Doug Norman hates losing.
So when the Tigers (6-1) suffered their only loss this season season against Nicholls State, with the LSU freshman right-hander on the mound, it stung him.
“If my team loses the game, and I’m the pitcher, it tears me up,” Norman said. “As a pitcher, it’s extremely personal because you’re the only position on a baseball team that gets a ‘W’ or an ‘L’ next to your name.”
Norman surrendered nine hits and five runs, four earned, in 4.2 innings in his debut, taking his first career loss after the Colonels left Baton Rouge with a 6-3 victory. But he’ll have his chance to rebound when Southeastern Louisiana visits Alex Box Stadium on Wednesday.
After losing three of their last four contests, the Lions (5-3) will look to get back on track against Norman. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, but it could be moved to Thursday.
That decision is expected to be made Wednesday morning. Wednesday’s forecast calls for highs in the mid-40s and a 100-percent chance of rain.
Regardless of when the game happens, Norman has his mind focused on bouncing back.
The South Carolina native wasted no time shaking off his first start. LSU coach Paul Mainieri has a rule for his players: They have until midnight to dwell on the results of that day’s contest.
There was no exception for Norman.
“That night, I let it go,” Norman said. “If I let it linger, then it’s not going to do anybody or this team any good. I let it go pretty fast, and I’ve been ready to go ever since.”
Following the loss, Norman said he believed he threw “too many strikes.” Of his 70 pitches last Wednesday, only 19 were balls.
“It’s a good problem to have when you throw a lot of strikes,” Mainieri said. “The problem was that he’d be getting ahead in the count, and then he was throwing too many pitches down the middle, and they were getting some two-strike hits.”
Norman said it’s an issue he hopes to resolve against Southeastern.
“When I get ahead of a hitter, I have to do a lot better than that,” Norman said. “The hard part is getting them to two strikes, and then the easy part is supposed to be making them hit your pitch and putting them away. I just have to do a better job of focusing and executing.”
Norman said he expects to be more comfortable against SLU, though nerves weren’t an issue for the right-hander in his first outing. He said he was more excited than he was intimidated.
Mainieri also anticipates Norman being more relaxed against the Lions. He said he has a feeling he’ll see a more confident right-hander in his second start. The rookie will face a similar scenario against Southeastern — an in-state opponent looking for an upset in Alex Box.
SLU’s lineup — which features former LSU pitcher Ryan Eades’ younger brother, Chris Eades — includes six batters hitting over .300. Norman knows how badly the Lions want to achieve victory on the Tigers’ home turf. He’s embracing the opportunity to shut down the visiting underdogs.
“Definitely for these in-state schools, LSU is the game they highlight on their calendars,” Norman said. “I love coming in here. This is like their World Series for the regular season. Everybody wants to beat LSU as a smaller in-state school. No game is a push-me-over game.”
LSU (6-1) vs. Southeastern Louisiana University (5-3)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Alex Box Stadium
RANKINGS: LSU is ranked as low as No. 8 and has high as No. 2. Southeastern Louisiana is not ranked.
- SLU, Jr. LH Domenick Carlini (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. LSU, Fr. RH Doug Norman (0-1, 7.71 ERA)
ONLINE STREAMING: Online only at SEC Network-Plus, which is accessible at SECNetwork.com and the Watch ESPN app
RADIO: WTGE, 100.7 FM in Baton Rouge and LSU Sports Network affiliates
IN-GAME UPDATES: @DellengerAdv, @BarrecaAdvocate
WHAT TO WATCH: Freshman right-hander Doug Norman will look to rebound after surrendering nine hits and five runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings pitched against Nicholls State. Southeastern Louisiana University brings an offense that is batting .285 as a team, including six batters hitting over .300, and a starter in Domenick Carlini who struck out 11 batters in five innings against Tulane last week.
IN THE HOLE: vs. Princeton, 7 p.m. Friday, Alex Box Stadium