With the 2012 NCAA baseball tournament just two days away, here is a quick glance at Louisiana-Monroe, LSU’s first-round opponent at 7 p.m. Friday at Alex Box Stadium.
Record: 31-28, 15-15 Sun Belt Conference (tied for fourth place)
Last meeting/series with LSU: The Tigers rolled to an 18-7 triumph in 2010 and lead the series 38-8.
Highs & lows: ULM owns a pair of wins over Sam Houston State, Tulane and at Tennessee. The Warhawks may have played two of its best games in close-call losses at Baylor (7-5, 8-7). ULM was swept just once – at home by South Alabama – which was part of a season-long four-game losing skid.
Top offensive players: SS Jeremy Sy (.329, 4 home runs, 35 RBIs), 1B Joey Rapp (.325, 9, 51), 2B Caleb Clowers (.303, 33 RBIs)
Top pitchers: LH Randy Zeigler (5-6, 3.65 ERA, 108 SO/55 BB, 106 IP), RH Cale Wine (6-4, 3.93, 54/41, 94 IP), RH Will Browning (8-3, 6 saves, 3.36, 53/18, 56.1 IP)
ULM is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance, the first since 2000. In the four previous trips, the Warhawks are 2-8 with two losses at Texas in 1983, two losses in Baton Rouge in 1995 and ’99 and a 2-2 showing in 2000. In that last trip, both losses came to the Tigers.
After a 2-8 start in Sun Belt play, ULM went 13-7 to climb to .500 and then 3-1 at the league tournament en route to winning the program's first postseason league championship at the Division I level.
This season’s appearance in the Sun Belt Conference was the Warhawks’ first since 2009.
Shortstop Jeremy Sy led the SBC with a .388 batting average in league games (59 points higher than his season average of .329) and also topped the league in hits (47), on-base average (.493), slugging percentage (.603) and runs (34).
The Warhawks’ roster includes 15 Louisiana natives, nine from either Monroe or West Monroe.
Head coach Jeff Schexnaider is a Baton Rouge native who played and coached at Catholic High before. Pitching coach Justin Hill was on the Tigers’ roster in 2001-02 and is a West Monroe graduate.
Second baseman Caleb Clowers brings a 27-game hitting streak into the regional. He and Sy lead ULM with 24 multi-hit games and Joey Rapp has recorded 23.
ULM left fielder Les Aulds was teammates at LSU-Eunice with LSU’s Raph Rhymes. Clowers played at LSU-Eunice in 2009 with Tigers’ reliever Joey Bourgeois.
Statistical oddity: The Warhawks are hitting .272 as a team and opponents are hitting .272 against them.
Reliever Will Browning leads ULM with 8 wins despite having not started a game this season. He has also saved a team-best six games. Another reliever, Kendall Thamm, has 6 wins.
At Alex Box Stadium
Game 1: 2 p.m. – (3) Belmont (39-22) vs. (2) Oregon State (38-18)
Game 2: 7 p.m. – (1) LSU (43-16) vs. (4) UL-Monroe (31-28)
Game 3: 2 p.m. – Belmont-Oregon State loser vs. LSU-ULM loser
Game 4: 7 p.m. – Belmont-Oregon State winner vs. LSU-ULM winner
Game 5: 1:30 p.m. – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser
Game 6: 6:30 p.m. – Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner
Game 7: 6:30 p.m. – Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner, if necessary
Nola gets the Friday nod
NOTES: LSU's Katz carries on the tradition
ON DECK: LSU Regional
VIDEO: Austin Nola talks abouthis last postseason
VIDEO: Katz, Tigers can't look ahead