BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Despite a 5-0 week, LSU baseball isn’t ranked in the top 10 right now and the Tigers are still three weeks from having to face any ranked opponents or top notch competition in the SEC, where five of the nation’s top six or seven teams reside.
But Paul Mainieri’s crew is currently ranked top six in the nation in home runs, bashing 15 out of the park in just seven games so far.
The power surge started on Monday, Feb. 22, with a game-tying grand slam from Gavin Dugas against Louisiana Tech and hitting coach Eddie Smith said it has spread like wildfire through a roster of really talented rookies because of confidence and belief - a contagious situation that carried over to the weekend and a four-homer Friday night.
Smith said the emphasis on hitting the ball hard with less than two strikes, not so much swinging for the fences, came about, at least in part, because of some conversations held right after the Tigers’ only loss of the season to Air Force.
“I think that we’ve just taken on more of an animal instinct, you know; you’re on the attack,” said Smith. “When you see the great white shark on the Discovery Channel going to get its dinner, it’s not sitting there thinking, ‘Well, hey, is that seal going to be swimming right or left?’ It’s just going to get the seal. And it’s staying on the attack. You know, it’s an image and a graphic we like to use with our players all the time. ‘Hey, when the tiger’s in the jungle hunting, it’s not calculating anything. It’s just going for the attack.’”
“Certainly, the SEC is going to be a notch up but it’s not like we’re facing guys throwing underhand out there,” added Mainieri.
“They just encouraged us like, ‘Hey, let’s go out there and let it rip with less than two strikes. I want to see you swinging hard and aggressive and getting the barrel out and stop with this passive stuff,’” explained Drew Bianco. “And like, first, he goes, ‘First round of BP, I want to see how many home runs you can hit.’ And ever since then, we’ve gone out with that mindset every at-bat.”
Bianco has two home runs in eight trips to the plate.
- March 1 Baseball National Rankings, Report
- No. 11 LSU shuts out Nicholls St., 14-0
- Walk-off HR by Cady Doughty lifts No. 11 LSU over Youngstown St., 5-3
- No. 11 LSU homers its way to 6-2 win over Youngstown State
- No. 11 Tigers blast Ragin Cajuns, 11-2
- Grand slam by Dugas ignites explosion of runs in No. 11 LSU’s 16-7 win over La. Tech
Mainieri also said he’s cautiously optimistic that injuries to Cade Doughty and Matthew Beck aren’t serious.
He plans to start impressive freshman lefty Javen Coleman against Nicholls State in the first of two midweek games.
The Tigers will host the Colonels (2-4) again Tuesday before Southern (0-6) makes the cross-town trip to The Box on Wednesday. Both games will start at 6:30 p.m. and be available to watch on SEC Network+.
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