Greg Deichmann is self-aware enough to know that his raw power is a frightening prospect for many teams.
The LSU right fielder can change the outcomes of games with one swing, as he’s done with eight home runs this season. It’s often in a team’s best interest to pound Deichmann with off-speed pitches or to pitch around him all together. It’s something the junior acknowledges he had to “mentally prepare” for even before the season started.
“I’m going to get one, maybe two pitches, in an at-bat that I can do something with, and that’s the one I can’t miss,” Deichmann said. “Last night was a little different story; I really didn’t get anything to hit other than my first at-bat.”
Tuesday night against Tulane was, indeed, more unusual than most of Deichmann’s outings. He drew walks in four of his five plate appearances. Two of those four free passes came on four pitches. The other two were on 3-1 counts.
Though Deichmann is receiving the ultimate sign of respect, it’s also strategic for the opposing team. LSU’s top two hitters in the order — Kramer Robertson and Cole Freeman — are 6 for 41 over the past five games. The No. 5 hitter in order, which has been freshmen Zack Watson and Josh Smith over the past five games, have gone 2 for 17 in that stretch.
With struggling bats in front and behind of Deichmann, teams like Tulane are willing to put him on base without much of a struggle. Deichmann, who leads the team with 31 RBIs, hasn’t driven in a run in the past four games.
It’s a trend No. 9 LSU (18-8, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) is trying to buck when it hosts Texas A&M (17-9, 1-5) for series beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at Alex Box Stadium.
“We need to get some guys on base and we need to protect him behind him,” coach Paul Mainieri said. “Obviously, he’s kind of the straw the stirs the drink in our lineup.”
Mainieri said he could “rationalize” the sputtering bats in the series loss at Florida, which is considered to have three of the top starting pitchers in the country.
The Tigers were limited to just one run in the first two games against the Gators, held in check by Alex Faedo and Brady Singer. Even in the third game, the LSU offense only exploded in the final two innings of the game once Florida starter Jackson Kowar exited, scoring eight unanswered runs in a 10-6 win.
“We did face probably the best pitching in the nation this past weekend. I think people are forgetting that,” said Freeman, who belted the go-ahead home run in the Florida series finale. “But we’re not pressing. I think we just need to capitalize on more of the opportunities because we’re not going to be able to just swing away and just put up 10 runs every game.”
Mainieri, however, was more disappointed with the effort offensively in a 7-6 loss to the Green Wave on Tuesday night. The Tigers mustered just six hits, and four of their six runs came on grand slam by Michael Papierski.
Robertson’s slump is perhaps the worst of any of the LSU hitters. The Tigers leadoff hitter is 1 for his last 18, but he said it isn’t any sort of mechanical issue with his swing.
“I don’t feel like I’m necessarily swinging the bat bad,” Robertson said. “I feel I’ve had a lot of hard hit balls. But ... if I’m going, it makes things a lot easier on Greg, and he’s going to get a lot more pitches to hit. When Greg’s getting pitches to hit, our offense is producing a lot more.”