For Mark Laird the adjustment to college baseball has been quite the process. Laird, who stands at 6-1 and 172 pounds, had a great senior season at 1A Ouachita Christian (Monroe, La), batting .474.
While he has the ability to hit, Paul Mainieri is hoping that Laird makes the proper adjustments so that he can contribute for the Tigers with his game-changing speed. The LSU freshman outfielder explained that the adjustment to college baseball began shortly after wrapping up his high school career.
"It's a big adjustment from when I played for a small high school," said Laird. "Because of that I have had to come out here and work harder on every aspect of my game to make an impact. I started that process right after my high school season ended."
Aside from getting used to the rigorous schedule that college baseball presents, Laird explained that his adjustment to the college game is going very well.
"In the outfield, I had to learn to cover more ground because the field is a lot bigger," said Laird. "I had to adjust to better pitching, and I have done that after having faced our staff throughout the fall."
"I feel like I have made the appropriate adjustments and I hope they pay off once the season starts."
Even though Mainieri has yet to name the starters at the two open outfield positions, Laird has already figured out what he would like to get out of the 2013 season.
"I'm just working to get better this year," said Laird. "Coming from high school and getting into big-time college baseball, I have a lot to improve on."
Laird believes that he has adjusted to the physical demands of college baseball. However, he realizes that he still has a lot to learn about the game, whether it is in practice or in a game.
"I really have to learn to handle every aspect of the game at a college level, so that is what I'm working on this spring," said Laird. "If I can do that in a game then I will be excited, but if not, I will definitely work on it in practice."
Coach Mainieri has made it very clear that the candidates for the open outfield spots are Laird, Andrew Stevenson, Sean McMullen, and Chris Sciambra. Because of that competition, Laird believes he has gotten better as a player while also being able to enjoy the game.
"It has been a lot of competition for those other two outfield spots," said Laird. "We are all very competitive guys, so it's been a lot of fun going up against them every day. That's what the game is about and we have all worked very hard to achieve our goals. The ones that coach feels best about will play out there."
With Laird possessing game-changing speed, he has focused on improving another aspect of his game so that he can use his speed to contribute for the Tigers.
"I think I need to adjust hitting-wise so that I can use my speed to contribute to the team this season," said Laird. "I think I can make an impact on defense with my speed because I have the ability to track down a lot of balls in the outfield."
Laird making adjustments
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