by Barca Blog - With conference champion LSU (41-15, 20-10 SEC) all but locked in for a national seed in the NCAA Tournament, Tigers head coach Paul Mainieri has decided to rest his top two starting pitchers for Wednesday's SEC Tournament opener against Vanderbilt.
Mainieri will opt to go with his No. 3 starter, Austin Ross (5-6, 5.07 ERA), instead of sophomore Anthony Ranaudo (7-3, 3.26 ERA) or senior Louis Coleman (10-2, 2.99 ERA), both candidates for SEC Pitcher of the Year.
Mainieri talked about his decision during today's SEC coaches teleconference.
"If we felt like if we were battling for our NCAA lives in order to make the NCAA Tournament, we'd probably approach it a little differently. I think with the NCAA waiting in the wings, it would be the prudent thing not to run your pitchers into the ground.
"I shouldn't say this, but some of the things that you might do in the regular season in a big series, you might not do in the tournament as far as turning a guy around and those types of things. I know, for example with us, Anthony Ranaudo has been our Friday night starter all year, but we are not going to pitch him in the first game (against Vanderbilt) simply because he has pitched two times in a row on short rest. This last time he pitched against Mississippi State, I think he threw 128 pitches, which was the most pitches he's thrown all year in a single game. We absolutely need to give him at least one extra day rest just to make sure he's feeling 100 percent.
"(Pitch count) is definitely taken into consideration, but at the same time, when we're out there on the field outside of those kind of decisions, we'll be doing everything we can do to win the game effort wise."