LSU coach Paul Mainieri is still not ready to call left field a straight platoon between junior Beau Jordan and sophomore Brennan Breaux, but he did say that the two would likely continue to split time in the starting lineup.
“It’s going to be an ongoing thing,” Mainieri said Wednesday. “I think both Beau Jordan and Brennan Breaux have done some really good things.”
The right-handed Jordan has started each of LSU’s five games against left-handed starting pitchers, and the left-handed Breaux has started the four games against right-handers.
It’s been a success so far at the plate, where the two have combined to hit .323 (10-for-31). But it won’t necessarily continue as it has because LSU is not likely to face a left-hander every other time it takes the field.
“I don’t know if it’ll be a strict platoon situation. ... I’m just going to follow my gut,” Mainieri said. "If we run a string of 15 straight right-handed pitchers, does that mean Beau is not going to play at all? I don’t know that would be the case.”
Jordan turned in his best game of the season Tuesday night against Nicholls State, going 3-for-3 with a double.
All three of his hits went to right field, which is a sign his approach is back to being what Mainieri wanted out of him at the beginning of the season. The coach said Jordan too often went hunting for a big hit last season and became pull-happy.
“Not to actually hit the ball to right, but to think that way,” Jordan said about his approach. “To actually let the ball get deeper. That’s what I did (Tuesday) for the first time all season, and it actually worked really well.”
SOME CONCERN ABOUT HESS’ VELOCITY DIP
Freshman right-hander Zack Hess was excellent in his Tuesday start against Nicholls State, allowing just two hits in 4.2 innings, but he appeared to lose steam toward the end of his start.
Hess’ fastball consistently checked in around 91 mph on the stadium radar gun in the first inning, topping out with three straight pitches that came in at 93. But Hess’ fastball never topped 89 in his final 20 pitches and regularly came in at 87.
“It was a little bit of a concern of mine ... but it wasn’t such a big dip,” Mainieri said. “You’re talking 92 to 88, it’s not a huge dip in velocity. The bigger concern was I thought when he got tired he hung a breaking ball a couple times.”
It could be a hurdle in Hess’ campaign to crack the weekend rotation if he can’t maintain his velocity into the fifth and sixth innings, though Mainieri made sure to point out that it’s not a major concern.
“Remember, he’s just a freshman,” Mainieri said. “It’s all part of the development process, and it is early in the year.”
Mainieri said he’s sticking with his initial plan of evaluating the starting rotation through next week, meaning Hess will get another midweek start.
TRAVEL ITINERARY AND WEEKEND SCHEDULE
LSU will depart for Houston via bus 7 a.m. Thursday morning and will participate in its first event of the weekend at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
LSU and Baylor will participate with Shriners Hospitals for Children patients in a “theraputic and rehabilitative game of baseball in the hospital’s recreation area.”
As for the competitive games, LSU will serve as the home team Friday and Saturday and the road team Sunday.
TCU will throw 6-foot-9 senior right hander Brian Howard against LSU on Friday night. Howard was charged with the Horned Frogs’ lone loss this season when he gave up three runs on three hits against Arizona State on Feb. 24.
Baylor will send junior right-hander Montana Parsons to the mound against LSU on Saturday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Texas Tech’s expected starter was not available.
LSU will use the same weekend rotation it has used all season, with junior Alex Lange on Friday, senior Jared Poché on Saturday and freshman Eric Walker on Sunday.