LSU whips Arkansas 16-3 to even series _lowres

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE - Starter Alex Lange of LSU celebrates the final out of the fourth inning against Arkansas Friday, March 20, 2015, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

Alex Lange has a message for LSU fans: Don’t worry, I’m fine.

Lange, the Tigers’ star freshman pitcher, feels 100 percent after throwing a 35-pitch bullpen Tuesday and sounded like a player expecting to start this weekend following off time last week for what he termed “elbow tightness.”

“A little tightness, a little fatigue,” he said Tuesday in describing an issue that kept him on the bench for LSU’s series win over Auburn. “Nothing horrible. No ligament (issues). All muscle-related. Not anything to be concerned about.”

LSU (31-6) hosts Lamar (17-18) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Alex Box Stadium in a tune-up for a three-game series at Georgia starting Friday. The Tigers should have Lange back — at least that’s what it sounds like.

“I feel fine, 100 percent,” he said.

Coach Paul Mainieri has not announced his starting rotation for the weekend. Lange is 6-0 and has a Southeastern Conference-leading 1.39 ERA.

Lange suggested that his arm issue was tied to the workload for a starting college pitcher. High school games are seven innings, and Lange only threw past that mark once before arriving at LSU.

Mainieri compared the issue to the one former LSU pitcher Aaron Nola suffered during his freshman season. Nola also took off a weekend series during his rookie year.

Lange said the elbow tightness flared up in the fourth inning of his 6.2-inning start at Alabama on April 3. He walked five and allowed eight hits in what he called the worst outing of his season.

After Lange threw a bullpen last Wednesday, Mainieri and pitching coach Alan Dunn made the decision to rest him for the Auburn series, using Austin Bain in his place in a loss Saturday.

This bullpen Tuesday went better.

“I wasn’t up to 100 percent, and any time you’re not up to 100 percent, you don’t want to go out there and make anything worse,” he said of last week. “I kind of thought it was coming. I knew if I wasn’t 100 percent, I was going to take the week off. And I wasn’t.”

‘One of those weekends’

LSU had just 20 hits and scored just 10 runs during the series against Auburn. That was the lowest hit total for a three-game series this season and tied for the fewest runs.

So what happened?

“It was just one of those weekend,” shortstop Alex Bregman said. “Didn’t square up enough pitches, didn’t hit enough balls hard. We weren’t aggressive. Think we just need to be aggressive in the zone. That’s all we can do. This weekend, we just didn’t do a good job of that.”

Scivicque on watch list

LSU catcher Kade Scivicque is on the new watch list released Tuesday for the Johnny Bench Award, given annually by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission to the top catcher in Division I.

The watch list will be narrowed to the semifinalists May 14. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 2, and a final vote by the national committee will occur during the College World Series.

Scivicque, a product of Maurepas, is LSU’s leading hitter this season, batting .386.

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LSU (31-6) vs. Lamar (17-18)

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Alex Box Stadium

Rankings: LSU is ranked in the top three, and as high as No. 1, in all six major polls. Lamar is not ranked.

Projected starters: LSU Sr. LHP Kyle Bouman (0-1, 7.53 ERA) vs. LU Jr. RHP Billy Love (0-0, 2.25)

Online: SEC Network+, which is accessible at SECNetwork.com and the Watch ESPN app.

Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; KLWB-FM, 103.7; WWL-AM, 870

In-game updates: @DellengerAdv, @BarrecaAdv

Pre- and postgame coverage: blogs.theadvocate.com/linedrives; theadvocate.com/sports/

What to watch: LSU’s offense has a shot to get back on track. The Tigers had a combined 20 hits in a weekend series against Auburn, the fewest in a three-game set this season. The bats can shake off that performance and grab a confidence booster before heading to Georgia for a three-game series.

Know your opponent: The Cardinals have an RPI of 229, but they’ve played some teams close, losing to Rice and Houston by one run each. Love has thrown just four innings this season but hasn’t allowed a hit.Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.