LSU baseball turns to Jared Poche' with College World Series on the line
OMAHA, Neb. -- After getting knocked into the College World Series losers' bracket by Oregon State, baseball coach Paul Mainieri gathered his team and asked a rhetorical question: Is there anyone LSU would rather throw in this win-or-go-home scenario than Jared Poche'?
"If you asked me, of all the pitchers I've ever coached, and we had our backs against the wall after a tough outing, who would you want to be giving the ball to? It would be Jared Poche'," Mainieri said Tuesday. "I've got all the confidence in the world in that young man."
The Tigers will hand the ball to the senior left-hander against Florida State, needing a win to stave off elimination.
"I'm feeling really good, mentally and physically," Poche' said. "I'm ready to go, and I'm excited. Any competitor would want the ball here, and I'm glad I'm getting the nod."
Despite pitching in relief during LSU's win against the Seminoles on Saturday, Poche' will not be on a more limited pitch count than usual. He threw 30 pitches in that game, about what he throws for a usual bullpen session. On his usual schedule ahead of a Wednesday start, Poche' would have thrown a bullpen session Sunday.
"So he's actually got an extra day of rest from when he would've pitched his bullpen," Mainieri said. "Poche' is a veteran; he knows what he can do."
He logged 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win against Florida State, matching Scott Schultz's career wins record at LSU with his 38th.
While it's unusual for Poche' to face the same team in back-to-back appearances, he said he doesn't think it provides an advantage one way or the other.
"I think it's a wash," Poche' said. "I think I've seen their whole lineup at least once. They've seen me and I've seen them, so at this point, whoever executes best will come out on top."
Going for 50 again
The Tigers (49-18) will be making their second try at a 50-win season against Florida State. The Tigers have won 50 games 12 times, including three times under Mainieri: 2009 (56-17), 2013 (57-11) and 2015 (54-12).
LSU's first 50-win season coincided with its first trip to the CWS in 1986, when the Tigers went 55-14.
This article is written by Luke Johnson from The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.