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LSU-Florida game one postponed, will resume Saturday at 11 a.m.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU starting pitcher Alex Lange (35), right, walks to the mound as his teammates take part in a pregame ritual before taking the field against Florida, Thursday

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK — LSU starting pitcher Alex Lange (35), right, walks to the mound as his teammates take part in a pregame ritual before taking the field against Florida, Thursday

Alex Lange strutted to the mound in exorbitant, white cleats to accompany the white uniform he begged Paul Mainieri to pitch in Thursday night.

The flamboyant footwear accompanied a fine performance he never got to finish.

Severe weather halted one of the country’s premier pitching matchups Thursday, sending LSU and Florida home after 2.5 innings of scoreless play and wrecking the masterful evening both Lange and Gators ace Logan Shore were creating.

“Alex Lange was throwing the ball as well as he has all year, if not better,” Mainieri said. “He was so in a groove, his command was outstanding. They hit some balls hard off him because they’re a good team, but boy he was pitching great. Such a shame.”

This game will be resumed Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Games two (6 p.m. Friday) and three (3:30 p.m. Saturday) will be played as originally scheduled.

Game three is a seven-inning game. Because that game is televised, SEC rules mandate a “hard stop” one hour before air time — 2:30 p.m. in this case.

Should the resumption of game one not be completed by then, that game will halt, game three will be played and then be followed by the conclusion of game one.

Lange allowed baserunners in each of his three innings, but stranded them all in what was shaping up to be a fine performance.

His fastball, though a bit elevated, topped at 94 mph. The big, breaking curveball had just enough bite to accompany home plate umpire Kevin Sweeney’s small strike zone — Lange threw eight of the 12 benders for strikes. He allowed just three fly balls in 11 batters.

“I’m disappointed as can be,” Mainieri said. “I thought Lange was really on fire. Felt like he was going to pitch a great game, maybe his best of the year. So when you lose that guy after three innings, obviously, it’s very, very disappointing.”

Shore, 10-0 and with a 2.29 ERA entering Thursday, matched Lange’s scoreless outing — though Mainieri was quick to laud his lineup’s approach.

LSU chose to swing early and often against the command-centric right-hander, seeing just 17 pitches through the first two innings. Chris Reid’s double down the right field line was the Tigers’ only hit in that span.

“I just thought they were laying off bad pitches, hitting balls hard, seeing the ball good,” Mainieri said. “They really were. I’ve seen Logan Shore dominate and he wasn’t dominating our guys today. We had some great at-bats.

The delay came while the Tigers mounted their most dangerous threat. Cole Freeman shot a one-out grounder that second baseman Deacon Liput couldn’t corral, turning the Tigers lineup over with the infield single.

Freeman swiped second easily and leadoff hitter Antoine Duplantis ran the count full just as the grounds crew entered the field and summoned the tarp. The game will resume Saturday morning from that point.

The outcome was the antithesis of Mainieri’s mindset when he made the decision Wednesday to start Lange instead of Riley Smith.

Mainieri said the weather forecast looked worse on Friday. That, coupled with Lange’s “politicking,” prompted him to throw the reigning National Freshman of the Year opposite Shore.

“I’m certainly not a good weatherman,” Mainieri quipped. “I know that.”

Lange threw 39 pitches and Mainieri said there’s an “outside, outside, outside” chance he’d be available out of the bullpen Saturday. If Lange is not used Saturday, Mainieri now sees him as LSU’s starter on Tuesday in the SEC Tournament, should the Tigers play that day.

The top four seeds in the tournament receive a bye to Wednesday. Entering play Thursday, LSU was the No. 6 seed.

“If we pitched him on Saturday and we don’t get in the top-four, who do we throw Tuesday,” Mainieri said. “I think how much that (Saturday) game means, based upon what’s happening around the league and everything else in the first two days and how we do tomorrow night and the pick-up game, all that stuff might dictate it. If we’re playing for the SEC championship, we might just say ‘OK, let’s go for it.’ But something less than that, I’d have hesitation to bring him back anyway.”

Jared Poche, who was originally scheduled to start Saturday’s finale, will start game two tomorrow.

Mainieri said Smith will pitch Saturday, but does not know whether he will start game three or the resumed game one — which likely won’t have the same buzz Mainieri sensed Thursday.

“It was electric,” Mainieri said. “The atmosphere was great. It felt like a super regional, which is what I want our players to experience. And they were playing well.”

