Bailey gets start for the Rebels

Just how long will Kevin Gausman be on the mound in his postseason debut?

HOOVER, Ala. – It's game day – very early in the day – for No. 2-ranked LSU at the SEC Tournament as the Tigers try to stay alive when they tangle with Ole Miss at 9:30 a.m. Some pre-game thoughts and notes to gnaw on…

  • A development this morning as Ole Miss will send junior right-hander Tanner Bailey to the mound instead of senior R.J. Hively, who has been suffering from a tender arm.

    Bailey is 2-1 this season with a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings. He has struck out 33 and walked 7. Bailey logged two scoreless frames against Kentucky in the tournament opener.

  • I'm curious to see what kind of limit or leash is attached to Kevin Gausman today as he makes his postseason debut for LSU in what will be his only postseason in purple-and-gold.

    This is a game the Tigers would love to win, of course, but it's not vital to their postseason seeding.

    Does that mean a pitch count for Gausman, or an inning limit – especially considering he has logged back-to-back complete games?

    Maybe. But I think a lot depends on the game situation as the sixth and seventh innings arrive.

    If it's a taut, up-for-grabs game and Gausman's pitch count is manageable, I would expect he'll stick around. If either team is ahead by 3-4 runs in a tournament when scoring has been tough, I would imagine he'll be icing his arm and getting rested up for Game 2 of NCAA regional play.

  • Striking out 11 times against the Mississippi State combination of Chris Stratton, Caleb Reed and Johnathan Holder wasn't anything to be ashamed of, especially considering eight were registered by Stratton, the temporary SEC leader in strikeouts with 123 (Gausman came into the tournament leading the league with 118).

    But four of those strikeouts with runners on base three with a runner in scoring position, two in the first inning when the Tigers had a chance to produce an early lead against Stratton and squandered it.

    Considering LSU got only four at-bats with runners in scoring position in 33 plate appearances, not at least putting the ball in play on those handful of chances was a major problem.

  • Ole Miss' tournament so far features two runs scored in two games and two runs allowed in two games. Arkansas was the only team that has played two games that scored fewer (1).

    The good news from a pitching standpoint for the Rebels is that four pitchers have teamed up to surrender only 13 hits in 17 innings with 18 strikeouts and three walks.

    The bad news? After the top three hitters in the batting order – Tanner Mathis (2-for-7), Alex Yarbrough (3-for-7) and Matt Snyder (5-for-7), the remaining Ole Miss hitters are a combined 5-for-48 in the tournament.

  • LSU is 5-2 all-time against Ole Miss at the SEC Tournament and has wont he last two meetings impressively.

    In 2010, the Tigers rolled the Rebels 8-0 in the semifinal round as Ben Alsup twirled a one-hitter to send LSU into the championship game where it outlasted Alabama 4-3 in 11 innings.

    Two years earlier, LSU and Ole Miss met in the final and the Tigers cruised to an 8-2 triumph, part of a 23-game winning streak.

  • The Tigers will be the visiting team in this game.

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