Jared Poché can’t wait to return to the mound and wash away his last outing.
But he’ll be waiting awhile.
Poché, LSU’s sophomore left-hander, will start the Tigers’ third game of the NCAA tournament’s Baton Rouge regional Sunday, coach Paul Mainieri announced Tuesday. That means the Lutcher native will go 10 days between starts.
His last one still stings. Poché allowed five runs (two earned), three hits and two walks in a one-inning start against Auburn in LSU’s 9-8 comeback win in the opener of the Southeastern Conference tournament last week.
“Can’t get much worse than that,” a smiling Poché said Tuesday.
Poché’s start Sunday in the four-team, double-elimination regional will come in an elimination game or in the regional final. LSU, if it wins the first two games of the regional, must get beaten twice (Sunday and then Monday) not to advance and host a best-of-three super regional.
“It’ll definitely be a big game. It will either be to keep us alive or send us to the super regionals,” Poché said.
Freshman Alex Lange is set to throw in Saturday’s game — presumably the winners’ bracket final if the No. 2 overall national seed Tigers (48-10) beat regional No. 4 seed Lehigh (25-29) on Friday. A Friday starter has not been announced.
Poché getting the nod Sunday is an opportunity for a bounce-back performance from a guy who has had some hiccups this season. Poché lasted 3.2 innings in a start against Arkansas earlier this season, and he allowed five earned runs on nine hits in a six-inning start at South Carolina to end the regular season.
Pitching coach Alan Dunn and Mainieri aren’t concerned with Poché’s recent struggles. He has allowed 10 earned runs in his past 10.2 innings, spanning three starts.
“I’m not really worried about him,” Mainieri said. “I know he’s going to go out there and compete the way he does.”
Mainieri speaks with UNO
Mainieri said he spoke with UNO Athletic Director Derek Morel about current LSU assistant Will Davis and former LSU player Blake Dean, both candidates for the head coaching job there.
Dean, a former All-SEC first baseman who has been a UNO assistant for the past two seasons, was named interim coach. Ron Maestri retired last week after a second stint with the program.
Davis, an LSU catcher under Mainieri and former coach Smoke Laval, has been LSU’s volunteer assistant coach for the past eight seasons after a one-year stint as the team’s director of baseball operations.
Lehigh to throw lefty
Senior left-hander Nick Macaione (3-4, 2.82 ERA) will start in the Mountain Hawks’ game Friday against LSU, the school announced Tuesday.
It’s a surprise to the Tigers. Shortstop Alex Bregman said earlier this week that the Tigers expected to face a right-hander when the squads square off at 3 p.m. Friday.
Macaione has thrown the most innings (67) of any Lehigh pitcher this season and has a 43-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has thrown two complete games and allowed 51 hits.
Come watch practice
LSU will practice at 6 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday in preparation for the regional.
The Tigers’ opponents in the event will practice after LSU on Thursday: UNC-Wilmington at 11:30 a.m., Tulane at 1 p.m. and Lehigh at 2:30 p.m.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.