LSU head baseball coach Paul Mainieri. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, April 04, 2013 7:09 PM
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri has decided, for now, on who will lead off when the Tigers host Kentucky in a three-game weekend Southeastern Conference series beginning tonight.
Who will finish on Sunday is still up in the air.
Sean McMullen will bat leadoff and be the designated hitter after responding with four hits and six RBIs since Mainieri gave him the opportunity a week ago.
But for the first time all season the Tigers go into the weekend with “TBA” as the scheduled starting pitcher for Sunday’s noon game.
As usual, Aaron Nola (4-0, 2.74 ERA) will start at 7 p.m. today against Kentucky left-hander A.J. Reed (2-3, 2.57). Ryan Eades (6-0, 1.35) will get the call Saturday against Wildcats left-hander Jerad Grundy (5-2, 2.15).
Left-hander Cody Glenn has started the final game of LSU’s three SEC series, and turned in one of the season’s better performances two weeks ago in an 8-2 victory over Auburn. But he was roughed up in his other two SEC starts, including last Sunday when he didn’t get out of the second inning while giving up five runs. LSU rallied to win 6-5. But it has Mainieri rethinking the Sunday spot in the rotation, although he hasn’t ruled out Glenn as an option.
If not Glenn (4-1, 3.38) the start could go to Brent Bonvillain, who rescued Glenn with 4 2/3 innings of hitless, scoreless relief.
Mainieri’s original season plan was for closer Chris Cotto( 1-0, 1.47) to be the Sunday starter, but only if he wasn’t needed in the first two games of a series. Cotton has been near perfect out of the bullpen with eight saves but hasn’t started a game yet, and Mainieri said he would prefer to keep him as the closer.
Another possibility might be Joey Bourgeois (2-0, 2.51), but again, he has been stellar as the setup man for Cotton and Mainieri would prefer not to fiddle with that.
LSU (27-2, 8-1 SEC), ranked No. 2 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll and No. 3 in Baseball America, has swept its last two SEC series and a win tonight would tie the 1986 team for the best start in school history. Kentucky (22-6, 6-3) is in second place in the SEC East. The Wildcats are ranked No. 9 in the Collegiate poll and No. 7 in Baseball America.