The major shift was sophomore JaCoby Jones moving from center field back into second base, where he started all 56 games in 2011. The trickle-down effect moved Casey Yocom – the starter at second in the first nine games – to designated hitter and opened a spot for freshman Chris Sciambra to make his first career start in center field.
“Yocom has been very steady, but he does have some limited range,” Mainieri said. “JaCoby showed us last year he has extraordinary range in the field.”
Friday’s moves came after Mainieri juggled the batting order earlier in the week, moving freshman Jared Foster to leadoff and Jones to the two-hole. Foster was there again and made his first career defensive start in left field.
In three starts from the top of the order, Foster is 5-for-15 and has scored 7 runs.
Where did Slaid go?
Sophomore Jackson Slaid was out of the starting lineup for the third game in a row, but he could return Saturday.
Slaid missed the two mid-week games with the flu and Mainieri said he wanted the outfielder/DH to rest one more day before putting him back in the lineup.
In seven games (six starts), Slaid is hitting .273 with a double, triple and 3 RBIs.
As hot as Mason Katz is right now – and he’s torrid, going 10-for-10 in a three-game span – his willingness to wait for the best hittable pitch has also been a bonus.
During his streak of reaching base safely 17 straight times, Katz has walked six times (at least twice in each game) to increase his season total to nine free passes this season. That matches his total in 51 games and 209 plate appearances all of last season.
“I’ll take my walks,” he said. “I’m learning to do that.”
Thanks in part to the walks, Katz’s on-base percentage is .651, which leads the team.
Baranik back Monday
Freshman pitcher Carson Baranik has been cleared to return to practice Monday after missing the last four weeks overall and three weeks of the season following an arrest for driving under the influence in February.
The right-hander has handled “a lot of things he had to” with the university’s student affairs department and legally.
Mainieri said he hasn’t decided how quickly the hard-throwing Bossier City native – a 41st-round pick by Cincinnati in last year’s Major League Baseball Draft – will work back into the bullpen rotation.
Welcome back, Ty
Catcher Ty Ross was hitless in his last 13 at-bats before Friday’s game, but broke out of his funk with 3 hits in his first three at-bats.
Ross’ average jumped from .273 to .360 and he added his 5th RBI with a sacrifice fly in the 7th.
“I’ve been hitting the ball on the screws and have been confident in the box,” Ross said. “Baseball evens itself out. I knew I’d go up there and get a couple of good hits if I kept swinging the way I was.”
Around the horn
Three Tigers had three hits Friday – Katz, Ross and Raph Rhymes – which makes sense because that trio tops LSU with multi-hit games this season, Katz with six and Ross and Rhymes with four apiece. In the last three games, 10 hitters have produced games with three or more hits. … In his last three official at-bats, senior Grant Dozar has produced two triples and a double and has scored after each hit. The two triples match his career total in 200 career ABs in his first three seasons. … Kevin Gausman allowed 10 hits Friday, which equals the most he has allowed in 17 career starts. On a positive note, he did not walk a batter Friday – his second start in a row without issuing one – and he has logged 17.1 consecutive frames without doling out a free pass. … Nick Goody made his fifth appearance of the season Friday and all have been scoreless. He has thrown 6 innings total with 7 strikeouts and no walks. … In the last three games, the Tigers are hitting .400 as a team (48-of-120). ... The top three hitters in Dartmouth's batting order (Joe Sclafani, Thomas Roulis, Chris O'Dowd) were a combined 0-for-13 Friday. The rest of the batting order was 10-for-23, with four hitters collecting two hits and five of those six producing a double.