OMAHA, Neb. — After getting knocked into the College World Series losers' bracket by Oregon State, baseball coach Paul Mainieri gathered his team and asked a rhetorical question: Is there anyone LSU would rather throw in this win-or-go-home scenario than Jared Poché?
“If you asked me, of all the pitchers I’ve ever coached, and we had our backs against the wall after a tough outing, who would you want to be giving the ball to? It would be Jared Poché,” Mainieri said Tuesday. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in that young man.”
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The Tigers will hand the ball to the senior left-hander against Florida State, needing a win to stave off elimination.
“I’m feeling really good, mentally and physically,” Poché said. “I’m ready to go, and I’m excited. Any competitor would want the ball here, and I’m glad I’m getting the nod.”
Despite pitching in relief during LSU’s win against the Seminoles on Saturday, Poché will not be on a more limited pitch count than usual. He threw 30 pitches in that game, about what he throws for a usual bullpen session. On his usual schedule ahead of a Wednesday start, Poché would have thrown a bullpen session Sunday.
“So he’s actually got an extra day of rest from when he would’ve pitched his bullpen,” Mainieri said. “Poché is a veteran; he knows what he can do.”
He logged 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win against Florida State, matching Scott Schultz’s career wins record at LSU with his 38th.
While it's unusual for Poché to face the same team in back-to-back appearances, he said he doesn’t think it provides an advantage one way or the other.
“I think it’s a wash,” Poché said. “I think I’ve seen their whole lineup at least once. They’ve seen me and I’ve seen them, so at this point, whoever executes best will come out on top.”
OMAHA, Neb. — Maybe Jared Poché figured this would happen, but he definitely didn’t see it c…
Robertson not pressing
Kramer Robertson’s Omaha debut has not gone according to plan.
The senior shortstop committed a costly error that opened the door for a two-run rally in the fifth inning against Oregon State on Monday, and he has gone 0 for 8 at the plate.
He said the error was “disappointing,” but he does not feel his results at the plate are indicative of the contact he has made.
“I don’t think my results are showing the swings I’m taking,” he said Tuesday. “I feel like I’ve had pretty good swings and made pretty good contact. I can’t control what happens after the ball leaves my barrel. Just try to hit the ball hard. I liked three of my four swings last night.”
Mainieri agreed, with one caveat: Those results need to become positive in a hurry.
“We count on him so much that, in the big games, he’s got to do more,” Mainieri said.
Mainieri said he considered shaking up the batting order for the Florida State game but decided against it.
“We thought about it, but no,” he said.
Mainieri said he thought Robertson hit the ball well twice against Oregon State but wound up being the victim of some bad baseball fortune. Robertson led off the LSU first inning with a hard shot up the middle that bounced off the leg of Beavers pitcher Bryce Fehmel. The ball came to a stop near the pitcher’s mound, and Fehmel made an easy throw to first for the out.
In the eighth, Robertson smashed a line drive — that went right at left fielder Trevor Larnach for another out.
OMAHA, Neb. — The beach ball rally was all the rage for two days with LSU baseball.
Going for 50 again
The Tigers (49-18) will be making their second try at a 50-win season against Florida State. The Tigers have won 50 games 12 times, including three times under Mainieri: 2009 (56-17), 2013 (57-11) and 2015 (54-12).
LSU’s first 50-win season coincided with its first trip to the CWS in 1986, when the Tigers went 55-14.
The Advocate's Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.