Game Day: LSU vs. UNO

Alex Box, 30 minutes before first pitch.

Alex Box, 30 minutes before first pitch.

Game Day will be posted a few hours before each game during this baseball season. Lineups will be added to the bottom of the blog when they’re released.

General Info

  • What: LSU vs. New Orleans
  • When: 7 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium
  • Starting pitchers: LSU RHP Aaron Nola (12-1, 1.57 ERA last year) vs. UNO RHP Ray Winter (2-3, 2.81 ERA last year )
  • Twitter: @DellengerAdv
  • On deck: vs. UNO at Zephyr Field, 2 p.m. Saturday
  • In the hole: vs. Grambling at Alex Box, 4 p.m. Sunday

What’s At Stake

BgZfkQkCIAAqbO4

A shot of LSU’s locker room posted Thursday on Twitter by @LSUBaseballEQ.

  • A bad loss: UNO is a fledgling program that lost 44 games last season. LSU is a heavy favorite, especially with ace Aaron Nola starting. This would be, to say the least, an embarrassing loss for the Tigers in a season opener that’s expected to be a sellout.

What To Watch

  • LSU’s new starters: A host of new guys or former reserves are in starting roles for the Tigers – five to be exact. They include junior college transfers Conner Hale (2B) and Kade Scivicque (DH) and right fielder Jared Foster, first baseman Tyler Moore and catcher Chris Chinea. What will Day 1 look like with this group?
  • Friends and foes: LSU coach Paul Mainieri and UNO coach Ron Maestri go back. Way back. Mainieri played under Maestria as an infielder for his final two years of college. The two have met just once on the field. Maestri, in his last year during his first stint as UNO’s coach, “whipped” Mainieri’s St. Thomas team in 1985. Mainieri calls Maestri the most influential person in his life aside from his father.
  • What’s Nola got: Aaron Nola, a junior, begins what many feel is his final year at LSU. He chose not to play summer ball last year in order to rest his arm. During fall and preseason practice, coaches say he’s looked better than he did last season. He’ll be on a pitch count of 80-90 pitches.
  • Who’s the reliever:  With Nola on that pitch count, that means Mainieri might plan to use multiple relief pitchers Friday. The bullpen, which includes tons of new faces, is a hodgepodge right now. The coach doesn’t quite know who’ll be his go-to middle reliever or closer. It’ll be interesting to see how the relievers perform Friday and who Mainieri uses.

Know Your Opponent

  • A struggling group: This isn’t the UNO of Maestri’s first stint with the school. He built the program into a national contender in the 80s but it’s fallen on hard times. The Privateers went 7-44 last year and have won just 27 games the last three seasons. They’re picked to finish last in the Southland Conference and had an RPI last season of 250-plus. Maestri is in his first year back coaching since retiring from coaching in 85.

Lineups:

LSU

  • Sean McMullen, CF
  • Mark Laird, LF
  • Alex Bregman, SS
  • Jared Foster, RF
  • Chris Chinea, C
  • Christian Ibarra 3B
  • Tyler Moore, 1B
  • Kade Scivicque, DH
  • Conner Hale, 2B

UNO

  • Dane Landry, RF
  • Mitchell Alexander, LF
  • Reese Kanter, DH
  • Cameron Hoffman, 1B
  • Zach Liberto, 2B
  • Jonathan Coco, 3B
  • Samuel Capielano, SS
  • Brian Dixon, C
  • Chaz Boyer, CF