Southeastern Louisiana freshman shortstop Brennan Breaud has found a home in the starting lineup _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southeastern shortstop Brennan Breaud fields a ground ball against LSU on Wednesday at Alex Box Stadium.

Brennan Breaud was supposed to wait his turn.

The Southeastern baseball coaches had a plan for Breaud’s development this season, which included him riding the bench and maybe seeing some playing time in late innings.

Breaud had a different plan.

The freshman shortstop grew up watching the Lions with his father.

Some of his earliest memories of the sport are of him sitting in the stands at Alumni Field, watching Southeastern play. Brandon Breaud told his son about his own playing days in Hammond as a catcher.

So when Brennan was ready to move on to the college ranks, it was a no-brainer. He was going to be a Lion.

“My mom was a cheerleader here and my dad played ball here. This is right where I always wanted to end up playing,” Breaud said. “When I was growing up and playing travel ball, all the guys wanted to be (at) LSU, but this was my home.”

Breaud knew what his role was supposed to be coming into his freshman season.

He would back up three-year starter Kennon Menard at shortstop. On the rare occasion he slipped into the lineup, he would be toward the bottom in the batting order.

That plan lasted all of five days.

By the Lions’ fourth game, a midweek matchup against Alcorn State, Southeastern coach Matt Riser wanted Breaud to get more experience while also giving a break to Menard, who started 1-for-11 at the plate.

Breaud went 1-for-5 against Alcorn. But his 3-for-3 night against Troy in his second start impressed Riser.

He hasn’t been left off a starting lineup since.

“My dad always told me when I was younger to never be satisfied,” Breaud said. “That’s something I always stuck with. Whether I’m starting or not, I want to be better than the guy on the other team at shortstop.”

As for his position in the batting order, that took more time.

Breaud started off batting ninth. Less than two weeks later, he was in the No. 2 hole. A little more than a month after that, he dethroned reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year, Jacob Seward, for Southeastern’s leadoff spot.

He’s currently fourth on the team with a .310 batting average. He leads the Lions with 36 runs and 15 stolen bases. He’s second in hits behind only senior first baseman Jameson Fisher, who leads the country with a .462 batting average, and is third with a .433 on-base percentage.

In the three games he’s been the leadoff man, Breaud is 5-for-13 with five runs and an RBI.

He’s been so good, Seward even gave his blessing for taking the leadoff spot.

“(Seward) actually came up to me and told me, ‘I’m struggling right now, and I think they need to move me down in the lineup so I can see more fastballs. I think you need to take over at the one,’ ” Breaud recalled. “He wasn’t mad; he was just wanting whatever helps the team.”

But Breaud’s rapid ascent hasn’t been completely easy.

One of the drawbacks of being thrust into the starting lineup has been his slow adjustment to the speed of the game on defense.

He leads Southeastern with 16 errors, including eight in the past 11 games (four of those came in a loss at Nicholls State earlier this month).

“It was probably just the game being a little too fast and trying to do a little too much,” Breaud said. “Probably the best word I can describe it with is just rushing. I didn’t want to mess up.”

Riser said he isn’t completely committing to Breaud as the future of the position yet, and that Menard and Seward will have the opportunity to earn their positions back.

“We’re going to play the best nine that we think gives us a chance to win, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re a freshman or a senior,” Riser said. “Brennan knows, if he wants to quit working and get satisfied and content, Kennon is right there chomping at the bit to take it right back.”