Less than 24 hours after his team’s second loss of the season – a stunning collapse against Yale – coach Paul Mainieri revealed to reporters a few newsy nuggets entering the team’s final non-conference week of the season.
What are they? You can find them all below:
- We’ll keep this one simple: If Jared Poché has a solid outing Tuesday at Northwestern State, the freshman will be in LSU’s conference weekend starting rotation – maybe, even, as the Saturday starter behind ace Aaron Nola. Mainieri said he’s got the “second best stuff” of any of those competing for the two spots behind Nola – Poché, Kyle Bouman and Cody Glenn.
- If Poché can keep his pitch count below 70 Tuesday, he’ll like turn around and start against Purdue on Sunday, Mainieri said. If he can’t keep it below 70 and if he’ll be in LSU’s weekend starting rotation at Vanderbilt, Poché will start next week’s midweek game against Nicholls in what will likely be a short outing.
- In all reality, this is a race between Kyle Bouman and Cody Glenn for the Sunday spot, assuming Poché doesn’t botch is up Tuesday too much. On the way back from Natchitoches on Tuesday night, Mainieri said he’ll discuss the weekend rotation with pitching coach Alan Dunn and make a decision.
- In batting lineup news, Mainieri said his first six spots in the order are “settled.” That order: Sean McMullen, Mark Laird, Alex Bregman, Conner Hale, Kade Scivicque and Christian Ibarra.
- Second baseman Kramer Robertson is the deciding factor in Mainieri’s everyday lineup. If Robertson plays well, he’ll remain the starter at second and Conner Hale will stay at first. Tyler Moore and Kade Scivicque would exchange the DH role and Chris Chinea and Scivicque would alternate at catcher. If he plays poorly, Mainieri will move Hale back to second and Moore and Chinea and Scivicque would rotate at first/catcher. “We’ll see as we go forward if Kramer’s ready to play on an everyday basis,” Mainieri said. “I have not hidden my enthusiasm about the kid. He’s a great ballplayer. He just needs consistency and instincts for the game to develop.”
- Tuesday’s lineup will include Robertson at second. Scivicque will catch and Moore will DH, leaving Chinea out. On Wednesday, Chinea will catch and Scivicque might catch for Nola on Friday against Purdue, the coach said.
- Back to the starting pitcher chatter. Mainieri will start reliever Brady Domangue during Wednesday’s game against Sacred Heart. The coach is trying to pitch Domangue “into a groove,” he said. Domangue didn’t pitch this past summer and set out for some of fall with an injury. He’s had three appearances this season and the first two went poorly and lasted a combined six batters.
- If Domangue does well against Sacred Heart, he could join the competition for an SEC weekend starting spot. Yep, that’s right. “We’re open to all options still as we’re going forward,” Mainieri said.
- We’ll stay on pitching. Mainieri says Joe Broussard has surpassed Kurt McCune in the race to be LSU’s closer. It’s not too big of a surprise. Broussard has the “second best stuff” of LSU’s staff, behind Nola, Mainieri said before the season. The coach also likes freshman Parker Bugg as a set-up man. McCune, along with a hodgepodge of others, could be middle reliever types. “I just like his stuff,” Mainieri said of Broussard. “When you get into the SEC schedule, a guy throwing 93-94 with a pretty good curveball gives you a better chance in the end. I don’t think Kurt’s done anything wrong.”
- Mainieri said he’s not hitting the “panic button” after the loss to Yale, but he’s “concerned” with how LSU’s bullpen and Glenn performed at times Sunday.