Nola named opening-night starter
Sophomore will precede Eades in first two weekend series
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri announced Tuesday afternoon that Aaron Nola will lead off LSU’s first two weekends on the mound with Ryan Eades getting the starts in the second games of those weekends.
The coach gave three reasons for his decision. First, he feels Nola gives his team the best chance to win opening night.
“That’s usually the main reason why I make these decisions,” Mainieri said. “He started the opening game of the SEC Tournament. He started the opening game of the Regional. He started the opening game of the Super Regional so on that night when your players might have a little bit of nerves, I think Aaron is a great option because he’s going to come out and pound that strike zone, keep everybody on their toes and has a good chance of giving us a clean inning.”
Secondly, he chose Nola because he pitched better than Eades down the stretch last year. And finally, if Eades is to become a Friday night starter, the skipper wants him to earn it.
“I don’t think he’s earned it yet,” Mainieri said. “I do think he’s capable of earning it, and I may flip flop he and Nola by the third weekend if Eades has earned it. He won’t earn it if Nola falters. He’ll earn it by his performance, and in the end I wouldn’t mind seeing Ryan Eades be the Friday night starter.”
The reason Mainieri is waiting two weekends to reassess the roles as opposed to one is because LSU’s second weekend series of the year begins on Thursday - limiting the recovery time Eades would have if he were to pitch Feb. 16 vs. Maryland and then Feb. 21 vs. BYU.
Mainieri said he should have an announcement on who LSU’s third starter and closer will be Monday.
“I have a pretty good idea what we’ll do with the third starter, and the closer but I want to wait one more weekend before I announce for sure to again make sure nobody gets hurt and that I didn’t make the decision too hastily,” he said.