By Trey Mongrue
Less than a week after Jared Poché’s first taste of Southeastern Conference play did not go as planned, the LSU freshman pitcher got back on the mound last Saturday against Georgia and turned in the best performance of his career to date.
Matched up against fellow freshman pitcher Robert Tyler, Poché went a career long 8.2 innings and struck out six batters to win the pitchers duel and propel the Tigers to a 2-1 victory.
“I’ll sleep well knowing that Jared Poché is on our team,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri after the win. “I’ve been in this business a long time and I know what athletes are and I know what winners are and Jared is a winner.”
After holding the Bulldogs hitless for more than five innings, Poché ran into some trouble in the sixth inning after giving up a run and two hits. But in a very un-freshman-like manner, he stymied the Georgia offense for the rest of his outing to keep LSU’s one run lead intact.
“I’ll sleep well knowing that Jared Poché is on our team,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri.
After his stellar showing, DIG caught up with the LSU pitcher to talk about what had just transpired at Alex Box Stadium.
DIG: As a pitcher, do you get a certain feeling that you are about have a game like the one that you just had?
Jared Poché: After the first inning, I felt like I was getting stronger as the game kept going on. It felt like I could locate all my pitches and when you can do that, you feel like you have an opportunity to really help your team out.
DIG: What was your mindset in that sixth inning when they finally got a hit on you?
JP: It was a one run game for most of the night and I knew it was going to be pretty tough to get the win if I gave up more than one run in that situation, especially with the way their pitcher was throwing. I just tried to put it behind me and continue to try and keep their guys off base as much as I could.
DIG: In a game like that, does it almost help you that the score is so close and you can’t afford to make a mistake?
JP: Definitely. There is such a difference when pitching in a one run game and seven or eight run game. In games when the outcome is pretty much decided, no matter how much you try to stay focused, your mind tends to wander a little bit. In a game like the one [on Saturday night], you have to always keep your focus and it gives you an edge.
DIG: What did it mean to you when your coach showed enough confidence in you to pitch the ninth inning?
JP: Coach trusted me and told me that he thought I was getting better and better as the game was going on. I guess that is just is confidence in me and I appreciate that.
DIG: You got a nice standing ovation from the crowd when you finished your outing, how were you feeling at that point?
JP: That was remarkable. I cracked a little smile as I was walking back to the dugout. It was the best fans in the country tipping their hat to me, so it felt nice.
DIG: What does having a game like this in the beginning stages of SEC play do for your confidence going forward?
JP: It helps my confidence out a good bit, but someone once told me that you should never get too high and never get too low. So I just try to follow that mindset.