The ESPN SEC Game of the Week featured on Thursday night is a matchup of the two last placed teams in the conference in Kentucky and LSU. Kentucky enters with a 20-22 overall record while being 4-14 in the SEC. LSU enters at 25-17 record while also being 4-14 in SEC play.
Kentucky’s offense enters with a .297 team batting average which is fourth best in the SEC. They are led by Senior infielder Taylor Black who is sporting a .333 batting average with two homers and 28 RBI. Braden Kapteyn is second on the squad with a .331 batting average but leads the team with six homers and 39 RBI. Chad Wright has also been solid this year with a .323 batting average with four homers and 28 RBI.
The Kentucky pitching staff has a team ERA of 4.39 through their first 41 games of the year. Leading them is Alex Meyer who is 4-5 with a 3.27 ERA in his first ten starts of the year. Meyer heading into the year was rated as the 34th best player in the country by CBD. He is expected to get the start on Thursday evening for the BatCats. Freshman Corey Littrell will start on Friday as he is 5-3 with a 5.64 ERA in 12 appearances (including 9 starts). Sophomore Taylor Rogers will start Saturday against the Bayou Tigers as he is 2-5 with a 5.16 ERA.
LSU enters the weekend with a team batting average of .289 which is the seventh best in the conference. They are led by Mikie Mahtook who is leading the team in all three triple crown categories with a .364 batting average, 10 homers, and 41 RBI in 42 games. He has been outstanding on the basepaths as he has 24 stolen bases in 30 attempts. Heading into the 2011 season, CBD rated Mahtook as the 21st best player in the country. Raph Rhymes and Austin Nola are also formidable in the Tigers lineup. Rhymes is hitting .344 with two homers and 31 RBI. Nola is hitting .313 with two homers and 34 RBI.
LSU’s pitching staff has been a mild disappointment as they check in with the tenth best team ERA at 4.48 ERA. Freshman Kurt McCune will get the ball in the opener tonight as he is 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in his first ten appearances. Kevin Gausman will start on Friday evening as he is 2-5 with a 4.73 ERA and Saturday’s starter Ben Alsup is 5-4 with a 3.93 ERA.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
LSU – Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (5-3, 3.39 ERA, 63.2 IP, 19 BB, 47 SO)
UK – Jr. RHP Alex Meyer (4-5, 3.27 ERA, 71.2 IP, 36 BB, 81 SO)
LSU – Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-5, 4.73 ERA, 59.0 IP, 18 BB, 54 SO)
UK – Fr. LHP Corey Littrell (5-3, 5.64 ERA, 52.2 IP, 18 BB, 39 SO)
LSU – Sr. RHP Ben Alsup (5-4, 3.93 ERA, 52.2 IP, 20 BB, 34 SO)
UK – So. LHP Taylor Rogers (2-5, 5.16 ERA, 59.1 IP, 11 BB, 41 SO)
Prediction: LSU 2-1