Jared Poche and exuberance aren’t necessarily ideas that get paired up a whole lot.
No, the LSU senior southpaw isn’t really the excitable type.
On Saturday, though, for the second week in a row, the Lutcher native tangoed with history as he threw 8 no-hit innings against Maryland before surrendering an infield hit to begin the 9th frame of a game the No. 4-ranked Tigers won easily, 14-0 at Alex Box Stadium.
That was on the heels of the left-hander logging a 7-inning no-hitter in his season debut against Army.
So, you’d figure that was what fired Poche up the most, right? Well, not quite.
Though Poche was as masterful as the week on the mound before on the way to his second win, there was a different wrinkle that really got him revved up.
Because the game was so lopsided so early, LSU coach Paul Mainieri moved reserves into the lineup so often that Poche wound up in the batting order where the designated hitter originally was.
Which meant the first at-bat of Poche’s college career in the bottom of the 8th.
“He came up and asked me how I was feeling and then said ‘You might be getting an at-bat,’ ” Poche said after he struck out 6 and issued two walks. “I was smiling and getting excited … and then he said ‘You can’t swing.’ ”
So Poche, who was a .400 hitter in high school, went to the plate disappointed knowing he wasn’t going to take any hacks, though seeing the first pitch from Maryland reliever Jamal Wade helped him accept that fate.
“That brought back some memories,” Poche said with a smile. “As soon as he threw that 90 mph fastball, I thought ‘I don’t want anything to do with that.’ ”
Still, Poche feigned disappointment when he got back to the dugout after looking at a third strike.
“He told me ‘That second pitch I could’ve hit over the scoreboard,’ ” Mainieri said with a wry smile.
Poche didn’t launch a home run and that was about the only thing that didn’t work out pretty much perfectly for him and the Tigers in the middle game of the series against a Terps’ team expected to contend for the Big Ten championship.
LSU (6-1) banged out a season-best 18 hits, with suddenly resurgent Antoine Duplantis and freshman Jake Slaughter leading the way with 3 hits apiece. Slaughter and Deichmann each chased in three runs when the Tigers bolted to an 11-0 cushion in the opening 3 innings.
The Tigers pecked away slowly at first, with a pair of two-run innings in the 1st and 2nd built on execution and hustle – Deichmann drove in two of his three runs with sacrifice flies.
There was nothing gentle about a seven-run 3rd when LSU peppered three Maryland pitchers for eight hits, including three triples and Slaughter’s two-run double as the final blow.
LSU was 4-for-5 with runners in scoring position in the 3rd with those four hits chasing in five runs.
“I thought we had some amazing at-bats early in the game – clutch hitting and great situational hitting,” Mainieri said.
Rankin Woley produced the first of the three triples after he struck out in the first trip to the plate of his first career start. He joined Slaughter and Josh Smith to give the Tigers three freshmen in the starting nine.
Woley finished 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI and got some time at third base.
“We come in every day and check the board and when I came in (Saturday), I saw I was going to be in the lineup and get a chance, and Coach tells us that once you get a chance you need to capitalize. I got a couple of hits and hope to keep on that drive now.
“We have a very talented freshmen class. Jake and Josh are two phenomenal players and that pushes the rest of us. Everybody wants to do their best. We all have the same goal in mind and when somebody gets the opportunity and capitalizes, we’re happy for them.”
There was plenty of happy to go around Saturday and now LSU will look for a sweep when the teams wrap up the series at 11 a.m. Sunday.