The mustache lives another week.
Senior left-hander Jared Poché was dominant yet again in Saturday's 12-5 win over Wichita State, tossing seven scoreless innings to extend his consecutive-scoreless-innings streak to 29 to open the season.
“It’s been a great run so far,” Poché said, “And I’m just hoping I can keep it going as long as possible, because we’re winning."
His teammates had his back, pounding out 12 runs on 17 hits as the Tigers (11-4) steamrolled Wichita State (8-5) and clinched the series win. The Shockers scored five runs in the ninth inning to provide the final score.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri bent his personal rule against facial hair for players when Poché started the season with a no-hitter.
Mainieri then allowed his senior to keep growing it after he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of his next start, saying Poché could keep it until he gave up a run. Poché has kept opponents off the board in each of his four starts this season.
“It looks like I’ve got to put up with that stupid mustache for another week,” Mainieri joked Saturday.
Poché has now logged the second longest consecutive scoreless innings streak in school history, passing Greg Smith's 28 innings tallied in 2005. Poché is 15 innings behind Ben McDonald for the longest consecutive-scoreless-innings streak in school history.
Five of Poché’s seven innings were 1-2-3. The one time he did get into trouble — allowing back-to-back one-out singles in the fourth — he deftly escaped the jam, getting out of the inning by painting the outside corner for one of his three strikeouts.
“I went out there to calm him down,” catcher Michael Papierski said. “We were talking, then I ended it with: ‘You know, your mustache looks great out here,’ and I ran off.”
The LSU offense, meanwhile, broke out the big bats in support.
Nine different players collected a hit in Saturday’s contest, and three of them left the park entirely.
Freshman Zach Watson, earning his second start of the year as Mainieri looks for his best outfield lineup, hammered his first career homer over the bleachers in left field to score three runs and give LSU a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning.
"We got a real spark today from Zach Watson,” Mainieri said. “That’s called taking advantage of your opportunities.”
The Tigers followed that with two more homers in their four-run sixth inning. The first came on a left-handed swing by Papierski, who just went back to switch hitting at the start of this series.
The other was a three-run opposite-field blast off the bat of Greg Deichmann — his second home run of the series and seventh of the season.
“Last night, I told (Deichmann), ‘Let the wind help you,’ ” Mainieri said. “Then he hits the one against the wind and I said, ‘Man, you’re not very coachable.’ Then today he hits the one to left field and he said, ‘Did that make you happy?’ I said absolutely, thank you.”
LSU will go for the sweep at 2 p.m. Sunday.