Strasburg or Lavigne? Gwynn won't say right now
SAN DIEGO (AP) -Stephen Strasburg or Tyler Lavigne?
One of those junior right-handers will start San Diego State's NCAA regional game against ACC champion Virginia on Friday afternoon at UC Irvine.
Beyond that, coach Tony Gwynn is keeping everything on a need-to-know basis - and he doesn't think outsiders need to know right now.
"Be there and you will find out,'' Gwynn said at a news conference on Wednesday. "We are in a position of strength here in that we know. When you need to find out, you'll know.''
Fans might not find out until they see who's warming up in the bullpen before the game. Gwynn doesn't have to make anything official until he takes the lineup card out to home plate.
Strasburg's electrifying fastballs, which sometimes hit triple digits on the radar gun, have carried him to a 13-0 record. He leads the nation with a 1.24 ERA and 180 strikeouts. He's walked only 19 in 102 innings. Strasburg was the only amateur player on last summer's U.S. Olympic team that won the bronze medal and likely will be the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft.
Lavigne is much less famous, but good enough to merit consideration for San Diego State's first regional game since 1991.
"Everybody wants to know,'' said Gwynn, a Hall of Famer who played for SDSU and then spent 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres. "TV thinks they should know, opposing teams think they should know. We don't think they should know. We're doing what's best for San Diego State. We're going up there to win. We're not going up there just to make an appearance for the first time in 18 years. Whatever situation puts San Diego State in the best position to win, that's what we're going to do.''
Gwynn said he and pitching coach Rusty Filter discussed the situation for about 20 minutes on Wednesday morning.
"Honestly, we haven't decided yet. You try to get your scouting reports, you try to look at rosters, try to look at matchups, try to look at what kind of success they've had, who've they've played.
"Obviously Stephen's our horse, but I think we can win with Tyler Lavigne,'' Gwynn said. "We'll see. My mind isn't made up on it. I know Stephen wants the ball. Tyler Lavigne wants the ball, too. Again, it's about trying to set it up so it puts us in the best position to win.''
Strasburg said he doesn't have a preference whether he pitches Friday or Saturday.
"We're going to have to win at least two games. Whichever game I pitch in, I'm going to give it everything I have,'' he said. "I'm confident with the other pitchers that we have and the hitters that we have. If we play our best baseball, we should get the job done.''
The Aztecs are in perhaps the toughest bracket. The second game Friday is between defending national champion Fresno State and UC Irvine, which is No. 1 in most polls.
If the Aztecs win the opener, they would need only two more victories in the double-elimination format to win the regional. If they lose the opener, they would have to win four games in three days to win the regional.
Lavigne is 7-2 with a 3.32 ERA.
"He's thrown the ball great,'' Gwynn said. "Our pitchers have done a super job. Stephen gets a lot of the attention, but in any other year, Tyler and Addison Reed would be the story.''
Reed, a sophomore, leads the nation with 19 saves and has a 0.68 ERA.
The Aztecs (40-21) received an at-large berth after losing twice to Utah in the championship round of the Mountain West Conference tournament.
"Obviously we have to play our best baseball,'' Strasburg said. "We've played 61 games so far this year and I think we're still yet to have played our best game. We need to go out there and play loose and really learn from what happened in the conference tournament championship. I thought at some points as a team we were playing not to lose instead of playing to win, and that's what we're going to go and do this weekend.''
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