In a bit of a surprise LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri announced Friday in Omaha before team practice that the Tigers will go with sophomore southpaw Jared Poché (9-1, 2.91) in Sunday's College World Series opener versus TCU (2 p.m., ESPN).
Many presumed Mainieri would throw freshman ace Alex Lange (11-0, 1.89), but it's now clear LSU's skipper prefers to save Lange for a potential winner's bracket game Tuesday that would put the Tigers on the doorstep of the best-two-of-three final.
Poché has been dynamite in his last two starts after stumbling in the SEC Tournament.
In helping the Tigers advance from Regional and Super Regional play, the Lutcher native allowed only one run and struck out 15 batters in wins over UNC-Wilmington and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Probably influencing Mainieri's decision is the fact that TCU features six left-handed hitters in its everyday lineup.
The Horned Frogs will counter on the mound with senior righty Preston Morrison (11-3, 2.55), widely considered one of the top pitchers in the history of TCU's program. Morrison was an eighth-round selection by the Chicago Cubs earlier this week.
Click on the link below for my take on the decision to start Poche, originally aired on "Bumper to Bumper Sports" on 103.7 FM (KLWB) in Lafayette.
Jared Poche tabbed for CWS opener
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