By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
In sports, it’s said the best laid gameplan still doesn’t survive a punch to the jaw. Well that goes double whenever Mother Nature is involved.
LSU announced Thursday that the Tigers and Kentucky will play a double header Friday due to severe weather in the forecast for Saturday. The first game will start at 1 p.m. CT with game two tentatively set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday’s series final remains as originally scheduled.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri and his Kentucky counterpart, Nick Mingione, were in contact throughout Thursday morning regarding options.
Both felt that the best option was to play two games Friday instead of Sunday — particularly Mainieri since LSU will play a Thursday-Saturday series next weekend. But in order to make that happen, both sides needed to get a waiver from the Southeastern Conference office.
“We both agreed that the best thing would be to play the double header on the front end,” Mainieri said. “The problem was we needed Southeastern Conference approval to do that, because it specifically says in the bylaws that you can’t do that unless the Commissioner gives approval to do that.”
Once SEC communications chief Herb Vincent informed Mainieri that the league office had signed off, the coach made some slight adjustments to LSU’s travel plans.
Given the change in time zone and the fact that LSU will have to play 18 innings tomorrow afternoon, Mainieri opted to pass on the chance to practice at Kentucky’s field Tuesday night. Instead, he backed up the team’s charter flight and hour to allow him team to get in a quick practice at Alex Box Stadium.
“It caused for a lot of last-second chaos logistically for our team,” Mainieri said. “But we weren’t going to be able to practice until 8 p.m. tonight, so rather than practicing from 8-10 and then having to put the tarp on their field and not getting back to the hotel until 11, I figured let’s just get some work in here. Then when we get to the hotel, the kids can rest.”
As far as how the move affects LSU’s pitching plan, Mainieri said Alex Lange and Jared Poche’ will still pitch the first two games, though he was unsure if what order pending a conversation with Alan Dunn.
“The same three guys will start, of course,” he said, referring to Lange, Poche’ and Eric Walker. “But I’m just not sure what order.”