LSU’s Jared Poche’s last 2 outings like night and day

first_imgLSU pitcher Jared Poche' (16) is expected to pitch Game 2 against UL Lafayette.LSU pitcher Jared Poche’ (16) is expected to pitch Game 2 against UL Lafayette.BATON ROUGE – As so many LSU people seethed over a noon game Monday instead of a midnight run the night before, LSU pitcher Jared Poche’s performance turned night into day.The Tigers’ sophomore left-hander from Lutcher stepped to the mound at high noon Monday against North Carolina Wilmington after the worst performance of his career. On May 20 at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, he lasted exactly one inning – allowing three hits, two walks and two earned runs. It was his briefest start of this season by two and two-thirds innings.Poche responded with his second longest appearance of the season at eight and two-thirds innings, limiting UNCW to six hits, one walk and no runs for a 2-0 victory at Alex Box Stadium to go to 8-1 on the season.The win advanced the No. 1 Tigers (51-10) to the best-of-three Super Regional beginning this Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 against UL Lafayette (44-19) at the Box with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.No. 1 LSU advances to Super Regional“You know, it’s pretty indescribable to be honest, walking off the field with all those fans cheering,” Poche said after the regional title game. “Couldn’t help but have a little grin. For me coming off last week’s performance and having an outing like that, it definitely helps for this weekend, momentum-wise. It helps me lock in and get in the zone.”Poche (8-1, 3.05 ERA) is expected to start game two of the Super Regional, which will be Sunday at either 5 p.m. on ESPNU or at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, depending on what happens in the other seven Super Regionals. Freshman right-hander Alex Lange (11-0, 1.76 ERA) is expected to start Saturday.LSU was originally scheduled to play UNCW on Sunday night, but NCAA officials moved the game to noon Monday for better weather after more than eight hours of rain delays through the first three days of the Baton Rouge Regional. Poche had geared himself up to pitch Sunday night.“It was tough, but I mean, I didn’t get to the field until about 8 o’clock,” Poche said. “So I was only here for about an hour (before the postponement decision). 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.”Poche said he did not pitch angry. “No, not really,” he said. “Just kind of wanted to get back to myself.”LSU catcher Kade Scivicque and pitching coach Alan Dunn each told Poche he had not been pitching like himself in recent outings. Before the SEC Tournament fiasco, Poche allowed nine hits and five runs in six innings at South Carolina on May 14 in a 10-7 LSU loss. He lasted just three and two-thirds innings before that on May 8 as he allowed seven hits and three runs to Missouri in an 8-3 LSU win.LSU, UL Lafayette face uncertaintyPoche’s victory over UNCW was his first since beating Georgia, 9-1, on April 18 when he gave up only four hits and one run in seven innings. “I needed to be gritty, and just kind of prove I was better than I was pitching,” he said.The doubters were surfacing as Poche slumped.“He’d had a couple of rough outings,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said, “and people were saying, ‘Why did you stick with Poche?’ Because I know what this kid is made of. I knew today that Jared Poche would go out there and be a man. If he doesn’t succeed, it’s not ever going to be because he choked or he didn’t give you his best effort or he didn’t want to succeed. Just some days, the game is hard to play, and you’ve got to give credit to the other team.”Mainieri also did not have much choice as he has struggled to find a No. 3 starter after Lange and Poche.“He just pitched a tremendous ballgame, and he deserves everything — all the accolades that come his way,” Mainieri said.“It’s a great feeling to be going to the Super Regional,” said Poche, who started LSU’s NCAA Regional opening win against Southeastern Louisiana as a freshman in 2014 before the Tigers lost their last two games to Houston in the Box for the regional title.“It didn’t work out for us,” he said. “We were hoping to get there (to the Super). After winning this game, we’re going to be there. Last year, that atmosphere was unbelievable. I don’t expect anything less.”Mainieri will expect the same or close to it from Poche, who threw 121 pitches Monday and just missed a complete game.“It would have been nice to see Jared finish. He gave every ounce of everything he had on a hot afternoon,” Mainieri said. “I was very surprised he was still in the game at that point. To shut that team down was amazing.”LANGE NATIONAL FRESHMAN PITCHER OF YEAR: LSU right-hander Alex Lange of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was named the national freshman pitcher of the year by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday.Lange (11-0, 1.76 ERA) became the first LSU freshman in history to strike out 100 batters on Saturday when he struck out 12 in a 2-0 win over North Carolina Wilmington in the Baton Rouge Regional and has 110 on the year. He has limited opposing batters to a .206 batting average on the season for fifth in the SEC.He previously was named a first team All-American and the SEC freshman of the year. Lange is the sixth LSU player to earn national freshman of the year honors. The previous winners were second baseman Todd Walker in 1992, pitcher Brett Laxton in 1993, second baseman Mike Fontenot in 2000, pitcher Lane Mestepey in 2001 and shortstop Alex Bregman in 2013.STALLINGS ALSO HONORED: LSU freshman pitcher Jesse Stallings of Colfax and Grant High was named to the freshmen All-American team by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday. Stallings (1-2, 2.23 ERA) leads the Tigers with 12 saves and has 26 strikeouts in 32 and one-third innings.last_img read more