 

Pregame: Florida at LSU, Game One

Alex Lange takes on his good friend Logan Shore tonight in Alex Box Stadium

Alex Lange takes on his good friend Logan Shore tonight in Alex Box Stadium

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. Check back for any additional updates.

  • When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 8 and as low as No. 13. Florida is the consensus No. 1 team in the country.
  • Projected Starters: LSU So. RHP Alex Lange (7-3, 3.76 ERA) vs. Florida Jr. RHP Logan Shore (10-0, 2.29 ERA)
  • TV: ESPNU
  • Streaming:  Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @Chandler_Rome;

Pregame Reading

What to Watch

Shore a Sure Thing? Florida has won Logan Shore’s last 18 starts dating back to 2015. He’s not an overpowering pitcher (his fastball’s anywhere from 88-92), instead relying on command of four pitches to not waste at-bats and get outs. Shores’ walked just 17 in his last 112.1 innings pitched (all in that 18-game span), so LSU should get pitches in the strike zone all night. How it handles the four-pitch mix and its pitch selection may prove crucial to solving one of the league’s better arms.

The Politician: After “politicking” his coach to pitch a day early, Alex Lange joked he may pursue political dreams when he’s done with baseball. Lange insists he’s feeling fine after a 121-pitch, eight-inning outing last Friday against Tennessee, ending multiple questions Wednesday with the phrase “I want the ball.”

Even in Lange’s good starts of late, he’s struggled early in the game. Tennessee loaded the bases with less than two outs against him last week in the first. Ole Miss touched him up early in his complete-game win, too. Florida outscores its opponents 50-20 in the first inning, so Lange will have to eliminate those early-inning struggles, especially with Shore facing his hitters.

LINEUPS

LSU

  1. Antoine Duplantis (RF)
  2. Jake Fraley (CF)
  3. Kramer Robertson (SS)
  4. Jordan Romero (C)
  5. Chris Reid (3B)
  6. Bryce Jordan (DH)
  7. Beau Jordan (LF)
  8. Greg Deichmann (1B)
  9. Cole Freeman (2B)

Alex Lange (RHP)

FLORIDA

  1. Dalton Guthrie (SS)
  2. Deacon Liput (2B)
  3. JJ Schwarz (DH)
  4. Buddy Reed (CF)
  5. Jonathan India (3B)
  6. Nelson Maldonado (LF)
  7. Mike Rivera (C)
  8. Jeremy Vasquez (1B)
  9. Ryan Larson (RF)

Logan Shore (RHP)

Pregame: Northwestern State at LSU

John Valek makes his final regular season start in Alex Box Stadium tonight (PATRICK DENNIS)

John Valek makes his final regular season start in Alex Box Stadium tonight (PATRICK DENNIS)

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. Check back for any additional updates.

  • When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
  • Where: Alex Box Stadium
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 8 and as low as No. 13. Northwestern is not ranked.
  • Projected Starters: LSU Sr. LHP John Valek III (6-2, 4.03 ERA) vs. Northwestern Fr. RHP Austin Reich (2-1, 1.77 ERA)
  • TV: None
  • Streaming: SEC Network-Plus, available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @Chandler_Rome;

Pregame Reading

What to Watch

First Thing’s First: Yes, Florida comes to town Thursday. Yes, the Gators are the No. 1 team in the country and, yes, LSU stands to gain tons of ground should it get a series win. But, as evidenced by the Tigers’ inconsistent efforts in the midweek all season, Northwestern had LSU’s full attention on Monday. The Demons are No. 40 in the NCAA’s official RPI and are off a weekend, road sweep of Nicholls State. LSU’s had plenty of midweek “embarrassment” as Kramer Robertson termed it Monday. It will need to avoid such a scenario for one more week.

John then Jake? Valek’s off five scoreless innings against Notre Dame in a pitcher-friendly ballpark where he seemingly regained some of the confidence lost in two subpar, SEC starts. The key, as always, with Valek is getting ahead in counts so he’s not forced to rely on his fastball against a Northwestern team that hits .263.

When Valek exits, Paul Mainieri said there’s a “possibility” that Jake Latz sees an inning of relief. Latz told us Monday he feels better than he did before his McNeese start, where he threw 36 pithes and suffered another setback afterward. It’s far too early to speculate if or how Latz could help the team going forward, but a smooth inning tonight with no pain tomorrow could be a great start.

