Jared Poché has seen the Texas A&M stats. His coach says they’re scary.
“Put up close to 30 runs or maybe over 30 runs versus Auburn,” Poché said. “They’re not No. 2 in the country for no reason.”
It was 31 runs in that series win against Auburn, where the SEC’s two best offenses slugged it out in a rain-filled weekend that has Poché and Texas A&M right-hander Jace Vines returning to pitch Thursday on four days’ rest.
“I’m a little nervous about it,” Mainieri said of throwing Poché on short rest. “I don’t know what kind of stuff he’s going to have. It may work out for the better. Sometimes when they turn around and get back on the mound quicker, their command’s a little bit better, maybe they have a little better feel for their pitches. Let’s hope for the best, hope that the glass is half full in this situation.”
Poché threw 76 pitches in his Saturday start against Alabama, when he allowed one earned run and his fifth homer of the season.
Poché allowed just 11 home runs combined in his first two seasons.
Now he faces an Aggies offense hitting .343 with 260 hits, 53 doubles and 13 triples — all of which lead the SEC.
And what about Poché and those homers? How does he plan to keep them down?
“Just making my pitches, executing,” Poché said. “Not trying to blow guys away when it’s not the right time for that. The pitches they hit out, about 80 or 90 percent of them were mistakes that I made. I think there was just one when I made my pitch and he put a good swing on it. Those type of home runs, they happen. The mistake pitches, I just have to be better than that.”
Mom’s making the trip
A native of McGregor, Texas, Kramer Robertson expects friends, family and former coaches to flood Blue Bell Park throughout this series.
One of the spectators has to duck out early.
Robertson’s mother, Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, will make Thursday night’s series opener before driving 180 miles to Dallas that night in preparation for the Lady Bears’ Sweet 16 game against Florida State on Friday.
“I’m excited to see everybody,” Robertson said. “A lot of my old football coaches, basketball coaches and baseball coaches (are) coming. It’s going to be fun for me.”
When her team isn’t in season, Mulkey is a mainstay at Alex Box Stadium, customarily sitting in the second row behind home plate. Baylor is a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and is looking for its third straight trip to the Elite Eight.
In discussing the potent Aggie lineup, Mainieri singled out former LSU catcher Michael Barash, who occupies the No. 5 spot in the lineup and, at .291, is hitting nearly 60 points higher than his .238 average from last season.
Barash stayed at LSU for his freshman season before he transferred to Palm Beach State College and eventually Texas A&M, bringing praise from Mainieri along the way.
“I got to know his family well; I made a home visit there, and I really like Michael,” Mainieri said. “He’s an outstanding young man. And it was the best thing for him to leave. He would not have played these last two years at LSU, and this year he’d be competing with Michael Papierski and Jordan Romero for playing time.
“He got himself in a really good situation. I recommended him highly to (Texas A&M coach) Rob Childress when he asked me about him, and it worked out well for him. I wish him well.”
SEC roster limits restrict teams to 27-man travel rosters.
Bryce Adams, Cody Ducote, Jake Latz, Collin Strall, Riley Smith, O’Neal Lochridge and Nick Bush did not make the trip to College Station.