Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 9:46 PM
LSU’s Paul Mainieri is the first to admit that he’s as big a scoreboard watcher as the average fan.
But there’s no real reason for the second-ranked Tigers to even glance at the rest of the action while playing No. 23 Ole Miss in the final weekend of the Southeastern Conference regular season.
LSU (46-7, 21-6 SEC) clinched the SEC Western Division title and cannot catch Vanderbilt for the overall conference championship. For that matter, the Tigers will be the No. 2 seed (with a first-round bye) for next week’s SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala., and nothing that happens this weekend can change that.
A lot can still happen for Ole Miss (35-18, 14-13). If the season ended today, the Rebels would be the No. 5 seed. They would have to sweep LSU and have South Carolina get swept by Mississippi State to improve that. But Ole Miss, which hasn’t won a series in Baton Rouge in 21 years, could drop as low as No. 7.
All three games will be televised.
Mainieri insists the Tigers will take the final three games seriously, but he’s already announced that staff ace Aaron Nola will sit out the weekend to rest up for the postseason, and he’s said he wants all 11 of the other pitchers on the roster to see action at some point.
Mainieri said Nola will start LSU’s opening game in the SEC tournament on Wednesday, which would give him at least another nine days before his next start in the NCAA tournament.
LSU has also clinched the most regular-season wins in school history. One victory over Ole Miss would assure LSU finishes the regular season with single-digit defeats for the first time in a 56-game regular season schedule, which the NCAA adopted in 1992.
“We know that this season will be ultimately judged by how we do in the postseason,” Mainieri said after Tuesday night’s 11-2 win over New Orleans. “So we have to continue to raise our game to a higher level.”
LSU won three of four against the Rebels last year, including two of three in Oxford and an elimination game in the SEC tournament.
“We’re certainly looking forward to the series with Ole Miss. They have a very talented team,” Mainieri said. “We’ve had some
tremendous games with them over the years and we always enjoy competing against them.”
Today — LSU, LH Cody Glenn (5-2, 2.78 ERA) vs. Ole Miss, RH Mike Mayers (4-4, 2.87).
Friday— LSU, RH Kurt McCune (3-1, 3.38) vs. Ole Miss, RH Sam Smith, (3-0, 3.15 ERA).
Saturday — LSU, RH Ryan Eades (8-1, 2.29) vs. Ole Miss, RH Bobby Wahl (9-0, 1.43).