With competition heating up for the remaining open spots in the lineup for LSU in 2013, the outfield only has one set starter at this point. Coach Paul Mainieri has raved about the competition he has seen from his players for the two open spots. Freshman Andrew Stevenson proved very quickly that he could contribute for the Tigers, after having a fairly productive fall.
The 6-0 177 pound Stevenson explained that the adjustment to college baseball is a work in progress. It is certainly much more different than his days at St. Thomas More High School, where he hit .546 as a senior.
"It was a little tough adjusting to the college game at first," said Stevenson. "The biggest thing was adjusting to seeing the best arm that you would see all year in high school, every day in college."
"I really had to get used to failure a little bit more and embrace it. It has made me a better player. It's taken some time, but I'm starting to get the hang of things."
Stevenson explained that his first fall for LSU taught him a lot about what is demanded of a player in college baseball. While it had some ups and downs, Stevenson said that he had a decent fall for the most part.
"The fall started off well for me," said Stevenson. "I did hit a little bit of a low spot about halfway through it, but I changed things up to get back on track. I really used the fall to get used to college and the difference in competition."
With other outfielders such as Chris Sciambra, Sean McMullen, and Mark Laird competing with him for the open outfield spots, Stevenson explained that the competition has been a great learning experience.
"We come out here every day and work as hard as we can to try to earn a spot," said Stevenson. "That's all you can ask for. All of us have done that and the competition has been great."
"It's been fun getting the chance to push these guys to work hard while they do the same thing for me. All in all, this is benefitting all of us and it will only make us better baseball players."
While he realizes that only two players can be chosen for the open spots, Stevenson knows that he will get his chance at some point to prove what he can do in an LSU uniform.
"It would be awesome to share the outfield with any of the other guys," said Stevenson. "I just love being out here and being around my teammates. We have all worked very hard and I really wish that all four of us could start. We just have to make the most of our opportunities."
Even after hitting over .500 as a senior and being named First Team All-State, Stevenson believes that hitting is the aspect of his game that needs the most work. At this point, defense is the key for Stevenson.
"My best quality right now is on the defensive side of the game," said Stevenson. "I'm starting to get my hitting rolling a little bit, but I feel like I can make more of an impact in the outfield right now. I need to work on my hitting a little bit."
One aspect of the game that Stevenson will certainly have an impact in is the running game. Mainieri has repeatedly said that Stevenson possesses game-changing speed, and it will definitely be on display this spring.
"I would like to think I could be a big part of our running game this year," said Stevenson. "Coach [Mainieri] said I have pretty good speed and that I can help us there. My speed can be useful in a lot of different aspects."