Pregame: LSU vs. Virginia Tech

Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our Postgame blog.

Aaron Nola will get his second start of the season Friday. (Catherine Thelkeld | The Advocate)

Aaron Nola will get his second start of the season Friday. (Catherine Thelkeld | The Advocate)

General Info

What’s At Stake

  • No. 1: LSU is No. 2 in USA Today’s  coaches poll and No. 3 in Collegiate Baseball. A three-game sweep this weekend could land the Tigers a No. 1 ranking. Even coach Paul Mainieri mentioned it Thursday during interviews. Why can LSU get to No. 1? Cal State Fullerton and Mississippi State both lost midweek games this week.

What To Watch

  • Nola’s control: In his first start of the season against UNO on opening night, Nola hit three batters. It was an uncharacteristic showing. He hit 11 batters all of last season. Aside from that, Nola pitched well, hurling a shutout and allowing just four hits in six innings. Look for him to go deeper Friday night.
  • Hale’s bat: Can this guy keep the hot streak alive? Hale moved from the No. 9 hole to cleanup for Wednesday’s game at Southeastern and will stay there for now. He is 7 for 13 at the plate to start his LSU career. He’s a junior college transfer from Florida who reminds Mainieri of Raph Rhymes.
  • Bullpen showing: Mainieri wants to use all of his pitchers over the weekend so look for him to use at least two relievers Friday. The pen, aside from one outing from Brady Domangue, has sparkled so far. The group, excluding Domangue, has allowed five hits and no runs in more than 12 innings. They’ve struck out 14 and walked three.

Know Your Opponent

  • Different team: Yes, Virginia Tech hosted a regional last season and was a good team. No, the Hokies aren’t the same this year. They lost their coach, their top three hitters, two of their three starting pitchers and their saves leader in the pen. They lost to the Citadel 6-2 to open the season. Markey is the only returning starter from last season. He went 5-4 with a 4.93 ERA. He did not start in the game against the Citadel. He got a win over Delaware State, allowing one run on six hits in six innings.

LSU

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

Virginia Tech

  • Saige Jenco, CF
  • Alex Perez, 2B
  • Mark Zagunis, C
  • Sean Keselica, 1B
  • Brendon Hayden, DH
  • Ryan Burns, LF
  • Kyle Wernicki, RF
  • Matt Dauby, SS
  • Ryan Tufts, 3B