STARKVILLE, Miss. — Danny Zardon just needed some time on the bench to get things right.
Zardon, propelled by his game-winning double last week against Texas A&M, had an RBI single in the early going in the series opener Thursday night against Mississippi State.
Zardon got his second straight start — a first in more than six weeks — and drove in the tying run in the fourth inning, knocking a bases-loaded single through the left side to score Kade Scivicque.
Coach Paul Mainieri suggested Wednesday that Zardon, a righty, may start at designated hitter against State’s left-handed starter, Lucas Laster.
That’s what happened. It all comes a week after Zardon took a breaking ball down the third-base line for a game-winning double in the series-opening victory against the Aggies.
He got the nod at DH in a win over Alcorn State on Tuesday and saw pinch-hitting roles in all three games against the Aggies, surging into the lineup after more than a month of downtime.
Zardon’s start Tuesday was his first since getting a starting nod at Arkansas on March 19. At that point, Mainieri made the switch to what’s been his go-to lineup, removing Zardon from first base for Chris Chinea and inserting Chris Sciambra at designated hitter.
It was the second demotion for Zardon. He began the season as the Tigers starting third baseman before Mainieri, because of errors, moved him to first.
He’s come alive since that game-winner last Thursday.
Zardon, after his RBI single Thursday, was three for his last eight with five RBIs.
Bregman’s streak alive
LSU shortstop Alex Bregman has reached base safely in 43 straight games — a mind-boggling figure.
Bregman began Thursday’s game 0-for-2 before taking Laster’s final pitch of the game to left field for a leadoff double in the fifth. That hit also extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Bregman last failed to reach base on Feb. 13 against Kansas, the third game of the season.
Mississippi State led the all-time series over LSU 200-175-1 heading into Thursday night’s game, but the Bulldogs have struggled lately in this rivalry series.
In fact, Mainieri has never lost a series to Mississippi State, winning the previous eight against State entering this weekend. The Bulldogs last won a three-game set over LSU in 2006.
The Tigers swept State last season in Baton Rouge, including a 17-4 drubbing in the series finale.
This is the latest the two schools have met in the regular season since 2011. LSU and Mississippi State met to open the SEC seasons in 2012 and 2013. … LSU is playing its fourth Thursday-Saturday series in its first eight SEC series of the season — a result of the new SEC Network’s demands. The Tigers will play at South Carolina in a regular season-ending Thursday-Saturday series. LSU hosts Missouri in a three-game series starting Friday next week.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.