LINEUPS

LSU

  1. Antoine Duplantis (RF)
  2. Jake Fraley (CF)
  3. Kramer Robertson (SS)
  4. Chris Reid (3B)
  5. Bryce Jordan (DH)
  6. Greg Deichmann (1B)
  7. Beau Jordan (LF)
  8. Mike Papierski (C)
  9. Cole Freeman (2B)

John Valek III (LHP)

NORTHWESTERN STATE

  1. Bret Underwood (RF)
  2. Nick Heath (CF)
  3. Cort Brinson (1B)
  4. David Fry (3B)
  5. Daniel Garner (DH)
  6. Kelsey Richard (C)
  7. Matt Valdez (LF)
  8. Spencer Goodwin (2B)
  9. Matthew Alford (SS)

Austin Reich (RHP)

Poll Speak Monday

Antoine Duplantis hit a three-run home run in Sunday's 10-7 victory

Antoine Duplantis hit a three-run home run in Sunday’s 10-7 victory

Each Monday, you can track LSU’s movement in college baseball’s major polls here. Check back for frequent updates as polls are released throughout the day.

LSU ran its winning streak to eight games with a 5-0 week on the road, taking two from Notre Dame before sweeping Tennessee.

Polls (Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)

Baseball America 8 (11)

Perfect Game 9 (22)

D1Baseball.com 10 (16)

Collegiate Baseball 11 (21)

USA Today Coaches Poll 8 (13)

NCBWA 9 (13)

RPI

D1Baseball.com 12

WarrenNolan.com 12

NCAA 12

The Week That Was

On Deck

  • Northwestern State at LSU, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday (SEC Network-Plus)
  • Florida at LSU, 6:30 p.m., Thursday (ESPNU)
  • Florida at LSU, 6:00 p.m., Friday (SEC Network)
  • Florida at LSU, 3:30 p.m., Saturday (ESPNU)

Pregame: LSU vs. Tennessee, Game 3

Jordan Romero made up for his decision to take home on a groundball Friday night with a 3-for-4 day Saturday. (AP)

Jordan Romero made up for his decision to take home on a groundball Friday night with a 3-for-4 day Saturday. (AP)

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee –

  • When: 1 p.m. CT Sunday
  • Where: Lindsey Nelson Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 11 and as low as No. 22. Tennessee is not ranked.
  • Projected Starters:  LSU Fr. RHP Caleb Gilbert (4-2, 4.55) vs. UT So. LHP Aaron Soto (4-2, 4.10)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Streaming: Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverageblogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @RossDellenger

Series Update

What To Watch

  • Freshman arm: Gilbert gets his second consecutive (and second ever) start. He scattered five hits over five innings in a win over Arkansas last Sunday. The Tigers appear to be grooming this closer-turned-starter into their No. 3 weekend guy after John Valek stumbled in back-to-back Game 3 starts earlier this season.
  • On the other side: In his first year as a starter, Soto, a Florida native, has allowed 43 hits in 48.1 innings. He’s struck out 32 and walked 14. He’s been pitching well of late, lasting at least six innings in each of his last three SEC starts. Over that span, he’s allowed no more than three earned runs.
  • Romero’s bat: Catcher Jordan Romero is 6 of 15 this week, helped by a 3-for-4 day Saturday. He crushed his ninth home run of the season well over the left field wall at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. “It’s all finally clicked,” Romero said after Saturday’s game. What’s in store Sunday?

LINEUPS

LSU

  • Antoine Duplantis, RF
  • Jake Fraley, CF
  • Kramer Robertson, SS
  • Jordan Romero, C
  • Chris Reid, 3B
  • Bryce Jordan, DH
  • Beau Jordan, LF
  • Greg Deichmann, 1B
  • Cole Freeman, 2B

Tennessee

  • Brodie Leftridge, CF
  • Chris Hall, RF
  • Nick Senzel, 3B
  • Vincent Jackson, LF
  • Benito Santiago, DH
  • Jordan Rodgers, 2B
  • Tyler Schultz, C
  • Max Bartlett, SS
  • Derek Lance, 1B

Pregame: LSU vs. Tennessee, Game 2

Alex Lange and Kramer Robertson sign autographs after the Game 1 win.

Alex Lange and Kramer Robertson sign autographs after the Game 1 win.

