How do you get promoted to a Friday night starting in a college baseball conference that has seven teams ranked in the top 25 including Nos. 1 through 5?
You don’t allow an earned run for 31.1 consecutive innings like LSU junior right-hander Landon Marceaux’s current string.
It has been impressive enough for LSU coach Paul Mainieri to move Marceaux from a Saturday night starter to Friday night when the No. 22 ranked Tigers (16-5, 1-2 SEC) open a three-game SEC road series at No. 12 Tennessee (18-4, 2-1) Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT.
Mainieri confirmed his decision Thursday after strongly hinting on the Tiger Rag Radio weekly show Tuesday night that Marceaux would be making the move.
“He’s really been great,” said Mainieri of Marceaux, who’s 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA in 30 innings while recording 35 strikeouts limiting opponents to a .140 batting average. “He was our best pitcher all fall. He was our best pitcher in preseason. He’s been our best pitcher as we’ve gone into the season. He really deserves to be a Friday starter.”
Marceaux, a junior righthander from Destrehan, has clearly been the most consistent LSU pitcher with control and location of his pitches.
“It’s all about making big pitches in big situations,” Marceaux said.
The Tigers are hoping they don’t face the caliber of pitching they did in their SEC opening home series vs. No. 2 ranked Mississippi State. LSU scored just one run in losing the first two games before breaking loose a bit to win Sunday’s series-finale 8-3.
LSU is No. 1 in the SEC with 37 homers on the year, No. 3 in runs scored (164), No. 3 in RBI (152), No. 4 in base hits (204) and No. 4 in total bases (360).
The Volunteers pitching staff is No. 6 in the SEC in team ERA (3.16), limiting opponents to a .230 batting average and allowing 18 home runs.
Tennessee is No. 11 in the SEC in hitting with a .268 team batting average. The Vols have collected 38 doubles, eight triples, 22 homers and 25 stolen bases.
The Vols’ offensive spark is infielder Liam Spence, who is hitting .381 with six doubles, two triples, two homers, and 18 RBIs leads the SEC in base hits with 32. Infielder Jake Rucker is batting .338 with two doubles, one triple, three homers and 22 RBI, and outfielder Drew Gilbert is batting .329 with three doubles, five homers and 22 RBI.
Game 1 (Friday) 5:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network +
LSU – Jr. RH Landon Marceaux (2-1, 0.00 ERA, 30.0 IP, 6 BB, 35 SO)
UT – Jr. RH Chad Dallas (3-0, 4.70 ERA, 23.0 IP, 6 BB, 32 SO)
Game 2 (Saturday) 5 p.m. CT SEC Network +
LSU – Jr. RH Jaden Hill (2-2, 5.18 ERA, 24.1 IP, 6 BB, 17 SO)
UT – Sr. LH Will Heflin (2-1, 4.22 ERA, 21.1 IP, 4 BB, 24 SO)
Game 3 (Sunday) 12 p.m. CT SEC Network +
LSU – Jr. RH AJ Labas (1-0, 3.08 ERA, 26.1 IP, 4 BB, 30 SO)
UT – Fr. RH Blade Tidwell (3-0, 1.65 ERA, 27.1 IP, 7 BB, 27 SO)