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April 2, 2009

SCS.comFact: Tigers are a type of cat. Fact: Cats do not like dogs. Fact: Dogs do not like cats. Fact: Bulldogs are a type of dog. What does all this mean? Well, this weekend's baseball series in Athens, Georgia, will be an old-fashioned cat and dog fight between the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the fifth-ranked LSU Tigers. Last year in Baton Rouge, the Bulldogs had to leave the Sunday's tied game to catch a plane back home. This year, the LSU team will be flying commercial on Sunday; therefore, forcing Georgia to have an atypical 12 p.m. start. Will this year's Sunday game end in similar fashion? We will try and sort it out in our weekend preview.

WEEKEND'S TOP SERIES - #5 LSU (21-7 overall, 6-3 SEC West) AT #1 GEORGIA (24-3 overall, 7-2 SEC East)

Coach David Perno has had some great fortunes this season. He had drafted players either return or decide to come to school as freshman. It has certainly paid huge dividends in their outstanding start. Coach Paul Mainieri's LSu ballclub has gotten off to a great start as well. They will face probably their stiffest competition in travelling to Georgia. LSU has won all three weekend conference series while Georgia has reeled off seven straight after dropping their first two in conference.

Is anyone hitting the ball better than Georgia's Rich Poythress? All he did last week was go 8 for 13 (.615) with 5 homeruns and 12 RBI in four games. This garnered him just about every player of the week award in the nation. Not to mention, Poythress drove in the go ahead run in the 9th in Wednesday's victory at Clemson. Georgia is batting .323 as a team and has hit 50 homeruns (13 by Poythress). Freshman Jonathan Taylor has 16 stolen bases to go along with his .386 batting average. Trevor Holder returned for his senior season and has not disappointed. The Friday night starter is 5-1 with a 3.06 ERA. Saturday starter, junior Alex McRee, has a 2-0 record with a paltry 1.80 ERA in 5 starts. The Sunday starter will be sophomore Justin Grimm (2-1, 4.11 ERA). Georgia posts a 3.47 team ERA with 252 strikeouts in 241 innings of work, while opponents are hitting at a .252 clip.

LSU has been smacking the ball around the field, too. They have a team batting average of .306 with 44 homeruns of their own. They are led by junior Sean Ochinko's .394 average and sophomore Leon Landry's nine homeruns. Once junior Blake Dean gets going, it is no telling where this team may go. Dean is only hitting .269 and 2 homeruns after having an outstanding sophomore campaign. Are teams pitching around him or do they know how to pitch him? Either way, it has not been a great start for him. Junior Jared Mitchell has 23 swipes and a .370 average. The pitching rotation for the weekend will be sophomore Anthony Ranaudo (2-2, 3.08 ERA), senior Louis Coleman (6-1, 1.23 ERA), sophomore Austin Ross (4-2, 2.48 ERA). The Bayou Bengals have a team ERA of 3.62 and have allowed opponents to hit .242 against them. Freshman Matty Ott has five saves. My prediction: The Tigers have taken six straight series in Athens; however, it will be tough going for them this weekend (2-1 Dawgs).


#12 UC-IRVINE (17-7, 3-0 Big West) at #2 CAL STATE FULLERTON (19-5, 2-1 Big West)

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about planting seeds early. This series will go a long way to potentially determining who will claim the top seed for the Big West tournament. Look for the Anteaters to battle with the Titans; only to lose two of three.

#9 TEXAS (18-7, 4-5 Big XII) vs. #15 OKLAHOMA STATE (20-8, 3-3 Big XII)

This is a huge series in the Big XII. If Texas loses this series, they will drop to 5-7 in the conference at worst. Get swept...well they might not like that too much in Austin. Oklahoma State will play well enough to take two at home.

#6 NORTH CAROLINA (22-6, 7-4 ACC Coastal) at #3 GEORGIA TECH (18-4, 8-2 ACC Coastal)

There will be another great series in the Peach State this weekend. The Yellow Jackets will look to put a strong hold on the ACC Coastal division after taking the series last weekend in Miami. The Tar Heels will have something to say about that as they look to jump back to the top. Jackets will take the series, 2-1.

#14 ARKANSAS (20-5, 8-1 SEC West) at #28 SOUTH CAROLINA (19-8, 4-5 SEC East)

This inter-divisional conference matchup will have the red-hot Razorbacks travelling to take on the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks grabbed a series win last weekend but will find it slow going against the Hogs. Hogs get the sweep and make a huge statement to the rest of the league.

#19 FLORIDA STATE (17-8, 6-4 ACC Atlantic) at #7 MIAMI, FL (21-7, 8-4 ACC Coastal)

Both teams will be looking to maintain pace in their respective divisions. The Seminoles come in virtually tied with Clemson, while the Hurricanes will keep try to keep pace with the winner of the UNC-Georgia Tech series. The team that wins this series will do so while the other should only be okay. Hurricanes take the series 2-1.

Other series to keep an eye on

#4 Arizona State at Washington, Tulane at #8 Rice, Duke at #20 Clemson, Jacksonville at Belmont, #24 Ohio State at Minnesota, Western Kentucky at Florida International.

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