LSU changes the lineup, reaps the rewards

LSU made some significant tweaks to the batting order Tuesday, and those moves paid off in a big way for the Tigers.

OMAHA, Neb. — The LSU offense needed a spark if the Tigers were to prolong their season.

LSU had managed just three runs on eight hits in the opening loss to TCU. The Tigers finished the season with the best team batting average in the SEC, but they’d looked far from that offensive juggernaut in the postseason.

So Paul Mainieri made some tweaks. The main thing was to move Alex Bregman in to the leadoff spot. The corresponding changes — Kade Scivicque to third, Chris Sciambra to fifth and Mark Laird to eighth. None of those players had appeared in that spot more than a few times in their career.

The moves worked. Those four players combined to go 11-for-16 with four runs scored and three RBI.

“You’re constantly trying to mix and match to find the parts and pieces that are working,” said LSU hitting coach Andy Cannizaro. “I’m really proud of the way our guys swung today.”

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Bregman in particular flourished in his new spot. He went 4-for-5 and led off three different innings with a base hit.

Bregman had only batted leadoff three times previously in his career. Mainieri was hesitant at first to take him out of the three-hole, but when he saw how excited he was, Mainieri stuck with it.

“I really felt that we just needed a spark at the top of the order,” Mainieri said. “And who is a tougher out than Alex Bregman?”

That paid off as Bregman set the table for the rest of the lineup. He made it to scoring position three of the four times he reached base.

“He’s the leader of this team and everybody knows it,” Sciambra said. “When he plays like that, everyone else follows.”

Bregman said the LSU offense got “its swagger back” with Tuesday’s performance. Mainieri wasn’t sure if he’d stick with that lineup moving forward, but it definitely accomplished the objective this time.

Bregman doesn’t care where he hits in the batting order, as he only has one goal.

“I would just like to win,” he said. “Wherever I need to hit in the lineup, whatever works. If I'm hitting first or ninth, as long as we're winning I'm happy.”


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