Paul Mainieri is still unhappy about the NCAA’s decision to postpone the Baton Rouge regional championship round from Sunday to Monday.
Why? It could affect LSU’s pitching plan for the super regional against Louisiana-Lafayette later this week.
The Tigers won the regional with a 2-0 victory over UNC-Wilmington on Monday and now head into a best-of-three super regional that will start Saturday. LSU’s No. 2 pitcher, Jared Poché, will have less time to rest between starts after the NCAA’s decision.
“We’re still not real happy about what happened because it can affect us down the road with the shorter rest of the super regional,” Mainieri said. “That was my biggest concern quite frankly.”
Poché threw 121 pitches on Monday afternoon in a six-hit, scoreless 8.2 innings. Presumably, the Tigers will start freshman ace Alex Lange in the super regional opener, leaving Poché for Game 2 on Sunday.
So what happened Sunday night? Mainieri and LSU officials still haven’t been given a reason why the NCAA pushed back the regional championship, scheduled for Sunday night, to Monday.
UNCW and LSU could have started the first game of the regional round before the 11 p.m. curfew Sunday night. Mainieri declined comment on the situation Sunday night, and LSU athletic director Joe Alleva blistered the NCAA for the ruling.
Many LSU players were at the stadium for much of the day Sunday in preparation to play — but not Poché, set to get the start.
Mainieri texted the pitcher and told him not to come to Alex Box Stadium until 8 p.m. A more than three-hour rain delay prevented the first game between UNCW and Tulane from starting until 6:15.
“I was only here for about an hour,” the pitcher said. “It was a little frustrating, but we got past it. Great teams have to handle adversity, and I think we did a great job of that today.”
First baseman Chris Chinea showed this week why he’s led LSU in two-out RBIs for much of the season.
Chinea drove in two of the Tigers’ four runs scored in two 2-0 win over UNC-Wilmington on Saturday night and then Monday afternoon. Both came on two-out shots.
“We want him up every time with two outs,” third baseman Conner Hale said.
Chinea scorched an RBI double down the left field line in the second inning against UNCW starter Justin Crump in Monday’s regional championship win. It brought in Andrew Stevenson, who reached via an error and then moved to second on a balk.
Chinea broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning of Saturday’s win over the Seahawks (41-18) with an RBI single with two outs.
What’s the secret to hitting with two outs? “I just try to put a good swing on the ball and hit it as hard as I can,” Chinea said.
“My approach was not to get beat,” he said of Monday’s shot.
Hitting coach Andy Cannizaro told Chinea to “hunt the fastball and don’t get beat, be on time, be ready to attack the ball.”
Tickets for the Baton Rouge super regional between Louisiana-Lafayette and LSU are available now to LSU baseball season ticket holders and will remain on sale to season ticket holders until 5 p.m. Tuesday.
They can be purchased at LSUtix.net, by phone at (225) 578-2184 or in person at the LSU’s athletic ticket office. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale to the general public later this week at a time to be announced.
Alex Lange, voted the Baton Rouge regional’s most outstanding player, became the first LSU freshman pitcher to go 11-0 with his win Saturday. He’s just the fourth LSU pitcher to go 11-0 or better in program history. … The Tigers improved their record in regional championship rounds to 21-2. … This will be LSU’s 11th super regional appearance. The Tigers have won six of 10 super regionals, six of seven at home. … Alex Bregman’s third-inning error was his first in 15 games. … Bregman, who finished 0-for-8 in the regional, became only the third player in LSU history to have 35 stolen bases in a season. Only Rob Hartwig with 42 stolen bases in 67 games in 1987 and Jared Mitchell with 36 steals in 67 games in 2009 have more.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.