LSU coach Paul Mainieri has set his opening day lineup and it’s what you’d expect outside of one change (Andrew Stevenson out) which we mentioned in our notebook in Wednesday’s Advocate.
Here is said lineup (also batting order):
- Sean McMullen, CF
- Mark Laird, LF
- Alex Bregman, SS
- Jared Foster, RF
- Chris Chinea, C
- Christian Ibarra 3B
- Tyler Moore, 1B
- Kade Scivicque, DH
- Conner Hale, 2B
Now for some newsy nuggets about that lineup and more:
- Stevenson is out of the lineup for opening day, a 7 p.m. first pitch at Alex Box against New Orleans, with a strained quadriceps. McMullen will replace him in center and Scivicque takes McMullen’s spot at DH. Mainieri said Stevenson will return for Saturday’s game at Zephyr Field against UNO. He’s only resting Friday. “We think he’s 100 percent,” Mainieri said. “I’m concerned on a cold night, standing out there at center field that a quick movement might aggravate it.”
- As we reported earlier this week, each Moore, Scivicque and Chinea will get a crack at catcher this weekend and, maybe, first base. The three are competing for the two starting spots. Moore will catch Saturday and either Chinea or Scivicque will start at first. “I haven’t decided that yet,” Mainieri said. On Sunday, Scivicque will catch and Chinea or Moore will play first.
- One of the looming questions heading into this season: Who closes games? Two days before the opener, Mainieri hasn’t made a decision on that guy and says he’s still losing sleep over it. LSU lost school record-tying closer Chris Cotton.
- He listed a group of players for a possible closer role. The top three appear to be Brady Domanque, Joe Broussard and Kurt McCune. On the next shelf are freshmen Parker Bugg and Alden Cartwright. “I think the thing to do is run the kids out there,” Mainieri said. “Initially, it might be McCune, might be Broussard, might be Domanque. I’m not sure yet because they’re all going to pitch. … I’m just going to let these kids pitch and once you see a guy out there four or five times and see his body language and you see his confidence and that he’s not afraid to pound that zone and you start to feel the confidence the whole team has in him, I have a sense that somebody may emerge and it may not be one of those three guys. It may be a sleeper. I like Alden Cartwright. I like Parker Bugg. There are other guys.”
- As we wrote about over the weekend, Foster, a junior and former walk-on quarterback on the football team, moved from left to right field, is an every day starter and will bat cleanup. Last week, Mainieri moved him to right and told him that he’d be an every day starter. “It’s exciting. Been working hard this whole time and finally get the chance to do it. Going to be good,” Foster said.
- How’d Foster find out that he would be batting cleanup for LSU’s opener? “Somebody tweeted it,” he said with a smile.
- Junior college transfer Kyle Bouman will start LSU’s game Saturday against UNO at Zephyr Field. He’s somewhat the unexpected guy in LSU’s early rotation. He found out during practice last week and was fairly surprised. “I was just going about practice and he popped that on me,” he said of Mainieri. “I knew I was in contention. Didn’t know it’d be the Saturday spot, which is awesome. It’s a big honor.”
- Bouman described his game: “Nothing too fancy, just throw strikes. I’m not going to blow people away, like Nola. Just throw a lot of strikes and mix my off-speed in there.”
- Bouman, a Missourian, began his career at Wichita State two years ago before transferring to Jefferson County Community College in Missouri last year. He was a reliever at Wichita and a starter in junior college. He left Wichita because of what he called “a few off-the-field issues.”