COLUMBIA, S.C. — Mark Laird needed a spark. He needed a wake-up call. He needed a jolt.
So LSU coach Paul Mainieri dropped him to No. 8 in the batting order.
The result: three hits in five at-bats and an RBI in LSU’s 9-2 win over South Carolina on Friday night.
“Just to get me relaxed,” Laird said. “(Coach) didn’t say much about it. Felt more relaxed. During (batting practice), just tried to relax more and go back to what I normally do. Felt relaxed. Think I haven’t hit there since my freshman time.”
Laird hit lower than second in the Tigers’ lineup for the first time since 2013 and for just the second time in his career. He singled in his first three at-bats — one to extend a rally that led to a run and another drove in a run.
Laird normally bats in the No. 2 spot and has in 145 of 166 previous games at LSU. He’s batted leadoff 21 times and eighth, now, twice.
Laird single twice to left Friday night and then ripped a grounder up the middle in the sixth inning.
Laird entered Friday 2-for-14 in the last four games.
“I thought I needed to shake up (the lineup),” Mainieri said.
Austin Bain is keeping his front shoulder closed. What’s that mean?
Good things for the Tigers. Bain has allowed six hits and four runs in his last two outings on the mound — a combined 11.2 innings.
All of this followed a two-inning start against Mississippi State that had Mainieri yanking him from the weekend rotation. What happened after the struggles in Starkville?
“It just made me realize there’s stuff I need to work on, and I worked on it with AD and I felt like I fixed a lot of things,” Bain said.
The biggest thing: keeping his front (left) shoulder closed during his delivery.
“Can’t fly open. I was flying open,” he said. “Had some shoulder soreness. Staying closed now. I feel great.”
Scivicque reeling in honors
Catcher Kade Scivicque, a former junior college player from Maurepas, is a semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy and the Johnny Bench Award.
Freshman pitcher Alex Lange joins Scivicque as one of 33 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, an award given to the nation’s top college baseball player. Scivicque made the 20-man cut for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation’s best college catcher.
Request regional tickets
LSU is taking requests from season ticket holders for NCAA postseason at Alex Box Stadium.
The top-ranked Tigers (44-9), most feel, have secured a top eight NCAA national seed, meaning they’ll host a regional and a super regional, if they advance past regionals.
Regional sites are announced at 8 p.m. May 24. NCAA regionals are May 29-June 1.
Super regionals are June 5-8. Season ticket holders may log-on to their online account at LSUTIX.net, or call the LSU ticket office at (225) 578-2184, or toll free at (800) 960-8587 to reserve tickets.
LSU won its 18th SEC Western Division title Friday. The Tigers last won it in 2013 and also won it in 1961, 1975, 1985, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012. … Alex Bregman ended his 0-for-8 skid in the series against Carolina with a single in the eighth inning. He was 0 for his last 10, stretching back to the midweek game against UNO before the line drive knock to right field.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.