No. 5 LSU (36-17,18-9 SEC) opens a three-game SEC series versus No.9 Mississippi State (34-19, 17-10 SEC) at 6 p.m. CT Thursday at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss.

LSU posted an SEC series sweep over Auburn last weekend, and the Tigers moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC Western Division. LSU has a one-game lead over second-place Mississippi State with three games remaining in the SEC regular-season race.

LSU is also in contention for the SEC overall title, as the Tigers are just one game behind SEC Eastern Division leader Florida.

LSU, which has won eight of its last nine conference games, is No.2 in the SEC in team batting average, hitting .292 on the year, and the Tiger hitters have the fewest strikeouts in the league (310). LSU will face a Mississippi State pitching staff that is 13th in the league with a 4.62 ERA, but the Bulldog hurlers are averaging nearly nine strikeouts per game.