Tiger fans smell what Rock is cookin'

Can ya smellllllll... what the Rock ... is cookin'? Anyone familiar with World Wrestling Federation superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson recognizes his signature phrase and music that blares through Alex Box Stadium whenever Rocky Scelfo comes to the plate. While the WWF's "The Rock" is known for belting out both his catchphrase and elbow drops, the Tigers' Rocky is coming to be known as a fired-up, emotional player that is quickly establishing himself as a favorite among the LSU faithful.

"I'm a wrestling fan," the redshirt freshman infielder proudly states. "It goes with my name. My real name is Benjamin, and my brother gave me "Rocky" before I was born. It stuck and I figured I could use it."


Scelfo came to LSU from St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette in 2000. He took a redshirt last season while Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Aaron Hill handled the middle infield. Hill saw duty in left field and at designated hitter in 2001 and was moved to his natural shortstop position this season.


This allowed the right-hand batting Scelfo move to second base, where he was seeing platoon duty with left-handed freshman J.C. Holt. Through seven games, Scelfo batted .292 with a triple and three RBIs. In the field he had no errors on 17 plays for a 1.000 fielding percentage.


Those numbers are bound to increase, as fate has dropped Scelfo into the starting shortstop role. Hill suffered a separated shoulder in a fourth-inning collision with left fielder Matt Heath during the Feb. 16 game with Mercer, and Scelfo was called upon to take over for him. Scelfo will remain a starter at short at least through the next 4-6 weeks while Hill is on the mend.


"I was starting to feel comfortable at second," Scelfo told Tiger Rag, "but (shortstop) is a role I'll have to play. Hopefully Aaron will get back in the lineup as soon as possible, because I know and everybody knows we need him in there for his bat and everything else. I'm just going to have to do the job while he's out."


And he's doing the job well. In the game that saw him replace Hill and with the Tigers down 6-2 in the seventh inning, Scelfo ripped a one-out triple off the right-field wall. His fist-pumping, chest-thumping emotion after sliding into third well ahead of the throw — theatrics that would make "The Rock" proud — served not only to fire up the fans at the Box, but it also ignited an LSU comeback that would result in a 9-6 Tiger win.


"It wasn't just me," Scelfo said. "Everybody came together."


Even before his heroics, chants of "Roc-KY, Roc-KY" echoed through the stadium whenever Scelfo came to the plate. Now they're even louder.


"That feels good," Scelfo says of the adulation. "I try to play with excitement. I'm an emotional person and I seem to show them more than everybody else. It's fun to be out there with all the fans.


"Whenever there's a time for the team to get up," he continues, "that's whenever I try to spark everybody, get them off the bench a bit and get the crowd back into it. I try to get something going and change the momentum of the game."


Regardless of his status with the fans, Scelfo remains - like all of the Tiger squad - a team player content to play whatever role he can in LSU's quest to return to the College World Series.


"I'm just going to keep playing hard and hope that things work out," he says. "Whatever happens, happens. I'll just do my best to help the team get back to Omaha."

Rocky, we smell what you're cookin'.

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