LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Wednesday that the only thing set in stone for the Super Regional against Louisiana-Lafayette is that Alex Lange will take the opener.
There are several factors that’ll ultimately go into the decision. Mainieri didn’t want to discuss all of them, but how Poché recovers from his near complete game on Monday will be important.
“There’s normal soreness you get after pitching,” said Poché, who’ll throw a bullpen session Friday. “A little soreness in the forearm and back, but nothing serious. I’ll definitely be ready.”
What happens in the first game could also determine when Poché pitches. If LSU wins on Saturday, then LSU could go with “Jack Wholestaff” on Sunday and use Poché in the decisive third game if necessary. LSU could still clinch it in two games without using Poché, giving him added rest before the College World Series.
If LSU loses that first game though, Poché would certainly take Game 2. LSU would never risk elimination without using one of its best arms.
“We’ll either be going for a championship or I’ll be throwing to keep the season alive,” Poché said. “It’ll be a big game no matter what.”
If Mainieri does have to go with “Jack Wholestaff” at some point — whether it’s Sunday or Monday — he has confidence in that bullpen to get a win. They used seven pitchers against Lehigh in the regional opener and won 10-3.
“I don’t know who would start the game, but I have a lot of confidence in those relief pitchers,” Mainieri said. “They did the job for us against Lehigh. Our bullpen’s going to be key for us the rest of the way through.”
MORE HONORS FOR LANGE
Alex Lange was named Wednesday the National Freshman Pitcher of the Year by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
Lange is 11-0 this season with a 1.76 ERA. He’s the first freshman in LSU history to strike out more than 100 batters in a season, and he ranks second in the SEC in earned run average, wins and strikeouts.
Lange was previously named a first-team All-America by Collegiate Baseball and won the SEC Freshman of the Year award.
He becomes the sixth LSU player to receive a National Player of the Year distinction, joining Todd Walker (1992), Brett Laxton (1993), Mike Fontenot (2000), Lane Mestepey (2001) and Alex Bregman (2013).
“If I told you this is what I expected, I’d be lying to you,” Mainieri said of Lange. “How could you expect any freshman to do what he’s done? He’s been absolutely dominant.”
LSU reliever Jesse Stallings was also honored Wednesday by Collegiate Baseball. He was named to the Freshman All-America first team. Stallings has 12 saves this season with a 2.23 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 32.1 innings.
KRAMER STILL UNAVAILABLE
Kramer Robertson will not be added to LSU’s 27-man roster for the Super Regional this weekend.
Robertson hasn’t played in a game since April 21 against Tulane while struggling with an arm injury. He has resumed light throwing but still isn’t healthy enough to return to the field.
Robertson could rejoin the team for the College World Series. LSU submits a new roster after the Super Regional.
The other five players not on the roster for this weekend are the same as the regional and SEC Tournament — Brady Domangue, Kyle Bouman, Jake Latz, Ryan May and Greg Deichmann.