HOUSTON — At one point, playing a game against a team in green from Waco, Texas, might’ve given LSU senior shortstop Kramer Robertson some added juice.
At one point, actually, it did. Robertson admitted it was a little different for him when he played Baylor the first time in 2015. You know, because his mother, Kim Mulkey, is the highly successful coach of the women’s basketball team.
“His mother is one of the greatest coaches in all of college athletics, regardless of the sport,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said.
So yes, there’s an obvious connection there. But when he faces the Bears on Saturday, it’ll be a different story than it was in 2015.
“Honestly, (Baylor is) just another team,” Robertson said. “It really is, especially at this point.”
It’s just been so long. Long enough that the Robertson that takes the field Saturday will be a completely different player and person than the one that played the Bears in 2015.
Much has changed for Robertson since he left Waco, and much of that change has happened since that 2015 game.
Sure, Robertson showed signs of being the player he would one day become that day. He reached base four times while going 2-for-2 at the plate, and his ninth-inning RBI single gave the Tigers a little extra cushion in a 2-0 win.
“I was motivated, I guess,” Robertson said. “I thought of them as my home school, my mom’s school.”
But he would still be a year away from truly breaking out, which he did last year as a junior, hitting .324 with 39 RBIs and establishing himself as one of the premier shortstops in the Southeastern Conference.
“When he played against Baylor in his sophomore year, he had a really good game,” Mainieri said. “But he’s a so much better player now than he was two years ago. He’s unquestionably the leader of our team, he’s the shortstop, the three-hole hitter.
“For us to beat Baylor, we need Kramer Robertson to play really well.”
Lucky for Mainieri, that has been the case since basically the beginning of last season. Robertson is off to another fine start as a senior, batting .484 with a home run and four doubles entering Friday’s game against TCU.
The difference between his sophomore year and now, he said, is one of mentality.
“Just a totally different player, different mindset, different confidence,” Robertson said. “It’s night and day since the last time I went there, so I’m excited to go there this time and experience it. Not be playing for a spot, but playing to win the game and beat the team in the other dugout.”
Even if that team is one he still roots for from time to time.