OMAHA, Neb — The stage is set for the College World Series Championship but the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers’ pitching rotations are far from it.
“I’m going to let Kevin pick our starter tomorrow,” LSU manager Paul Mainieri joked on Sunday.
LSU lost its second game of the tournament, and had to play its way out of the loser’s bracket. Florida’s pitching staff was set up perfectly before they stumbled against TCU on Friday, forcing the “if necessary” game on Saturday where they burned Alex Faedo.
The two teams will take different approached. Brady Singer (8-5, 3.18) will start Monday after he was fantastic in his lone start in Omaha. He scattered six hits over seven scoreless innings to earn the win over Louisville. LSU will try to piece together a combination of pitchers on Monday. Freshman RHP Todd Peterson (3-1, 4.19 ERA), freshman LHP Nick Bush (1-1, 3.92 ERA) and senior RHP Hunter Newman (1-1, 2.73 ERA) are all potential options.
Singer threw against LSU in the second weekend of SEC play. It was his first career complete game, allowing just six hits and one run.
“I think we’re both vastly different than we were,” LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson said. “Both teams are playing a lot better than we were at that point in the year.”
LSU will throw Jared Poché (12-3, 3.33 ERA) in the second game of the CWS Final. Florida, like LSU in game one, will have to piece something together. In Kevin O’Sullivan’s perfect world Brady Singer would be able to throw a complete game or get into the seventh or eight innings before handing the ball off to Michael Byrne. That would allow him to start freshman Tyler Dyson (3-0, 3.55) on Tuesday night.
“[Dyson] went five strong innings against a really good Wake Forest hitting team in the Super Regional,” O’Sullivan said. “We feel like we can start him if we don’t need to use him (Monday) night.”
If Florida and LSU split the first two games and make it to Wednesday the advantage goes back to LSU. The Tigers would have their ace, Alex Lange (10-5, 2.97 ERA) on the mound on four days rest. The Gators would likely start Jackson Kowar (12-1, 4.15 ERA) on short rest as well.
“I think we have a little advantage over Florida in the sense that we started the tournament on Saturday and they started it on Sunday,” Mainieri said. “Therefore, we played on Friday and I was able to throw Alex Lange on Friday, whereas Kevin couldn’t throw Faedo until Saturday. Because of that, I’m not going to bring Lange back until he has four days’ rest. So the earliest he’ll pitch will be next Wednesday.”
Kevin O’Sullivan wouldn’t rule out his ace, Alex Faedo, but after throwing 115 pitches on Saturday Faedo would be used only in an “if necessary game” and he would be on a very strict pitch count, coming on just three days of rest.