Javen Coleman starting for LSU against Louisiana Tech as Jay Johnson looks for pitching staff rebound to begin tonight

LSU starting pitcher Javen Coleman throws a pitch in LSU baseball's 27-5 run-rule victory over VMI. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU baseball’s pitching was its strength for the first few weeks of the season, but the wheels fell off against Mississippi State this weekend.

The Tigers will have to rebound against a tough Louisiana Tech team while keeping an eye on its upcoming series with Florida.

“[Louisiana Tech] is a very good team. I think they have like 16 wins already or something like that,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “That’ll be a good challenge. They have a lot of good players.”

Javen Coleman is starting tonight for LSU (17-4, 1-2 SEC) against Louisiana Tech. Coleman has two starts on the season and a 2-0 record. He has a 2.84 ERA through 12.2 innings pitched with 16 strikeouts and eight walks. His last start came in LSU’s 18-10 win over Stony Brook. He has made two appearances out of the bullpen this season. Most recently he went 3.0 innings against North Dakota State and only allowed one hit.

Caden Copeland will start for Louisiana Tech (16-5). He has a 3-1 record on the season and a 4.08 ERA through 17.2 innings pitched with 18 strikeouts and six walks. His last start came in a 9-5 loss to UL. He went 2.1 innings and allowed seven hits and six runs. Louisiana Tech’s pitching staff has recorded 208 strikeouts in 186 innings with a 4.65 ERA.

Louisiana Tech is coming off a three-game sweep of Northwestern State last weekend. The Bulldogs had lost five of their last six games before that series. They started the season 12-0 before the six-game skid.

Louisiana Tech is hitting .309 as a team this season with 52 doubles, four triples and 21 home runs. Ethan Bates leads the team in batting average with a .391. He also has 11 doubles, four homers and 32 RBI this season. Cole McConnell is hitting .384 with seven doubles, six homers and 31 RBI.

Kade Anderson has been LSU’s go-to midweek pitcher for the last few weeks. He started three-straight midweek games before tonight against Rice, Southeastern Louisiana and North Dakota State. Anderson has a 1.04 ERA this season with 27 strikeouts and eight walks through 17.1 innings pitched.

Last week, Johnson hinted that Anderson might start being more involved in the weekend series LSU plays. Anderson was pulled after just 2.2 innings against the Bison and Johnson was asked after the game if it was to save him for the weekend.

“He’s one of our best pitchers so why not have one of your best pitchers available,” Johnson said. “And if we don’t use him then we’ll roll him to next Tuesday. I thought he was solid. I don’t think he was as sharp as he was last week, but there’s one run on the board with almost three innings done and I’ll take that for an entire career out of a pitcher.”

Anderson came in to pitch in LSU’s 9-8 win over Mississippi State this weekend, but he only went 0.2 innings before being pulled for Christian Little.

The plan could be the same for Coleman with a big series against Florida looming on the weekend. If Coleman is pulled early, it might make him available to pitch this weekend.

“Winning and losing starts and ends on the mound,” Johnson said. “I do not think we pitched well. I think there’s a lot of things that are correctible that we need to go back and look at and do. We already started doing that.”

If Anderson doesn’t pitch any Tuesday night, it would mean he’s available for the weekend and he could see a few more innings as Johnson looks to improve the pitching from last weekend’s series.

“There’s a few guys we need to push up the chart a little bit,” Johnson said. “They have more talent than where they’re at right now. It’s our job to help them get that out of them. The pitching roster for the weekend is very fluid right now and that’s not a bad thing that’s a good thing. We need to go back to the drawing board a little bit and make sure we’re pulling the best out of each guy.”

LSU and Louisiana Tech start tonight at 6:30 p.m. The game can be streamed on SEC Network+.

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