Laird has big showing against BYU

LSU freshman Mark Laird has finally found his identity at the plate for the Tigers. On Thursday night, Laird went 4 for 5 with two runs scored in a game that LSU trailed in for most of the contest. In dramatic fashion, the Tigers ended the game with a walk-off single by Raph Rhymes. While Laird didn't have the game winning hit, he set the tone at the plate for the Tigers.

Heading into Thursday night's contest against BYU, LSU freshman Mark Laird appeared to still be searching for his identity at the plate. However, that all changed in the comeback win for the Tigers on Thursday at Alex Box Stadium. After trailing for most of the game, LSU scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win by a score of 6-5 over the Cougars of Brigham Young.

The 6-1 179 pound Laird provided enough of a spark to the LSU offense throughout the night to score several runs. Laird finished the night by going 4 for 5 with a double and two runs scored. For Laird, the performance was a sign that he is starting to settle into the college game and his confidence increases with every trip to the plate.

"I felt like I had been trying to settle in over the course of the first few games," said Laird. "Tonight, I feel like I had more confidence at the plate and it caused me to be a lot more selective up there. I waited on the best pitch for me to hit and made the most of every opportunity."

In a crucial situation in the ninth inning tonight, Laird stepped to the plate with one out and Chris Sciambra on first after a walk. Laird knew all along that he just needed to try to move Sciambra over into scoring position. However, Laird did one better and singled to left field to put two runners on with one away.

"I was focused on trying to put the ball in play so that Sciambra could advance to second," said Laird. "I knew he could score from there if I did my job. The hit was just kind of a bonus."

Prior to BYU changing pitchers in the final inning of the contest on Thursday, Derek Speigner had done a good job of keeping LSU hitters off-balance with his submarine style delivery. While it is always a challenge to hit a pitcher with that kind of delivery, Laird explained that the thought never crossed his mind, as he was just trying to put the ball in play.

"It's something that you don't see every day," said Laird. "But, I have confidence in all of our hitters. If the ball is near the strike zone, we will hit it. We just had to work on putting the ball in play and we had to try to string together some hits there in the last inning."

Even with a performance like he had Thursday, Laird will come to play with the same mentality tomorrow when LSU hosts Southeastern Louisiana. Laird doesn't think of his performance tonight as a breakout performance, but rather just proof that his approach at the plate is working.

"I don't really believe in breaking out," said Laird. "I have to go to the plate every time with the same amount of confidence and build off of the previous at bat. Being selective is something that I focus on because it allows me to hit my pitch."

Laird did explain that his performance tonight did help his confidence at the dish, something he has been looking for over the last few days.

"It helped with my confidence for sure," said Laird. "It helped me settle in a little more so that I will be more confident at the plate moving forward."

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