Pregame will be posted a few hours before each game this baseball season. About an hour before first pitch, lineups will be added to the bottom of this post. Return after the game for our postgame blog.
HOOVER, Alabama –
- What: LSU (46-9) vs. Auburn (35-22)
- When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
- Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover, Alabama
- Starting pitchers: : LSU So. LHP Jared Poché (7-1, 3.18) vs. AU Sr. RHP Rocky McCord (5-4, 3.65)
- TV: SEC Network
- Online: ESPN3.com
- In-game updates on Twitter: @DellengerAdv, @RabalaisAdv
- On deck: at SEC Tournament, Thursday
Links To Know
- Feature: Paul Mainieri’s success in conference tournaments started with a bottle of champagne and a Labrador puppy
- Preview: SEC tournament
- Bracket: SEC tournament
What’s At Stake
- The loser drops into an elimination game, and it’s a rare feat to lose the opener of a tournament such as this and come back to win the event. For Auburn, a neutral site win over LSU would almost certainly secure the Tigers a spot in an NCAA regional. For coach Paul Mainieri and crew, LSU can even more solidify its standing as not just a national seed – but the No. 1 overall national seed.
What To Watch
- Getting back on track: Jared Poché needs a boost before heading into NCAA regionals. The lefty has allowed 24 hits and 12 runs in his last three starts – a combined 18 innings – after pitching a stellar six consecutive games. Poché allowed two runs and eight hits in 5.2 innings against Auburn earlier this season in a 3-2 win.
- Streaking Chinea: Chris Chinea has 11 home runs – in the last 29 games. He had a single, double and homer in the series opener at South Carolina and had six hits and six RBIs over the three games. There’s no hotter player on LSU’s roster. He now leads the team in batting average at .374.
- Balancing the bullpen: Mainieri doesn’t plan on using his starters for extended stays as the NCAA regional is just a week away. That means he must balance the bullpen enough to have pitchers left by the end of this thing Sunday – if the Tigers are still alive. Mainieri brought one more pitcher (Hunter Devall) than he normally does on road trips for, likely, this purpose.
Know Your Opponent
- Auburn is somewhat on the NCAA regional bubble. The Tigers have an RPI of 22, but they finished the SEC regular season with a 13-17 league record. Rocky McCord lasted just two innings against LSU earlier this season, allowing six hits and six runs in just two innings in a 6-2 LSU win in the rubber match of the regular season series between the two teams.