It had nothing to do with nerves that come on the eve of a College World Series. Mainieri tossed and turned because of a missing glove.
At some point Friday, freshman starter Alex Lange misplaced one of the most important pieces of equipment a baseball player can have. After hours of unsuccessful searching, Lange sent out an all-points bulletin to the world.
Lost Glove. If found please give back to LSU baseball— Alex Lange (@Lange_17) June 12, 2015
That didn’t work either.
So Lange and Mainieri went with a contingency plan Saturday morning. They took a trip to a local sporting goods store in Omaha and bought Lange a glove identical to the one he lost. It needed some breaking in, but it was the best they were going to do if the original didn’t turn up.
LSU arrived at Bellevue East High School on Saturday afternoon for their final practice before Sunday’s CWS opener. Once the team was off the bus, Mainieri ordered everyone on the team to make one last sweep through their bags to find Lange’s missing glove.
And there it was — resting in the bag of fellow pitcher Austin Bain.
“Bain opens his bag up and it’s sitting right there on top,” Mainieri said. “They have the same glove but 35 and 18 are different numbers. Bain’s catching a little bit of a hard time.”
Everyone can rest easy knowing that Lange’s glove has returned home.
“Players are creatures of habit,” Mainieri said. “That glove was on Alex’s left hand for an 11-0 record and sub-2.00 ERA. I’m sure it would’ve felt a little weird to be out there with a different glove.”