NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Every year when the college baseball season enters conference play, particularly in the SEC, those big offensive numbers come back down to Earth. No one's seen that more than LSU, who's out to an uncharacteristic 4-5 start in the league.
What does that mean for this weekend when second-ranked Vanderbilt comes to town? The Tigers' arms on the mound need to be spot on.
"The pitching staff we faced this weekend will be tougher than the pitching staff we faced last week," says head coach Paul Mainieri. "Alex (Lange) has to go into this game knowing that he'll have to win a 2-1 ballgame, and he knows that. This is the way these games generally are."
Through three SEC series, Lange's been a bit up and down. He was great against Alabama to start conference play until he gave up four earned runs in the seventh inning and picked up the first loss of career. Then he responded with an extremely gutsy performance in a hostile Texas A&M environment with limited run support. He struck out 11 in the Tigers lone victory in College Station.
However, against Auburn last week, the opposing Tigers got to Lange early and often. He surrendered seven earned runs in the loss, which begs the question: What's his mentality going into this week?
The answer remains as calm and casual as you would expect from the sophomore, who has always maintained a level head on the mound, as well.
"I'm not going to go out there and try to be someone I'm not," says Lange. "I don't have a new pitch to throw this weekend. I don't have a new delivery this weekend. I'm just going to go back out there and get back to the basics and get back to what's made me successful."
But he'll have to wait until Friday. Coming off another short week of rest, junior Jared Poche (3-3, 2.38 ERA) will start against Vanderbilt on Thursday.