Series Primer: Washington

On the weekend before SEC play is set to begin, LSU will host the University of Washington for a three game series. While the Huskies are off to a rough 4-8 start in 2013, their team features several talented players in their lineup and starting rotation.

On the last weekend of non-conference play, No. 8 LSU will welcome the University of Washington to Baton Rouge and Alex Box Stadium for a three game series. The Huskies haven't gotten off to the start they had hoped for in 2013, as they have compiled a 4-8 record so far this season.

Washington has lost three out of four games to both UC-Davis and Lamar on the year. They were also defeated twice by Cal-Poly. Regardless of the wins and losses by the Huskies, LSU coach Paul Mainieri is expecting a very competitive series of games this weekend.

"I'm expecting a really competitive series this weekend," said Mainieri. "That is exactly what we want in our last series before we head into SEC play."

While their record may not dictate it, Washington is a very talented team with a hard throwing pitching staff. Austin Voth, the ace of the Huskies staff, will pitch on Friday against Aaron Nola and LSU. On the season, Voth has compiled a 2-1 record to go along with a 2.95 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched. Voth struck out 14 hitters against Lamar earlier this season.

Nick Palewicz will start against Ryan Eades on Saturday for Washington. While he doesn't have glamorous statistics like Voth, Palewicz is another hard throwing righty for the Huskies. So far in 2013, Palewicz has amassed a 2-2 record with a 5.19 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched.

Finally, Tyler Davis will close out the weekend against Cody Glenn and LSU. Davis is a two-year starter for the Huskies and is 0-1 with a 7.07 ERA so far in 2013. Outside of Voth, it may appear that the other two Washington starters are off to rough starts in 2013. However, Paul Mainieri had great things to say about the staff as a whole.

"It's a little bit scary," said Mainieri. "The kid they have throwing Friday night is mid-90's kind of arm. He was also a Cape Cod League All-Star for the last two summers. He led the league in strikeouts last summer with 52 in 30 innings. He's an SEC arm and definitely a Friday night guy at that."

"This is exactly what we want to go up against. The kid starting on Saturday doesn't have quite the same numbers, but I understand that he has about the same kind of arm. The Sunday starter has been a starter for them for two years."

Even though Mainieri isn't surprised about the talent that Washington has on their pitching staff, one aspect of their team does surprise him. The Huskies lineup features a player by the name of Robert Pehl. Pehl is hitting .349 on the year with 1 homerun and 8 RBI. Mainieri expects to see big things out of the best hitter for the Huskies this weekend.

"Offensively, they haven't scored a lot of runs, and that is a little bit surprising because they have a tremendous player by the name of Pehl," said Mainieri. "He was a Cape League All-Star and I've heard that he was as good of a hitter as anyone in that league last summer. He's been having a great year so far and he should be a fun guy to pitch this weekend."

At this point, Mainieri hasn't made a decision on how his lineup will look throughout the weekend. Aside from Friday night, Mainieri said things could change depending on the performance of the Washington pitching staff.

"I would lean towards us using a more traditional lineup on Friday, with Moore as the designated hitter," said Mainieri. "They have an all-right handed pitching stuff with just a few lefties coming out of the pen. That will affect some things because I really want to treat these games as much like an SEC matchup as I can."

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