Fraley hit second in the lineup for only the seventh time this season, and he made Paul Mainieri look like a smart man for making the change. Fraley drove in three runs with his first two at-bats against Louisiana-Lafayette..
He’d had six straight plate appearances with a hit dating back to the first game last week against Louisiana-Lafayette. He’s gone 9-for-16 in the Tigers’ four NCAA Tournament games..
“His bat was lightning all week,” Mainieri said. “He was hitting the ball as hard as I’ve ever seen him it.”.
Fraley’s move wasn’t the only change. LSU also moved Mark Laird into the leadoff spot for the 10th time this season..
He drew a leadoff walk in the first inning and reached on a passed ball strikeout in the third. He scored both times..
“I wanted to stick those guys up there at the top of the order, see if they could make something happen,” Mainieri said. “I guess it worked out pretty well.”.
Mainieri made those moves hoping it would provide a spark in the Tigers’ offense. LSU had just four runs in its two victories against UNC-Wilmington in the regional. .
The lineup changes didn’t ignite the LSU bats like Mainieri hoped though. LSU had only five hits Saturday and needed a walk-off home run to eke out a 4-3 victory..
“We’ve just got to be better,” Mainieri said. “We’re not nearly as good as we can be.”.
BREGMAN SLUMPS, STILL SOLID DEFENSIVELY
Alex Bregman personifies those struggles at the plate. He hasn’t had a hit in any of LSU’s four NCAA Tournament games. He’s only reached base three times in the last three games..
Bregman had 19 multi-hit games during the regular season, but he hasn’t had more than one hit in a game during the postseason..
Bregman made up for it though with his glove. ULL had cut the deficit to 3-2 after a run in the eighth. The Cajuns had a pair of runners in scoring position with two outs in the eighth in the midst of heavy rain..
Alex Lange induced a tricky grounder into the hole to Bregman’s right. He made a backhanded stab and made a strong throw to first despite struggling to find a grip and ended the ULL threat..
“That shows the true character of a person,” Mainieri said. “When they don’t do well in one aspect of the game, but you still want to win so badly that you go out there and make the plays you need to make.”.