Poche' Follows His Dreams to LSU
Communications Graduate Assistant
Jared Poche' took the mound in Game 2 of the 2015 NCAA Super Regional at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field with one goal in mind—put zeroes on the board.
It was all he would have to do to pitch his team to Omaha. Toeing the rubber for the Tigers and taking that victory lap around “The Box” was a dream for Poche’ who grew up in LSU’s backyard approximately 45 minutes away from Baton Rouge in Lutcher, La.
He fired 7.2 innings and limited the Ragin’ Cajuns to one run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts and rushed the field with his teammates after the final out was made, and the Tigers were heading to Omaha.
“Going around for the victory lap is something I will never forget,” Poche’ explained. “It was surreal and a dream come true.”
It was a dream that started as a young child when Jared was around six years old when Kevin Shipp, a pharmaceutical representative and member of the 1996 and 1997 LSU College World Series championship teams, walked into his father’s office and offered to teach Jerry’s sons how to pitch.
Shipp lined up the Poche’ boys, and despite the four-year age gap between Jared and his two older brothers, six-year-old Jared made sure he held his own, taking in every piece of information he could, even though the clinic was not necessarily geared toward the younger Poche’ boy.
“It’s the way LSU would do it,” Jared uttered from a young age.
He was always following in his older brothers’ footsteps. He would trail them to a little corner lot and always would try to hang with them competitively.
“And he hung,” his mother, Tess, attested.
Poche’ started pitching competitively when he was nine years old, and when he was in the seventh grade, he needed another tool, a third pitch.
His brother Corey took him into their front yard and taught him how to throw a changeup, and it was history from there. Pitching became his niche through simple practice and countless hours spent in the yard.
“My older brother taught me different pitches, and having my two older brothers around really pushed me to want to be an all-around better athlete,” Poche’ explained.
Baseball was not Poche’s only focus, however. In Lutcher, football is everything, and Poche’ took the field as one of Lutcher High School’s quarterbacks.
One day after a high school football game during Poche’s sophomore year, Jared and his father traveled up to Baton Rouge where Jared was scheduled to participate in a baseball camp at “The Box.”
“I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” Poche’ told his father.
He was sore and didn’t have time to practice his pitching with football being his main focus at that time.
After participating, LSU head coach Paul Mainieri invited Poche’ and his father into his office and offered him a scholarship to play baseball at the school of his dreams, surprising both Jared and his father.
“We didn’t have a clue that was going to happen,” Jerry said. “I was so proud.”
It was the only offer that Poche’ needed as he verbally committed after the office visit, quitting football after his junior year to put his entire focus on his future baseball career.
As a high school senior, Poche’ was named the 2013 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year after wrapping up his career with 33 wins and a state championship.
Poche’ quickly worked his way into LSU’s starting rotation, pitching behind Aaron Nola during his freshman campaign when he was named a 2014 Freshman All-American and was named to the 2014 SEC All-Tournament Team.
For the past two years, Poche’ has spent opening night on the mound for the Tigers, solidifying his spot as the Friday night guy. With his win against Fordham earlier this season, Poche’ notched his 20th career win, making him the fourth 20-win pitcher under Mainieri, joining the likes of Jared Bradford, Louis Coleman and Nola.
Poche’ won’t mention his honors, a man of few words as nothing phases him. The humble southpaw’s mentality is always onto the next one.
“Even though he’s won a bunch of accolades in high school and in college, it doesn’t faze him much,” his father explained. “One day when everything is done, then he might talk about it.”