The 2015 campaign got off on the right foot as a steady effort on the mound and a minimal amount of offensive fireworks let the Tigers cruise to a 4-1 win over the Jayhawks on opening night. Jared Poche' began his sophomore year with a steady 6 IP, notching 5 Ks and only 1 walk. He seemed to have really good control of his pitches early on and looks like he will indeed be the confident anchor of the starting rotation that LSU needs this year. His play was backed up by a monster 3 run home run by Kade Scivicque that landed 3 or 4 rows up in the left field bleachers. I had been hearing reports of the new ball flying out of parks all over the country on opening day, and it was nice to have it happen at LSU as well. Scivicque's shot did lead to a few Tiger batters trying for their own long ball and falling short, but I'm optimistic that they'll get back to the plan in the next game. Mark Laird remains amazingly fast as he and Alex Bregman each had a stolen base.
After Poche's night ended, we got to see sidewinder Collin Strall in relief and he had Kansas flummoxed. Having a talent like that to bring in as a setup man for the main relief will come in very handy this year and I can even see him improving to longer relief roles as his career continues. Zac Person, who is indeed using the Jermaine Stewart classic as his walkout song, gave up the lone run last night, though I think the defense behind him may have put it in cruise control a little early as a long lined double to deep center scored a runner from 1st that Person put on with a walk. To close the night, Coach Mainieri stuck to his announced script and let Freshman Jesse Stallings have his debut. After giving up a lead off double, Stallings settled in to wipe out the remaining side with impressive fastball pitching that the Kansas batters had no answer for. We'll see how the rest of the weekend goes, but Stallings has the early lead for most impressive freshman debut.
Game 2 is at 2pm on the SECN+ digital feed. We'll see the 1st of LSU's highly touted freshaman arms as RHP Alex Lange faces impressive JUCO transfer Jr. LHP Ben Krauth (9-2, 0.52 ERA, 103.2 IP, 116 SO in JUCO in 2014)