Holt breakout performance a good sign for Tigers

LSU fans have seen this before.<br><br>A hitter who has not had an outstanding year comes of age and leads the team throughout the post-season.

In 1993, little known outfielder Jim Greely was one of the driving forces behind the Tigers second national title. Greely hit .471 (8-17) with two home runs and seven RBI's in the College World Series for the Tigers.

It was Tom Bernhardt's turn in 1997. The senior outfielder hit .615 (8-13) with a home run and drove in five runs helping the Tigers win their second consecutive national title.

Fast forward to 2003. Sophomore outfielder J.C. Holt, who was hitting .279 coming into NCAA Tournament play, had a career day in the Tigers' opener against Northeastern.

Holt tied a career high with four hits and set new career highs with two home runs and five runs batted in an 11-8 opening round victory over Northeastern.

Husky head coach Neil McPhee wasn't surprised with Holt's performance.

"When you play a team like LSU you expect one through nine do play like that," McPhee said. "(Holt) had a great game. He went the other way twice. He's as good as anybody we've seen."

Northeastern starter Justin Hedrick said Holt was just on throughout the game.

"He knew what pitch I was going to throw before I through it," Hedrick said.

Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Aaron Hill was happy to see Holt play well.

"I was just watching J.C. Holt play. He was my inspiration today." Hill said.

Holt was pleased with his performance at the plate and surprised by the power output.

"There's not really much to say," Holt said. "I had four hits so it was a big day, but I mean I wasn't expecting two home runs. I thought that maybe I would get a double or two and a bunch of singles, because most people don't expect that kind of power output from me, but the wind was blowing out a little bit and I was able to stay on the ball."

One of the major changes Holt made was a more patient approach to the plate and it paid dividends for the centerfielder.

"Today, the only thing that I did differently was that I tried to slow everything down and I kind of walked up to the plate. And even after an out or a hit, I would go up there and just slow everything up," Holt said.

LSU head coach Smoke Laval said it was a good sign to see Holt hitting the ball the other way.

"That is when you know that we're on as a team," Laval said. "J.C. took the ball the other way; Clayton (Harris) took the ball the other way. When we're hitting that way, you know we're dangerous."

With Quinn Stewart suffering a left ankle sprain in warm-ups, Holt, who hadn't hit against left-handers late in the season, may see significant playing time the rest of the post-season.

"Coach knew I had been struggling during the year and decided to let me just hit against right-handed pitchers, but I just have to be ready every game to go out there and contribute.

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