Baseball: Tigers face many of the SEC’s best at home in 2013 - lsureveille.com: Sports

Baseball: Tigers face many of the SEC’s best at home in 2013

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 6:15 pm | Updated: 10:28 pm, Sat Feb 9, 2013.

There’s no place like home, especially for the LSU baseball team.

The numbers don’t lie: the Tigers were 35-9 at home and 10-7 on the road in 2012.

Still, LSU coach Paul Mainieri feels the squad performed admirably away from Baton Rouge.

“10-7 isn’t a bad record on the road, honestly,” Mainieri said. “Any time you finish above .500 on the road, it’s a good thing. My feeling has always been [to] play .500 ball on the road, win your games at home and you’re going to have a good year. It’s harder to win on the road. It’s just reality. If you play better than .500 ball, then you’re really banging on the championship door.”

En route to an eventual Super Regional berth, the Tigers had a few obstacles along the way.

Most notably, two road series losses against Auburn and Kentucky provided a couple of speed bumps midway through the season.

Kentucky comes into the 2013 season ranked No. 11 in the Baseball America preseason poll after 2012’s 45-18 campaign. Although Auburn is unranked, it has been a pesky opponent for LSU recently, with LSU dropping the past three season series against its fellow Tiger foes.

The Tigers from Baton Rouge get to face both Southeastern Conference rivals at home this time around, and Mainieri is hoping this turns into an advantage for his squad.

“We’re looking forward to having them both here,” Mainieri said. “For some reason, Auburn has had our number for the last three years. We just need to finish the job against those guys. Kentucky’s program just keeps getting better every year. They’re going to be a tremendous challenge. They’re a top-10 team.”

In 2013, LSU will have to travel to Mississippi State, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas A&M, two of which are ranked in Baseball America’s preseason top 40.

The Tigers have key home games against Maryland, Auburn, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida and Ole Miss.

Because of this daunting schedule, LSU will have to take advantage of its time in Alex Box.

Mainieri said nothing is like going to work at the famed ballpark.

“I just love it,” Mainieri said. “Every day, I roll out of bed, I come to the park and I pinch myself as I’m crossing Nicholson Drive and tell myself, ‘I can’t believe I get to go to work every day at this beautiful facility.’ What makes this facility most beautiful to me is that it’s filled every game. I love that. What comes with that, though, is great expectations and responsibilities.”

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