After sweeping their opening series against Maryland and taking one from Lamar on Tuesday night, LSU will look to continue their winning ways again this weekend with BYU and Southeastern coming to town. Not a lot will be different for the Tigers, with the exception of a few lineup changes.
After a great opening weekend performance against Maryland, LSU (4-0) continued their winning ways on Tuesday night against Lamar, winning 8-1. This weekend two opponents come to town to take on the Tigers, one of which LSU has never had a meeting with.
LSU opens up the weekend on Thursday night at 6:30 against BYU (2-2) at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers will then play Southeastern Louisiana (3-1) on Friday, ending with BYU on Saturday.
BYU opened the 2013 season against Northern Colorado where they split their first two games. The Cougars have since beaten Northern Illinois and have dropped one to Texas Tech.
Southeastern Louisiana kicked off 2013 with a series against UT-Martin, one that they swept. Tulane has since beaten the Lions during their first weekday game of the season.
Heading into the weekend, LSU fans shouldn’t expect any changes in the pitching rotation.
Sophomore Aaron Nola will take the mound for LSU on Thursday night against the Cougars, after putting in a stellar performance in the first game of 2013. In his last outing, Nola shut Maryland down for 6.2 innings, allowing only two hits and striking out nine, one away from a career-high. Coach Paul Mainieri expects Nola to put up another solid performance on Thursday night, especially with BYU hitting .242 as a team at the plate.
Junior Ryan Eades will take over on the mound on Friday against Southeastern Louisiana. Eades had a solid outing in week one, throwing 6.1 innings and allowing 6 hits with 6 strikeouts. Eades will have to be effective early in the contest on Friday with the Lions hitting .286 as a team.
Finally, Brent Bonvillain will remain in his role as the third starter. Bonvillain will look to build off of his first start of 2013 against Maryland. He threw four innings and allowed 1 run (one earned) on 4 hits.
On the offensive side, LSU will look to continue to produce runs effectively this weekend. The Tigers will get a stiff test on Thursday night from BYU starter Desmond Poulson. In his first and only outing of 2013, Poulson threw a complete game shutout against Northern Colorado.
The Tigers will need to get things rolling quickly on Thursday night in order to keep Poulson from getting into a rhythm, much like he did in his first start.
Poulson will get a challenge from LSU’s leadoff hitter, Chris Sciambra. Last Friday, Sciambra collected a career-high four hits against Maryland, three of which came with two strikes. He will be heavily relied upon this weekend to get on base early and often.
Coach Paul Mainieri is very comfortable with how his offense has been performing so far in 2013. However, there is still room for improvement.
“I love where our offense is,” said Mainieri. “I feel like we are right where we are supposed to be. I certainly think that we can continue to improve, as there is a lot of room to do that still.”
While on the topic of offense, Mainieri did announce one change to the lineup for this weekend. Tyler Moore will DH for LSU in order to provide another left-handed hitter to the lineup.
“Tyler Moore will DH for us because he is too good of a hitter not to have in the lineup,” said Mainieri. “He also provides us with another lefty.”
With no changes in the starting rotation and only one in the lineup, LSU will also look to get some younger players some meaningful innings this weekend. The catcher position is one that Mainieri would like to take the committee approach with this weekend.
“Ty Ross will start behind the plate on Thursday,” said Mainieri. “I want Tyler Moore to get some innings. We have to continue to get guys innings behind the plate because it is such an important position.”
Mainieri also explained that he may experiment with moving his outfielders around, especially after the way that freshman Mark Laird performed in center field on Tuesday.
“I though Laird played very well in center this week and he will continue to get some innings there,” said Mainieri. “I’m not sure what I will do with the outfield. Laird, Sciambra, and Rhymes will be out there. McMullen will be out there at some point as well.
TSD's Taylor Halsey had an opportunity to catch up with catcher Ty Ross this week. Click on the link below to view TSD's interview with Ross.
Stay with TSD throughout the weekend for live updates from all three of LSU’s games this weekend at Alex Box Stadium.