Deke: Baton Rouge Regional Preview: LSU Tigers
In sports, it’s all about right now. And right now, the LSU Tigers baseball team is simply on fire. LSU is riding an eight game win streak, scoring runs at an alarming rate and playing their best ball of the season.
Because of their strong finish, the Tigers earned the #8 national seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. LSU will host the Baton Rouge Regional with the Tigers opening game coming against a familiar foe.
READ MORE: Deke: Baton Rouge Regional Preview: Southeastern Lions
“We already played them in the middle of the week, and didn't face their number one starter. It will be fun to face them and their top pitcher. I'm sure their guys are really excited to face us! There was a bizarre play where the catcher threw the ball in the dugout to score a couple of runs. They haven't played in The Box this year so I don't know how they will adapt to playing in front of such a big crowd. You can throw out everything that happened in the regular season!”
Those are the words spoken from LSU Coach Paul Mainieri when asked about the first meeting of the season between his Tigers and the Southeastern Lions. LSU beat Southeastern 7-3 in what was a pretty competitive game.
Southeastern is in the Baton Rouge Regional after earning an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament in the Lions 9-4 Southland Conference Tournament title victory against Central Arkansas.
The Lions are in regional play for the first time since 1994. LSU scored a whopping 31 runs in four SEC Tournament games averaging 7.8 runs per game. LSU gave up just four runs in four games last week in Hoover.
The numbers are staggering in favor of the Tigers. And now, LSU knows that the road to Omaha goes through Alex Box Stadium. Should the Tigers advance this weekend, they would host a Super Regional next weekend.
During their eight game hot streak, the Tigers have done well in all phases of the game. “I know our hitting gets a lot of attention, but our pitching has been outstanding. This is going to be a tough regional and we will need to play at a high level,” Mainieri said.
The Tigers will go with Jared Poche’ against the SLU Lions on Friday. After getting off to a tough start last week against Vanderbilt, Poche’ shut down the Commodores in the Tigers 11-1 win over Vanderbilt.
Poche’ is ready to take the mound for the Tigers. “I am very excited. I will definitely have a little adrenaline going, like my first SEC start. I know that I will need to go out there, really slow things down and just be myself.”
SLU Coach Matt Riser says his Lions are looking forward to facing the Bayou Bengals. “I think it’s a great matchup against LSU. We are excited to play LSU and for the opportunity. We are writing our story right now, and we aren’t finished yet.”
The Lions will start their best pitcher against LSU, as Andro Cutura goes to the mound for Southeastern. Cutura leads SLU with a 10-2 record in 15 starts this season. Cutura has an ERA of 1.72 and he pitched the second most innings for SLU this season with 99.2 innings pitched.
Coverage of the LSU versus Southeastern game begins at 1:30PM today with first pitch slated for 2PM.