BATON ROUGE - No. 8 LSU can gain ground in the Southeastern Conference and in the Ratings Percentage Index quicker than expected now because of torrential rain expected in Lexington, Kentucky, this weekend.
The 26-12 Tigers, who are fourth in the SEC West at 9-6 with a No. 14 RPI, play at No. 13 and 26-12 Kentucky, which leads the SEC East at 10-5 and leads all of the SEC with a No. 7 RPI, in a scheduled doubleheader Friday beginning at 1 p.m. central time with both games set for nine innings - weather permitting. The second game will start one hour after the conclusion of the first game. There is a 20 percent chance of rain Friday afternoon that grows to 90 percent that night. LSU and Kentucky were originally scheduled to play at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The third game is scheduled for noon Sunday amid a 40 percent chance of rain. The schools agreed to not even try to play on Saturday as there is a 100 percent chance of rain and got permission to change the weekend schedule by the SEC office.
"There talking about some really significant rain coming into Lexington," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Thursday afternoon before the team practiced at Alex Box Stadium with plans to fly to Lexington later in the day.
Mainieri does not plan on changing his pitching rotation, and he is happy he and Kentucky coach Nick Mingione did not opt for a single game Friday with two on Sunday as the Tigers play at Alabama next week in a Thursday-through-Saturday series. Kentucky plays at South Carolina next week in a Friday-Sunday series.
"That certainly would have been difficult for us to turn a starting pitcher around, so this is the best thing to make sure that we get the ballgames in and get the proper rest for the pitchers next week," Mainieri said.
Even if LSU and Kentucky do avoid the rain enough to get one, two or all three games in, it will be amid cooler temperatures. The projected high for Friday afternoon is only 68 degrees, and the low Friday night is expected to be in the high 40s. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s for the Sunday game.
Kentucky leads the SEC in hitting at .308 with Evan White third in the league at .383. LSU is No. 3 in hitting at .296. Cliff Hagan Stadium is one of the more offense friendly parks in the SEC with the right field wall at 310 feet, left at 340 and center 390.
"Kentucky has an outstanding team, and they're leading the SEC East for a reason," Mainieri said. "We're going to have our work cut out for us this weekend."
TV INFORMATION: The games will be televised only on SEC Network Plus, Watch ESPN.com or on the Watch ESPN app.
RADIO COVERAGE: Alexandria – KSYL-AM 970. Baton Rouge - WDGL-FM 98.1. Bogalusa – WBOX-FM 92.9. Ferriday – KFNV-FM 107.1. Jena – KJNA-FM 102.7. Lafayette – KLWB-FM 103.7. Lake Charles – KXZZ-AM 1580. Leesville – KJAE-FM 93.5. Morgan City – KBZE-FM 93.5 and KFRA-AM 1390. New Orleans – WWL-AM 870. Opelousas – KLWB-FM 103.7. Ruston – KRUS-AM 1490. Shreveport – KWKH-AM 1130. Tylertown, Miss. – WFCG-FM 107.3. Ville Platte – KVPI-AM 1050.
THIS WEEKEND'S PITCHERS:
GAME ONE FRIDAY - Junior right-hander Alex Lange (4-4, 3.27 ERA, 52 and one third innings, 17 walks, 69 strikeouts), LSU, vs. sophomore right-hander Sean Hjelle (5-2, 3.97 ERA, 56 and two-thirds innings, 11 walks, 54 strikeouts), Kentucky, 1 p.m.
GAME TWO FRIDAY - Senior left-hander Jared Poche (6-2, 2.67 ERA, 57 and one third innings, 13 walks, 42 strikeouts), LSU, vs. junior left-hander Zach Logue (5-3, 4.04 ERA, 55 and two thirds innings, 11 walks, 52 strikeouts), Kentucky, one hour after conclusion of first game.
GAME THREE SUNDAY - Freshman right-hander Eric Walker (5-0, 2.48 ERA, 54 and one third innings, 12 walks, 52 strikeouts), LSU, vs. sophomore right-hander Justin Lewis (5-2, 3.14 ERA, 51 and two thirds innings, 13 walks, 39 strikeouts), Kentucky, noon.
Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU sports for the USA Today Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter at @LSUBeatTweet. Coverage of LSU and commentary by Guilbeau supported by Hebert’s Town & Country Automobile Dealer in Shreveport located at 1155 East Bert Kouns Loop. Research your next Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Ram at http://hebertstandc.com/.
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