LSU coach Paul Mainieri isn’t hiding his concerns about the third base position.
“Two errors a game isn’t going to cut it at that position,” Mainieri said following Friday night’s 3-2 win against Princeton.
Sophomore Danny Zardon and freshman Bryce Jordan both committed errors at the hot corner in that game, bringing the duo’s total to four through the first three weeks of the season.
And Mainieri’s worries weren’t eased Saturday.
In the first game of their doubleheader, with two on and two outs in the top of the second inning, Princeton designated hitter Peter Owens hit a grounder to Zardon at third base. Zardon native couldn’t handle the ball, committing his third error of the year and loading the bases. One batter later, sophomore Chad Powers dropped a two-RBI single to give Princeton an early 2-1 lead.
Then, in the top of the fourth, Zardon failed to make a play on a high chopper, though he wasn’t charged with an error.
Third base has been an unusual struggle for Mainieri, as it has typically been a stable position in recent seasons. Former third baseman Christian Ibarra, now an undergraduate assistant and first base coach, played what Mainieri said was some of the best defense he has ever seen.
“It’s an underrated position to play,” Mainieri said. “But you have to do it. It’s one of those positions that when you have a great defensive player there, you take it for granted until you don’t have a great defensive player there.”
Mainieri held junior center fielder Andrew Stevenson out of Friday’s game to give the player an extra day of rest after he tweaked his hamstring last Sunday against Boston College.
Stevenson wasted no time making his presence felt Saturday afternoon, picking up two hits and an RBI from the No. 6 slot in the LSU batting order. He sat out of Saturday’s second game as a precautionary measure.
“Stevenson’s fine,” Mainieri said. “I just think the prudent thing is not to overdo it and have him stand out there for 18 innings.”
Promising news for Beau Jordan
LSU freshman outfielder Beau Jordan received good news following Thursday’s surgery on a torn meniscus in his knee.
Mainieri said Jordan could return to the field in four to six weeks, and he noted that the injury “wasn’t a terrible tear.”
“As severity goes, it was the least severe that it could possibly be,” Mainieri said. “So the news is as good as we could have hoped for.”
Jordan suffered the injury last Saturday against Boston College as he attempted to avoid a collision with Chris Sciambra in right-center field.
Two Tigers extended their hitting streaks Saturday — Conner Hale (11 games) and Stevenson (eight games) … Fraley had two triples in the first game, tying the school record for the most triples in a game. Stevenson accomplished the same feat last Saturday against Boston College. … Freshman designated hitter Grayson Byrd made his first career start in the first game Saturday. He had one previous appearance last Saturday against Boston College. … Andrew Christie, son of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, entered the second game in the top of the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter for Princeton. … Chris Chinea set a career high with three hits in the second game.