After Greg Deichmann’s made two errors in his last three games at first base, LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Wednesday he’s unsure of his plans at the position heading into the team’s Southeastern Conference series with Ole Miss.
Deichmann caught a perfect throw from shortstop Kramer Robertson with his foot off the bag in last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Mississippi State. The runner, Jake Mangum, came around to score as the eventual winning run.
In Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Tulane, Deichmann didn’t catch a throw from reliever Jesse Stallings on a two-out tapper back to the mound. The throw went up the first base line and allowed a third run to score, putting the Green Wave up 3-0.
“Honestly, from a skill set, nothing,” Deichmann answered when asked where he felt he needed to improve defensively at first. “Just focus more each play. That’s where I’d say I’m at with it. If you look at the four or five errors, whatever I have this season, it’s more of just focus and looking it in … I’m comfortable over there. The biggest thing for me is just focus right now. The ball kicked off the glove. That’s on me. It had nothing to do with Jesse or the throw. I kicked it.”
Mainieri pulled Deichmann in favor of Brody Wofford to begin the seventh inning Tuesday. The coach said Bryce Jordan, who’s started 14 games at first base this season, Deichmann and Wofford are all in the mix to play first at Ole Miss.
Deichmann is also mired in a 1-for-16 slump at the plate with five strikeouts.
“I still have a lot of confidence in Greg,” Mainieri said. “Part of growing up as a player and maturing as a player is learning to leave your bat in the dugout and go play defense when you’re called on to play defense. He’s had a couple of defensive mistakes that’s happened to be while he’s in the midst of a tough hitting stretch. You hope that’s just a coincidence, but if it’s not and he’s not taking enough pride in his defense when he goes out onto the field, that’s something he has to learn to do.”
Added Deichmann: “It can get to that point where it gets frustrating when both sides aren’t really going for you. But you have to separate the two, you have to separate the field and your at-bats. That’s the biggest thing to work on and that’s what I’m working on right now.”
“I can do a better job at it. But like I said, I’m working on it.”
LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn ambled to the mound in the ninth inning. He yelled toward Aaron Nola in the ninth inning of a nationally-televised game LSU would eventually win 4-3 in 13 innings.
“I couldn’t even hear (Dunn) on the mound when he was yelling two feet away from me,” LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson recalled of the 2014 evening at Swayze Field. “I know firsthand how difficult and how loud this place can get.”
Robertson, then an admitted “little freshman” with a deer in the headlights look, returns to Oxford this weekend anticipating a similar atmosphere.
This time, he’s equipped.
“Coming back as a vet, I’m excited to play in this environment, something I’m looking forward to,” Robertson said. “And it’s something I’m going to try to prepare the younger guys for so they don’t feel like I felt, a little overwhelmed, as a freshman.”
LSU carries a 6-3 conference road record into Oxford, including two series wins at Missouri and Auburn, but is fresh off a 4-1 loss at Turchin Stadium against Tulane in front of a record crowd.
“Last night was just inconsistent with what we’ve been doing on the road,” Mainieri said of the loss. “Tulane is a pretty hostile environment, well so is Swayze Field, and I compared Tulane and Ole Miss as pretty similar places to play. They don’t like us very much at either place, quite frankly, so you hear a lot of things and you have to have poise and composure.”
To whittle its travel roster down to 27, the maximum mandated by the SEC, LSU did not travel O’Neal Lochridge, Jake Latz, Nick Bush, Alden Cartwright, Bryce Adams, Cody Ducote and Cole McKay.
Follow Chandler Rome on Twitter @Chandler_Rome