NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Following 121 pitches, 8 2/3 shutout innings and a career-best eight strikeouts, Jared Poche allowed himself to soak in the celebration of LSU's Regional Championship.
"I can't even describe what a feeling, walking off the field with all of those fans cheering, I couldn't help but to have a little grin," he said.
It was a stark contrast from his last outing, when he struggled throughout just one inning at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, ultimately allowing five runs. Head Coach Paul Mainieri explained his confidence in the sophomore.
"People wonder sometimes why coaches believe in certain kids," Manieri said. "Jared couldn't get out of the first inning last week at the SEC Tournament and he's had a couple of rough outings and people say 'why do you stick with Poche?' Because I know what this kid is made of. He's proven it time and time again.
SEC Freshman of the Year Alex Lange delivered a slightly better performance Saturday night but enjoyed watching Monday's from the dugout.
"That's the kind of pitching we need," Lange said. "This defense picked us up big time and our pitchers are going to pick up the offense when they're not on so great job this weekend Poche, he did an excellent job."
The reliable Tiger defense also picked up Poche with a few big plays throughout the game in timely situations.
"That's our mindset on defense, just try to get everything we can and try to be strong behind our starting pitching and relief pitching," junior shortstop Alex Bregman said after the game. "We want them to have confidence in us so that they can just throw the ball behind the plate and get outs that way. It's just an honor to play for LSU and that's how we approach it on defense, just try to leave it all out there on the line."
The Tigers will get ready to face UL-Lafayette in the Super Regional, a team they beat 8-6 on March 31.