Mainieri opens up after tough weekend series against Kentucky

RAW: LSU baseball head coach Paul Mainieri discusses tough weekend decisions

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU head coach Paul Mainieri admits to making some decisions in the Kentucky series that he might do differently a second time around, but says he also realizes that not everyone will understand his reasoning.

"Want me to give you the definition in your minds and in the fans' minds of good coaching decisions," Mainieri asked. "The ones that work."

Growing up around the game of baseball and the son of a Hall of Fame coach, Mainieri says there are certain strategies and principles that he will always stick to.

"Hate to say it this way, but this is how I sometimes think about it. To go with the guy that I can sleep at night with if we end up losing. The guy that I really believe in. Now the fans may not understand that sometimes because they're not with these kids. They don't evaluate them the way that I evaluate them everyday in practice and everything else."

Take Friday night for example, in the bottom of the 11th inning following singles form Jake Fraley and Jared Foster, rather than bunt the runners over to second and third, the Tigers grounded into a double play.

"Like everybody's criticized me because I didn't have Greg Deichmann bunt, right? OK. You know what I criticize myself for? For taking Chris Sciambra out of the game in the seventh inning. I haven't heard anybody say, he should've never taken Chris Sciambra out of the game, right? But that's where I do my self analysis."

Following another career night for freshman Alex Lange on Saturday, many make the argument for number 35 should start on Friday nights and while coach Mainieri admits it could happen at some point down the road, he says now is not the time.

"I think Alex Lange is phenomenal. I love the kid. And I think he's going to be one of the greats. But would Aaron Nola have been Aaron Nola as a freshman if he was pitching on Friday nights? Sometimes you have to let a guy kind of grow into that roll."

After the tough weekend, the Tigers dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in  Baseball America's Top 25, from No. 1 to No. 5 in D1 Baseball's Top 25 and No. 2 to No. 5 in this week's Collegiate Baseball Top 30.

LSU returns to action against Louisiana-Lafayette (15-10) Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at Zephyr Field in Metairie.

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