LSU to face Auburn-Alabama winner in SEC baseball tournament

LSU will play either Alabama or Auburn in its first game in the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament Wednesday in Hoover, Ala.,

The second-seeded Tigers have one of the four first-round byes. Seventh-seeded Alabama and 10th-seeded Auburn will play in the second game Tuesday.

LSU’s game will be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of Wednesday’s 9:30 a.m. opener between No. 3 Arkansas and the winner of Tuesday’s opener between No. 5 Ole Miss and No. 11 Kentucky.

The Tigers swept Auburn at Alex Box Stadium in their second SEC series of the season, winning by scores of 9-4, 5-1 and 8-2.

LSU won two out of three at Alabama on April 19-21, winning the first two games 5-0 and 11-8 in 16 innings. The Crimson Tide won the finale 4-3 in 10 innings.

The Tigers will start sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola in the opener. Nola won his starts against both potential opponents, limiting Auburn to two runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings and throwing a complete-game three-hit shutout against Alabama.

Fury regains hitting stroke

LSU reliever Nate Fury batted for the first time this season after he replaced Mason Katz at second base in the top of the second inning of the Tigers’ 11-9 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday. Fury, who pitched and played the infield at Rummel High School and Delgado Community College, came to LSU as a pitcher.

He got into the game against the University of New Orleans on Tuesday night in the ninth inning to play second base. On Saturday he stepped into the batter’s box in a game for the first time in two years.

Coach Paul Mainieri told Fury on Saturday morning he would play the field and bat. Fury struck out in his first two at-bats, then had a walk, a double and a single.

“Coach told me, ‘go out and have fun,’ ” Fury said. “I hit this morning, and I kind of got back into the groove. I thought it was going to be a little easier than it was. My first two at-bats showed that. Then I settled in and stopped trying to do too much. It made it a lot easier.”

Wahl not up to par

LSU knocked Ole Miss ace Bobby Wahl, one of the top pitchers in the country, out of the game in the third inning. Wahl took a 2-0 lead into the third, but gave up five hits, a walk, a wild pitch and six runs and couldn’t get the third out of the inning.

Reliever Chris Ellis got the final out in the inning, but gave up a run of his own.

Wahl had lasted at least five innings in 14 of his previous 15 starts. The exception came last week when his start against Mississippi State ended after one inning because of rain. The most runs he had allowed previously was four against Florida International, and this was the first time he left a game without having the lead.

In seven previous games against ranked teams, Wahl had a 4-0 record with a 1.43 ERA and a .163 opponent batting average.

“He’s a great pitcher,” LSU catcher Chris Chinea said, “but today wasn’t his day, and we were able to get the best of him.”

Tough day for umpire

Home plate umpire Danny Everett had a rough afternoon. First he took a hard foul ball off the bat of Fury to the lower part of his facemask in the bottom of the third. Trainers checked on him for a few minutes, and he stayed in the game.

A few minutes later in the top of the fourth, Will Allen ripped a foul ball that caught Everett high on his facemask, and he fell to the ground. He had to leave the game, which was delayed for a few minutes before Everett was replaced by second base umpire Randy Watkins.

LSU officials said after the game Everett was fine and on his way home.

Paid attendance record

The paid attendance of 11,686 on Saturday pushed the total paid attendance for the regular season to 413,588, the most in LSU history.