OMAHA, Neb. — LSU’s College World Series pitching plans begin at the end.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri announced his plans for this week’s College World Series final series against Florida on Sunday, with a hole in the most notable — and most urgent — slot. His ace, junior Alex Lange, won’t be available until Wednesday, so Mainieri will call upon Lange in the if-necessary Game 3.
Mainieri said he’ll save No. 2 starter Jared Poché until Tuesday so he can throw on five days of rest.
The Game 1 starter? Who knows?
Mainieri said he hasn’t decided who he’ll start for the first game Monday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Omaha, but he expects to throw a number of arms.
“We’ve just got to figure out [Monday’s] game,” Mainieri said. “And I don’t know right now who we’re going to start. I told [Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan] he’s going to be the first to know. Once we go through practice [Sunday] and talk to some players and see how they look and feel and so forth, [we’ll decide].”
Poché (12-3, 3.33 ERA) last threw on Wednesday versus Florida State, so he’d be on normal rest if Mainieri were to call on him for Game 1 on Monday. But Mainieri said if Lange can’t go until Wednesday anyway, LSU is going to need to throw a third starter at some point. So, giving Poché an extra day of rest can only make him sharper for his start.
A win for Poché, the school’s all-time wins leader, would be his 40th at LSU. No college pitcher has reached 40 wins in a career since Arizona State’s Mike Leake between 2007-09.
For Poché, finishing his LSU baseball career in Omaha in the final series against an SEC rival is about as close to perfect as can be.
“As far as ending my career, I mean, you can’t go out any better way,” Poché said. “It’s got to end eventually. [To] end in Omaha in the College World Series, you know, it’s what every college pitcher would hope for. It’s what every baseball player would hope for.”