After much speculation, Coach Paul Mainieri announced on Sunday afternoon that Sr RHP Russell Reynolds would get the nod in LSU’s first game of the 2017 College World Series. Reynolds (1-1, 8.59 ERA, 14.2 IP/ 14 App, 12 K/11 BB) was used sparingly in a relief role this season, including 1 inning in the Monday loss to Oregon St last week. It will be Reynolds first start since 2015, and very likely the first of a parade of arms as LSU tries to patch the first game together while the aces get their needed rest.
“We’re going to count on Russell’s experience as a fifth-year senior,” Mainieri said in a released statement. “He’s pitched very well the last few times out, and we feel like he gives us the best chance to get us off to a good start.” When asked by the Advocate about possibly starting Fr RHP Todd Peterson (3-1, 4.19 ERA, 22 App, 3 GS, 34.1IP, 21 K, 16 BB) Mainieri said he “has a tender arm and just isn't himself right now."
As for the rest of the series, Jared Poché will be starting Game 2 and Alex Lange will start the if necessary Game 3 on Wednesday on four days rest. Mainieri explained the strategy this way:
What I'm basically doing is working our way backwards. 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.
Therefore, we played on Friday and I was able to throw Alex Lange on Friday, whereas [UF Head Coach] Kevin couldn't throw [Alex] 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. So knowing that I wouldn't pitch him until Wednesday if the if-necessary game is played, the thought for me was, well, if we're going to do that, we might as well give Poché five days' rest. So he's going to pitch on Tuesday.
So we just -- for Lange to pitch, we have to win one of the first two games. And I just feel in my heart that it's the right thing to do. He's first-round draft choice, a long career ahead of him. He's never pitched on three days' rest before so I don't know how effective he would be.
I want to do everything in my power to make sure that he leaves our program healthy for the Chicago Cubs. So, again, because I'm not going to pitch him until Wednesday, I feel like Poché can get an extra day rest that way as well.
As for the Gators, UF will start So. RHP Brady Singer (8-5, 3.18 ERA, 119.0 IP, 30 BB, 117 SO) on Monday.
Kevin O’Sullivan : Right now we'll go obviously Singer tomorrow. And then on Tuesday, depending on how the game goes tomorrow, maybe Dyson or even Michael Byrne [So, RHP, 4-5, 1.74 ERA, 72.1 IP, 36 App, 3 GS, 15 BB, 91 SO]for that matter. We're kind of shorthanded there. But both guys are capable.
And like I said, with Zach Hess's emergence out of the pen for Paul, same thing can be said for us with Tyler Dyson [Fr, RHP, 3-0, 3.55 ERA, 23 App, 1 GS, 33.0 IP, 8 BB, 45 K]. He went five strong innings against a really good Wake Forest hitting team in the Super Regional. We feel like we can start him if we don't need to use him tomorrow night.
You can hear the coaches and a few select players discuss the series and Kramer Robertson’s hair (Even he hates it now) in this video of Sunday’s press conference.