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee –

  • When: Noon CT
  • Where: Lindsey Nelson Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 11 and as low as No. 22. Tennessee is not ranked.
  • Projected Starters:  LSU Jr. LHP Jared Poché (5-4, 4.05 ERA) vs. So. LHP Zach Warren (5-4, 3.15)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Streaming: Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverageblogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @RossDellenger

Series Update

What To Watch

  • Poché’s struggle: Poché’s allowed 19 earned runs in his last four starts. How does that compare to earlier in the year? Poché, in his first eight starts, allowed eight fewer earned runs (11 total). Fastball command is behind his struggles, pitching coach Alan Dunn and Poché told us. This is the roughest stretch of his college career, the pitcher said Thursday.
  • Offensive woes: LSU has scored six – SIX – runs in the last 27 innings. The Tigers ran into some base-running woes Friday, costing them, potentially, at least a run or two. At third base, Jordan Romero, on his own, took home on a groundball to third base. He was thrown out easily. LSU’s top two base stealers (Cole Freeman and Jake Fraley) were thrown out attempting to steal second. But back to those runs … LSU scored one run in the first 17 innings of what eventually was an 18-inning doubleheader against Notre Dame. In those last three games, the Tigers have 15 hits.
  • No. 1 on Day 2: Sophomore lefty Zach Warren is Tennessee’s ace pitcher. The Volunteers shook up the lineup, sliding Warren into the Game 2 slot. Why? Who knows, but Warren has a better shot to win against Poché’ than he would against Lange. Warren’s struck out 56 and walked 26.

LINEUPS

LSU

  • Antoine Duplantis, RF
  • Jake Fraley, CF
  • Kramer Robertson, SS
  • Jordan Romero, C
  • Chris Reid, 3B
  • Bryce Jordan, DH
  • Beau Jordan, LF
  • Greg Deichmann, 1B
  • Cole Freeman, 2B

Tennessee

  • Brodie Leftridge, CF
  • Chris Hall, RF
  • Nick Senzel, 3B
  • Vincent Jackson, LF
  • Jordan Rodgers, 2B
  • Benito Santiago, C
  • Matt Waldren, DH
  • Max Bartlett, SS
  • Derek Lance, 1B

Pregame: LSU vs. Tennessee, Game 1

The Tigers and Vols take Lindsey Nelson Stadium for the series opener at 5 p.m CT. (LSU)

The Tigers and Vols take Lindsey Nelson Stadium for the series opener at 5 p.m CT. (LSU)

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee –

  • When: 5 p.m. CT
  • Where: Lindsey Nelson Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 11 and as low as No. 22. Tennessee is not ranked.
  • Projected Starters: LSU So. RHP Alex Lange (6-3, 4.02) vs. UT Fr. RHP Will Neely (1-2, 4.46)
  • TV: None
  • Streaming: Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverageblogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @RossDellenger

Series Update

What To Watch

  • Lange’s dad: No, don’t watch Lange’s dad. Watch Lange pitch in front of his dad. Lange’s father has lived in Knoxville since his parents divorced about 15 years ago, the pitcher said. Lange spent two weeks out of each summer in the Knoxville area (his father actually lives in a small suburb north of Knoxville called Heiskell). Lange’s grandparents will be in the stands as well. “They haven’t seen me play since I was real little,” Lange said.
  • Fresh arms: Despite the Tigers playing 18 innings on Wednesday, most, if not all, of LSU’s bullpen arms are available because of the lengthy starts (4.1 and 6 innings) from John Valek and Riley Smith in that DH in South Bend. No reliever threw more than two innings Wednesday. That bodes well against a Tennessee team that’s batting .291, the fifth-best average in the league.
  • Nick Senzel: The Volunteers’ third baseman is projected as a top-10 MLB draft pick later this year. He’s currently on an 11-game hitting streak and is batting .343.  He’s slugging .591, fifth-best in the SEC. And there’s this: The Knoxville native has stolen 23 of 24 bases.

LINEUPS

LSU

  • Antoine Duplantis, RF
  • Jake Fraley, CF
  • Kramer Robertson, SS
  • Jordan Romero, C
  • Chris Reid, 3B
  • Bryce Jordan, DH
  • Beau Jordan, LF
  • Greg Deichmann, 1B
  • Cole Freeman, 2B

Tennessee

  • Benito Santiago, DH
  • Chris Hall, RF
  • Nick Senzel, 3B
  • Vincent Jackson, LF
  • Jordan Rodgers, 2B
  • Derek Lance, 1B
  • Tyler Schultz, C
  • Max Bartlett, SS
  • Brodie Leftridge, CF

Pregame: LSU vs. Notre Dame, Game 1

Paul Mainieri held court with a host of former Notre Dame players Tuesday.

