Last Modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:39 PM
Rest assured, Aaron Nola will not throw a complete game this week.
That’s because the LSU ace won’t throw a game at all.
Head coach Paul Mainieri said Monday that he will sit Nola for the final regular season series against Ole Miss at home so that he can rest for the postseason, which begins next week with the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala.
Nola (10-0, 1.99) had thrown four straight complete games, then threw the first six innings of last Friday’s win against Texas A&M before rain forced that game to be halted and resumed the next morning. LSU is 13-0 in Nola’s starts this season.
Mainieri has said that the long outings weren’t a concern since Nola didn’t throw more than 112 pitches in any of his complete games, two of which were shutouts.
Nola did tell reporters after his last start that at the end of those six innings he was more tired than he had been all season.
Mainieri insisted there is nothing wrong with Nola. LSU has already clinched its second straight West division title and has no chance of catching Vanderbilt for the overall SEC championship or changing its No. 2 seeding for the SEC tournament.
The top four seeds will sit out the first day of the tournament a week from today, while the other eight that make it will play single-elimination play-in games.
Presumably, Mainieri also thinks the Tigers (45-7, 21-6 SEC), who moved up to No. 2 nationally in the Baseball America poll this week, are a lock to get one of the coveted eight national seeds for the NCAA tournament.
Before taking on the Rebels, the Tigers will play their final midweek game of the season tonight at home against New Orleans (7-40), televised beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Cox Sports.
LSU will start seldom-used freshman Hunter Newman (1-0, 2.63) against the Privateers.
Thursday’s Ole Miss game will be televised on ESPNU and the Friday and Saturday games on Cox Sports.
The likely starters for the Ole Miss series are Cody Glenn, Ryan Eades and Kurt McCune, although Mainieri said he hopes to get all 11 of his pitchers some work in the series.
There are some items still out there on the to-do list for the regular season. The Tigers need just one win in this week’s four games to set a school record for the most victories in a regular season. They are currently tied at 45 with the 1986 and 1997 clubs. Two wins against Ole Miss would also give LSU its best-ever SEC win total. The 1986 and 1997 teams both won 22. Also, winning two games this week would keep LSU in single-digit losses for the first time since college baseball went to a 56-game regular season (the school’s last was a 10-6 record in 1951).
LSU moved up to No. 2 in the Baseball America poll after previous No. 1 North Carolina lost two of three at Georgia Tech over the weekend.
Vanderbilt (45-6, 24-2) took over the top spot in all of them, but only Baseball America also moved LSU ahead of the Tar Heels (45-6).