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Utah Utes football notebook: Vroman erasing worries about replacing Sakoda as kicker

first_imgBesides getting settled on a starter at the quarterback position, perhaps the biggest concern for Ute football coaches in camp has been the kicking game. Replacing a player such as all-American Louie Sakoda, a three-year starter at punter and placekicker, is a tough task.After Thursday’s scrimmage, coach Kyle Whittingham was all smiles while talking about the kicking game.Ben Vroman, who handled kickoffs the last two years, is No. 1 on the depth chart at placekicker, and he showed why Thursday.He went 7-for-7 on the day, making field goals from 49 and 43 yards as well as from 39, 36, 35, 31 and 26 yards.”I was very pleased with the placekicking today,” Whittingham said. “We did a bunch of placekicking in live situations, and Ben Vroman was clearly the top guy and right now unless something dramatic happens, he’ll be handling the kickoffs and the placekicking.”Besides Vroman, freshman Nick Marsh made a 33-yard field goal and Joe Phillips a 36-yarder.”It was a good day for the specialists group,” said Vroman, a senior out of Skyline High. “Spring was a little rough for us, but the first part of the camp we’ve definitely taken some steps forward.”Whittingham also said punter Sean Sellwood was back in action after sitting out earlier in the week and did a “nice job” punting the ball Thursday.”I’m very happy with the whole kicking battery,” said Whittingham. “It’s all way ahead of where we were in the spring.”NOT GOOD ENOUGH: While much of the focus has been on the offensive side of the ball, the defense has been improving each day of practice. However, new defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake was not happy with the defense at Thursday’s scrimmage.”The guys are energetic and running around, but we had too many missed assignments and too many missed tackles,” he said. “Nobody was great today. We were just good. But good is not good enough for this program.”Sitake said the defense did rest seven starters as a precaution, but he still expected more.”It was an opportunity for our inexperienced guys to get in there and play some ball and get some experience,” he said. “But it wasn’t clean enough and crisp enough. We had a lot of mistakes. We need to stay focused on our fundamentals and our technique. We’re anxious for the next time to go live.”ROBLES BACK: Lost amid all the talk about the three-way battle for quarterback is the return of Griff Robles, the highly recruited QB from Spanish Fork High School.The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Robles returned from an LDS mission in June and wasn’t expected to play this fall but was given the scholarship saved for James Aiono, who didn’t qualify academically for this fall.If Robles doesn’t get a chance at quarterback, he may have a future as a defender, a another former quarterback from Utah County, PaulKruger.Robles took some snaps at the end of Thursday’s scrimmage and after getting picked off by Thor Salanoa he laid out the defender with a hard tackle on the sideline.When asked about it later, Sitake said, “That was the hardest hit all day.”EXTRA POINTS: Rice-EcclesStadium will have two new banners on the west side of the stadium this year, commemorating the 2004 season and Fiesta Bowl victory and the 2008 season and SugarBowl victory … Jake Orchard, an all-state receiver for Highland in 2005, has joined the team as a walk-on after recently returning from an LDS mission. He was recruited out of high school by several schools for football but opted to accept a scholarship to play basketball for Weber State as a freshman … The next scrimmage will be Tuesday at the stadium with the final scrimmage set for Aug. 22.last_img read more

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