Paul Mainieri held court with a host of former Notre Dame players Tuesday.

The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available.

  • When: 2:05 p.m. CT, Wednesday
  • Where: Frank Eck Stadium
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 11 and as low as No. 22. Notre Dame is not ranked.
  • Projected Starters: Sr. LHP John Valek III (6-2, 4.36 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Connor Hock (0-0, 1.42 ERA)
  • TV: None
  • Streaming: Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverageblogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @RossDellenger

Series Update

What To Watch

  • Weather Watch: The weather is projected to be much better up here in South Bend on Wednesday than it was Tuesday. The Tigers and Irish had their Tuesday game pushed to Wednesday because of rain. It was 55 degrees and windy, too. Wednesday is expected to bring highs in the 70s and there is just a 25 percent chance of rain, according to the latest projections.
  • Valek’s Chance: The Akron transfer was bumped, at least temporarily, out of the weekend rotation after lasting just 3.2 innings and surrendering seven earned runs in starts against Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He gets his chance where his college career started – in the midwest.

LINEUPS

LSU

  • Antoine Duplantis, RF
  • Jake Fraley, CF
  • Kramer Robertson, SS
  • Jordan Romero, C
  • Chris Reid, 3B
  • Beau Jordan, LF
  • Bryce Jordan, DH
  • Greg Deichmann, 1B
  • Cole Freeman, 2B

Notre Dame

  • Cavan Biggio, 2B
  • Nick Podkul, 1B
  • Ricky Sanchez, DH
  • Jake Shepski, LF
  • Matt Vierling, RF
  • Lane Richards, SS
  • Kyle Fiala, 3B
  • Ryan Lidge, C
  • Kyle Richardson, CF

Pregame: LSU vs. Notre Dame (postponed)

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The pregame blog will post a few hours before first pitch of each ballgame. Lineups will be added at the bottom when they’re made available. 

Postponed to a Wednesday’s doubleheader.

  • When: 5 p.m. CT Tuesday (delayed to at least 6:15 p.m.)
  • Where: Frank Eck Stadium
  • Rankings: LSU is ranked as high as No. 11 and as low as No. 22. Notre Dame is not ranked.
  • Projected Starters: Sr. LHP John Valek III (6-2, 4.36 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Connor Hock (0-0, 1.42 ERA)
  • TV: None
  • Streaming: Available online at ESPN3.com
  • Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates; 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
  • Pre- and postgame coverage:blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives;theadvocate.com/sports
  • In-game Updates: @RossDellenger

LINEUPS

LSU

  • Antoine Duplantis, RF
  • Jake Fraley, CF
  • Kramer Robertson, SS
  • Jordan Romero, C
  • Chris Reid, 3B
  • Beau Jordan, LF
  • Bryce Jordan, DH
  • Greg Deichmann, 1B
  • Cole Freeman, 2B

Notre Dame

  • Cavan Biggio, 2B
  • Nick Podkul, 1B
  • Ricky Sanchez, DH
  • Jake Shepski, LF
  • Matt Vierling, RF
  • Lane Richards, SS
  • Kyle Fiala, 3B
  • Ryan Lidge, C
  • Kyle Richardson, CF

Poll Speak Monday

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU's Jordan Romero celebrates with Kramer Robertson after Romero's three-run home run in the fifth inning of LSU's 7-1 victory over Arkansas on Sunday

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS — LSU’s Jordan Romero celebrates with Kramer Robertson after Romero’s three-run home run in the fifth inning of LSU’s 7-1 victory over Arkansas on Sunday

Each Monday, you can track LSU’s movement in college baseball’s major polls here. Check back for frequent updates as polls are released throughout the day.

A possum and a de facto triple play were part of LSU’s 3-0 week, which ended in a sweep of Arkansas.

Polls (Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)

Baseball America 11 (13)

Perfect Game 22 (24)

D1Baseball.com 16 (17)

Collegiate Baseball 21 (27)

NCBWA 13 (15)

RPI

WarrenNolan.com 17

NCAA 17

D1Baseball.com 17

The Week That Was

On Deck

  • LSU at Notre Dame, 5:00, Tuesday (ESPN3)
  • LSU at Notre Dame, 5:00, Wednesday (ESPN3)
  • LSU at Tennessee, 5:00, Friday (SEC Network-Plus)
  • LSU at Tennessee, Noon, Saturday (SEC Network)
  • LSU at Tennessee, 1:00, Sunday (SEC Network-Plus)