After losing All-American and SEC Pitcher of the Year Aaron Nola to the MLB draft, No. 1 LSU baseball was in need of a new ace. Within the first two months of the season, it seems as if the Tigers have found that in freshman Alex Lange.
Lange is penciled in as the second starter in the rotation behind Jared Poche, but soon enough LSU head coach Paul Mainieri might have to make a change. Through 45 innings, Lange has 58 strikeouts, a 1.20 ERA and a 5-0 record on the year. In his last 27 innings pitched, he has given up one earned run. His performance has already earned him a national player of the week and SEC Freshman of the week.
This dominance is nothing new to 6 foot 3 right-hander. While at Lee Summit West High School, he was named the 2014 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year and a Perfect Game All-American while posting a 12-0 record with a 0.82 ERA. On top of baseball excellence, Lange earned a 4.0 GPA in high school.
With his fastball hitting mid-90s and a devastating curveball that reaches the mid-80s, he keeps hitters guessing and has racked up strikeouts. Coach Mainieri has high praises for his young stud.
“Alex is the whole package,” Mainieri said. “He’s got good command, great mound presence, fields his position, and has poise to make big pitches. It’s gonna be exciting to watch him as he continues to go through his career.”
As great as Lange has been, a lot of credit needs to be given to his defense behind him. LSU shortstop Alex Bregman is an All-American and former NCAA Freshman of the Year with gold glove-esque fielding. His outfielders consists of three players who could start at center field on just about any team in the nation. The Tigers also lead the conference in batting average, among many other offensive categories, which allows Lange to relax while on the mound.
Lange’s next appearance will likely be during a three game series against rival Alabama Crimson Tide starting April 2. All three of those games will be broadcasted on the SEC Network+, which can be accessed through WatchESPN.
*Section Photo credit to Associated Press; Featured Photo (above) credit to Angela Major, Baton Rouge Advocate