OMAHA, Neb. — Eric Walker is a go for the College World Series.
LSU released a statement Saturday before its CWS opener against Florida State from coach Paul Mainieri, saying that the freshman right-hander is “100 percent healthy” and will start the Tigers’ game Monday against Oregon State or Cal State Fullerton.
The news shifts senior left-hander Jared Poché into a bullpen role for Saturday’s game behind junior right-hander Alex Lange.
Mainieri said Friday he had decided nearly a week ago that Walker (8-1, 3.46 ERA) would start one of LSU’s first two games in the CWS. But Tuesday in a simulated game, Walker experienced some unusual discomfort in his pitching forearm.
Mainieri said he would have Walker throw a modified bullpen Saturday morning, and if he felt good, Mainieri would let Walker pitch Monday. The LSU news release did not detail how well Walker threw Saturday.
Walker hasn’t pitched since he threw eight shutout innings in the Tigers’ Baton Rouge regional-clinching win over Rice. Before that, he threw 7.2 innings of one-run ball in LSU’s win over Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference tournament final.
Poché (10-3, 3.42 ERA) gave up seven runs (one earned) against Texas Southern in the Baton Rouge regional, then lasted just 2.1 innings against Mississippi State in the Baton Rouge super regional, allowing four runs. It was Poché's shortest outing of the season.