Bouman earns a spot in the rotation

Kyle Bouman will start Sat. vs. Vanderbilt

Paul Mainieri announced Monday his pitching rotation for the first weekend of SEC play. Kyle Bouman beat Cody Glenn for the Saturday spot, and TSD has more notes on the Tigers as they gear up for Vanderbilt.

Kyle Bouman will be in the rotation when LSU starts SEC play this weekend against Vanderbilt.

Paul Mainieri announced Monday that Bouman will occupy the Saturday spot, winning the competition against Cody Glenn, who will now move to the bullpen. Aaron Nola will start Friday and Jared Poche will get the nod in the finale.

"It wasn't necessarily anything Cody did poorly, I just feel like Kyle Bouman earned it," Mainieri said. "He's really pitched outstanding baseball all four times [he's started]. It's imperative to throw strikes against Vanderbilt, and that's what Kyle is, a strike-throwing machine."

Bouman has a 1.46 ERA and a 3-0 record through his first four starts of the season. LSU has won every game in which he's taken the mound, and opponents are hitting just .209 against him. He has 13 strikeouts compared to just one walk, and he's lived up to what Mainieri expected of him.

"He was happy, as you might imagine," Mainieri said of Bouman's reaction to the decision. "He said, ‘Great. I've been working for this, and I won't let you down.' I don't have any doubt he'll be ready to go. He'll pitch like he's capable of pitching."

The move serves as somewhat of a demotion for Glenn, who started 15 games for LSU last season, winning seven with a 2.68 ERA. Glenn hasn't had quite as much success in 2014 though. He's got a 4.74 ERA in five appearances — four starts — and teams are hitting .333 against him.

Mainieri said Glenn will still be an important pitcher out of the bullpen, though his exact role is still to be determined. Glenn's endurance will certainly make him the Tigers' leading long reliever, but Mainieri said there are certain situations that will call for Glenn's expertise.

Mainieri expects Glenn to still be motivated despite the disappointment.

"He's had a lot of positive decisions go in his favor, and if he just dwells on one negative, that'd be very short-sighted of him," Mainieri said. "But he's a team guy, and he assured me his attitude will be great. He'll be ready when called upon."

IBARRA OUT FOR NEXT TWO GAMES



Christian Ibarra will miss at least two more games with a hamstring injury
Christian Ibarra will miss LSU's upcoming midweek contests against Nicholls State and Southern. Mainieri said Ibarra "tweaked" his hamstring trying to leg out a double play in Saturday's win against Purdue.

Ibarra missed the series finale Sunday, and Mainieri said he hopes to get Ibarra back for practice on Thursday. Freshman Danny Zardon will start in his place.

"Fortunately speed is not a major part of [Ibarra's] game," Mainieri said. "So as long as he's capable of fielding bunts and having a little range, he'll at least be close to what he is typically."

OPTIONS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE INFIELD


Mainieri is still tinkering with the combinations available at first and second base. Freshman Kramer Robertson has received several opportunities at second, while Conner Hale continues to man both positions. Tyler Moore has also seen significant playing time at first base.

Mainieri said the type of pitcher they're facing will likely determine who starts. Nothing is set, but Mainieri said he likes having Robertson and Hale in the lineup against left-handed pitchers, with Moore replacing Robertson against righties.

"Tyler's got a lot of big hits in his career," Mainieri said. "He hasn't done it consistently enough for me to say he should be in there everyday, but there isn't a situation too big for Tyler Moore. He just doesn't ever get frazzled."

LAGNIAPPE


---Mainieri's keeping a close eye on the weather, as rain could affect Tuesday's game against Nicholls. He said if there's a rain-out, it's possible LSU plays a day-night doubleheader Wednesday against both Nicholls and Southern.

"That's not the perfect situation," Mainieri said. "I'd prefer not to do that if we can avoid it."


Jared Poche's set for his first SEC start
---Regardless of when the game's happen, Mainieri said Brady Domangue will start against Nicholls, with Poche pitching two innings against Southern. Mainieri wants to make sure Poche gets a bit of work before returning to action Sunday against Vanderbilt.

"He'll keep the same approach," Mainieri said of what he expects from Poche in his first SEC start. "He only knows one way and that's to just go out there and compete as hard as he can. He's got that lagniappe, that little it factor."

---LSU will utilize both catchers in the first weekend of SEC play. Mainieri expects Chris Chinea will start behind the plate Friday and Sunday, with Kade Scivicque getting the nod Saturday. Scivicque, who leads the team a .455 batting average, will be the designated hitter when he's not catching.

---The bullpen roles are starting to sort out. Joe Broussard is LSU's closer, and he hasn't allowed a run in seven appearances this season. Parker Bugg and Kurt McCune are in the set-up role with Zac Person the top situational lefty. Mainieri said he has confidence in Nate Fury, Henri Faucheaux, Alden Cartwright and Hunter Devall for middle relief.

---LSU received a small bump in the polls after a 5-0 week. The Tigers moved up one spot in the Baseball America (No. 8), Coaches' (No. 6) and Collegiate Baseball (No. 3) rankings. LSU moved up two spots to No. 9 in the Perfect Game poll. The NCBWA rankings had not been released when this article was posted.


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