plate and some of the defensive leather flashed by Mathis over the weekend. Cade Doughty will be moved to third and Gavin Dugas to second. JR lefty Brandon Kaminer will get his first LSU start.

Southern (2-2) split the opening weekend at MLB’s Andre Dawson Classic in New Orleans, with wins over UNO and Alcorn St and losses to Alabama St and Grambling. Southern is picked to repeat as SWAC west champions this season. SR pitcher Elijah Finney, who pitched a 6 inning no-hitter in Southern’s win over LSU last year, is on the preseason all SWAC team. Southern will be starting So. LH Khristian Paul (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 0 BB, 2 SO).

LSU split the series with Southern last year, including a 2-7 loss at Southern, the Jag’s first win in the series since 2005. Coach Kerrick Jackson is in his third year following the legend Roger Cador and rebounded from a rough first season to a 32-24 record last year and the SWAC’s tournament bid.

Tonight’s game was already starting early to get ahead of the late basketball tipoff. Rain in the schedule has pushed it up even further to a 4pm start. The game will be on SECN+