Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. [The Daily Advertiser]

Callin’ Baton Rouge: No. 6 Florida Baseball Visits No. 5 LSU

A rematch of the 2023 College World Series final is the SEC Network’s primetime game tonight when No. 6 Florida takes on No. 5 LSU at Alex Box Stadium.

This is Florida’s first trip to Baton Rouge in almost five years. LSU coach Jay Johnson spoke with the media Thursday about the three-game series with the Gators  (12-8, 2-1 SEC):

Gators Last Time Out

Florida opened SEC play March 15 by winning two of three from No. 4 Texas A&M in home territory. The Gators are coming off a 7-6 home loss Tuesday against the Jacksonville Dolphins.

In Tuesday’s matchup, Florida struck out a season-high 18 batters. Freshman right-handed pitcher Luke McNeillie delivered two no-hit innings. Junior first baseman Jac Caglianone is the engine for Florida, owning a .414 batting average and .485 on-base percentage. He hit two solo home runs against the Dolphins. The Gators are third in the league with 44 home runs.

The Gators have risen to No.1 nationally in fielding percentage, 0.986, and have committed only one error in the last four games.

Face-to-Face Again

Florida is in search of its first series win at LSU (18-4, 1-2) since a 2011 sweep. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Cade Fisher (2-1) will start on the mound Friday despite a 7.94 ERA. Fisher has struck out 33 batters and delivered three walks in 20 innings across his last four starts. He wields a 3.37 fielding independent pitching and 1.71 SIERA, indicating he has performed better than his statistics.

LSU leads the all-time series (68-53-1, including 31-15-1 in Baton Rouge) against the Gators, including winning the CWS title by downing UF in two of the three final games. UF is 24-21 overall vs. LSU under coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

The Tigers have won four of their last six games and posted an 11-1 victory at home against Louisiana Tech earlier this week.

Johnson spoke on LSU’s performance:

On the mound, the Tigers have a 3.74 ERA and 260 strikeouts in 192 2/3 frames. Johnson said this is the most pitchers he has used in a season and hopes to solidify each of their roles. LSU goes with righty Luke Holman (4-1, 0.63 ERA) tonight.

In comparison to both teams’ performances last year, Johnson said they each had real star players, including LSU’s Dylan Crews and UF’s Wyatt Langford.

Despite the absence of star players, the teams hold great programs with a new cast of characters, he said.

First pitch for Game 1 is at 8 p.m. ET. Game 2 Saturday is at 7 p.m. (SEC Network+) and the finale Sunday is at 3 p.m. (SEC Network). Also ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF, WJXL 1010AM (Jacksonville) will provide radio coverage.

About Hailey Hurst

Hailey Hurst is a second-year journalism major with a sports media focus. She is aspiring for a career in sports media writing/production. Contact her at hurst.haileyj@gmail.com

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