BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The LSU baseball team is off to a 6-1 start and senior outfielder Jared Foster certainly has been instrumental to the Tigers' early success.
Doubling as a quarterback and outfielder, there's only one way to describe Foster.
"He's a great athlete," said head coach Paul Mainieri.
"He's an elite athlete on the baseball field," added hitting coach Andy Cannizaro.
"He might be the best athlete on our team and that's saying a lot, when you've got guys like [Andrew] Stevenson and [Mark] Laird and [Alex] Bregman and so forth," Mainieri explained.
After a disappointing 2014 season where the Lake Charles native saw more strikeouts than RBI, 2015 is off to a much better start. Foster is currently batting .545 and excelling in the lead-off spot.
"If we can get him continuing to play at the level he's playing at now and have the at bats like he is now, he brings another dimension to our lineup. That's exciting to have out there every day," Cannizaro stated.
Foster and his coaches say the biggest change in his approach at the plate is simple. He is more relaxed and has been letting the game come to him. He doesn't try to do too much.
"Last year, I think I was trying to hit home runs," Foster said. "And I think I settled down from that and just tried to make contact with the ball and hit it hard wherever it's pitched, you know. Stay with that."
"He's starting to swing the bat with some aggressiveness and confidence. I'm not sure what comes first here, maybe confidence causes the aggressiveness," Mainieri said.
"We're working on his swing every single day, trying to just get him to stay within himself. Trying not to get too antsy and too ramped up, trying to hit balls on the football ops building. Just hit the ball in the gaps, take the ball up the middle and you've really seen two weeks of him cutting down on the swing a little bit. Hitting the ball harder, more consistent at the plate," Cannizaro explained.
Because there's no doubt he's terrific defensively, head coach Paul Mainieri said it's a little too early to settle on just one left fielder, with so many great options. However, continuing to rack up base hits can only help Foster's case.
"He's got the talent. He just needs to put the hitting, consistently, do the hitting consistently. He's a good outfielder, runs the bases good, he's got strong throwing arm. He's really as good an athlete as we have," Mainieri said.
"Coach is going to play whoever he thinks is going to do the job. The main thing is just have fun and go out there and play every day. Do your best," Foster added.
The Tigers return to action Wednesday when they host the Southeastern Lions.