It was May 16, 2014, and the Tigers had a commanding five-run lead in the top of the fourth inning at Auburn.
LSU sophomore Mark Laird broke from second to third base on a steal attempt, but Auburn freshman catcher Blake Logan fired a bullet to nab the speedy outfielder.
Since then, Laird has been nearly unstoppable on the base paths.
The Monroe native proceeded to successfully steal a base on 23-of-24 attempts, including two in the final eight games of the 2014 campaign and another 18 over the summer while he was with the Bourne Braves. He also stole three bases in three games against Kansas to open up the 2015 season.
Laird said he’s been trying to be more aggressive on the bases, and he’ll often have the green light from LSU coach Paul Mainieri.
“He’ll take it on and off throughout the game,” Laird said. “Whenever he thinks it’s a good time to go, he’ll let us go.”
The addition of Andy Cannizaro has been critical to Laird’s early success on steal attempts. Cannizaro has worked with a number of the Tigers’ stolen base threats since being hired this past offseason.
“He’s done a great job with us throughout practice,” Laird said. “All through fall and spring, we practiced multiple times per week of getting good jumps and reads at first and second. It’s really helped every baserunner out.”
Jordan shook off early error
It didn’t take long for the baseball to find freshman third baseman Bryce Jordan in his first start.
Five batters into the series finale against Kansas, Jayhawks right fielder Dakota Smith hit a hard chopper to Jordan, who fielded the ball before setting his feet to fire to first.
That’s when the train became derailed.
“I was looking for the ball to come to me,” Jordan said. “By the time I looked down the line, he was already there, so I tried to throw it as hard as I could, and it just got away from me. I guess the nerves didn’t help much either.”
A run scored on the play, and Smith reached second base after the throw sailed past LSU junior first baseman Chris Chinea.
Despite the play’s result, Jordan said all of his nerves disappeared after the errant toss. He proceeded to make three plays in the contest before being subbed out in the top of the seventh.
“I got all the nerves out after that one play,” Jordan said. “It was just getting done with that first one.”