Pregame: Who, what to watch as LSU baseball takes on Cincinnati at noon Sunday _lowres


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.

Here’s Johnny: John Valek, the antithesis of what LSU’s thrown in the first two games of this series, makes his Tiger debut today. The senior with more than 260 innings of college baseball experience came to Baton Rouge after Akron disbanded its baseball program, choosing the Tigers over Clemson and FAU. Valekimpressed throughout the fall with non-intimidating stuff — he tops out at around 85 mph — using what pitching coach Alan Dunn calls “pitch-ability” to befuddle most of the Tiger lineup.

On the Defensive: Such low velocity lends itself to contact. Valek isn’t going to strike many hitters out and will pitch to contact throughout his outing, putting the onus on this young LSU defense to play well behind him. The task may fall to a few backups, too. LSU coach Paul Mainieri said after Saturday’s game Jordan Romero will catch today and he’s thinking of sitting struggling shortstop Trey Dawson for a game. If Dawson gets a day off, freshman O’Neal Lochridge would play third and Cole Freeman would slide to shortstop.