The Tigers stole eight bags in the opening game of the Baton Rouge regional. That broke a 40-year old record for steals in a tournament game.
LSU had three players steal two (Alex Bregman, Andrew Stevenson and Jared Foster) while Conner Hale and Jake Fraley each contributed one. The Tigers were successful on all but one of their nine stolen base attempts.
“We knew we had speed on the base paths,” Foster said. “We just had to take advantage of it. We got some good jumps, put pressure on the pitcher and catcher.”
That falls in line with the aggressive approach LSU has taken this season. The Tigers now have 120 total stolen bases, approaching the program record of 156 in a season set in 1987.
Bregman now has 34 steals on the year, moving him into a tie for third with former LSU shortstop Jeff Reboulet. Bregman’s 62 career stolen bases put him fourth all-time in that category.
JOHNNY WHOLESTAFF WORKS
LSU treated the tournament opener like a midweek game from a pitching perspective.
The Tigers used seven different pitchers against Lehigh. That was the plan as LSU went with the “Johnny Wholestaff” approach. It paid off as LSU limited Lehigh to just five hits.
Mother Nature did force LSU to alter its pitching plan.
LSU intended to use starting pitcher Alden Cartwright for two innings, followed by Austin Bain for two more. But a rain delay went into effect after Cartwright’s first inning of work, and he didn’t come back once play resumed.
So LSU kept Bain out there for a third inning to get back on track. Bain would surrender a pair of runs in that final frame, but things normalized after that.
The next five pitchers after Bain (Hunter Newman, Jesse Stallings, Doug Norman, Russell Reynolds and Hunter Devall) surrendered just one run on two hits the rest of the way.
“I looked at is an opportunity to run a lot of guys out there and get them used to the environment,“ Mainieri said. “It worked out well. Most of the guys threw really well coming out of the bullpen.”
TARP CREW FAIL
LSU’s tarp crew was not in postseason form.
When the skies opened in the middle of the first inning, the crew scrambled to get the tarp over the infield. That tarp was brand new, only arriving Thursday as a replacement for the one that got damaged in the massive storm that hit Baton Rouge last month.
The new tarp hadn’t been rolled up properly, and that led to some serious struggles getting it placed.
The delay left the infield drenched. But it dried well during the two-plus hour delay, and the teams thought it felt great considering the circumstances.
“Our grounds crew really made a tremendous comeback after that first attempt of putting the tarp on the field,” Mainieri said. “I felt so bad for those guys. They’re such a great group of people, so dedicated and they work so hard…Even though the field looked like a lake, the foundation of our field is so good that the footing was outstanding.”