Three Strikes: Baseball Continues Fall Practice
Communications Graduate Assistant
BATON ROUGE—The LSU baseball team has completed its fourth of six weeks of fall baseball. Here are three strikes that were key in Week 4.
Recharged Infield: With four key departures from the 2017 season in shortstop Kramer Robertson, second baseman Cole Freeman, catcher Michael Papierski and right fielder Greg Deichmann, the 2018 infield is starting to form. Sophomore Josh Smith is looking comfortable sliding over to shortstop, and Brandt Broussard, a junior college transfer from Delgado Community College, has made waves at second. With Bryce Jordan back at first, and Hunter Feduccia behind the plate, the infield is starting to take form. Defensively, the Tigers appear to be set for another year under head coach Paul Mainieri.
“You lose four starters, you have four new starters,” Mainieri explained. “It seems like every year our team is the top-two or top-three defensive team in the SEC. I think one thing that has always been a hallmark of our LSU program is that we may not have the outright best defensive, hitting or pitching team in the country, but there’s not many schools that I think are as balanced as we are at such a high level.”
The Battery: Junior transfer Hunter Feduccia is continuing on an upward trend and has truly shown his ability at the plate, along with his command behind the plate. He has a presence behind the plate that resembles a complete catcher like Micah Gibbs was for the Tigers from 2008-10. Feduccia has the ability to control the game and provide a serious spark at the plate. As far as the pitching staff goes, freshmen Devin Fontenot and Ma’Khail Hilliard continue to impress on the mound and look to have solid first-year campaigns. Freshman right-hander AJ Labas has also been looking solid on the mound. Last week, the Fleming Island, Fla., native allowed one run on one hit and struck out four in three innings. The pitching staff as a whole is still a work in progress, but there are some definite key pieces starting to align.
“Nobody has looked better this fall than Hunter Feduccia,” Mainieri said. “Our lineup will be solid this year, and we are going to have a few extras who are capable of stepping in. Our pitching staff was the main concern of the fall, and it’s still a work in progress. We need to get to a point where we can count on about 10 or 11 guys. We are about halfway there, and (LSU pitching coach) Alan Dunn is working so hard with all of them to put all of this together.”
Translating to the League: As mentioned above in Strike One, the Tigers are defensive studs, and that has been on display throughout the Major League Baseball season. Alex Bregman has not only recorded one RBI in each of the World Series games thus far, but he continues to impress at third base for the Astros, making the play when it counts most. DJ LeMahieu has been unforgettable at second base for the Colorado Rockies and won the Fielding Bible Award for the top MLB fielder at second base. The former Tiger is also a National League Gold Glove finalist and received the award in 2014. Outfielder Andrew Stevenson was called up late in the season and saved a game for the Washington Nationals with a phenomenal diving catch, and it is impossible to forget the Detroit Tiger outfield with JaCoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook.
“There’s a common thread here—LSU players take pride in its defense,” Mainieri explained. “These players come here with good defensive skills, but it’s something that we really emphasize here. Then, they get on the Major League level, get in the lineup and they do well, partially because they play such terrific defense. Everybody loves offense, but defensive plays always seem to rear their heads at a critical time.
“Alex Bregman has truly distinguished himself in the World Series and in the playoffs, defensively, and I think the whole world sees now what we had the privilege of seeing for three years in what a defensive player he is.”
Lagniappe: Former Tigers Alex Bregman and Will Harris take the field for the Game 6 of the World Series Tuesday at 7:20 p.m. CT on Fox.
WEEK FOUR SCRIMMAGE LEADERS
Monday, October 23
Antoine Duplantis- 1-1 with a triple and a walk
Hunter Feduccia- 1-2 with a home run
Jake Slaughter- 1-2 with a triple
Beau Jordan- 2-2 with a double
Todd Peterson – Three innings pitched, two hits, three strikeouts
Brandon Nowak- Three innings pitched, four hits, one strikeout
Tuesday, October 24
Jake Slaughter- 2-2 with a home run
Hunter Feduccia- 1-1 with a sacrifice fly, a walk and a double
Zach Watson, Antoine Duplantis and Bryce Jordan- 1-2 with doubles
AJ Labas- Three innings pitched, one run, one hit, four strikeouts
Thursday, October 26
Hunter Feduccia- 2-2
Braden Doughty- 1-1 with a double
Jake Slaughter- 1-2
Caleb Gilbert- One inning pitched, one strikeout
John Kodros- One inning pitched, three strikeouts
Cameron Sanders- Two innings pitched, two hits, two strikeouts
Devin Fontenot- Two innings pitched, one hit, one strikeout
Friday, October 27
Zach Watson- 2-2 with a double
Hunter Feduccia- 1-2 with a double
Antoine Duplantis- 1-2 with a single
Mason Templet- 1-2 with a single
Ma'Khail Hilliard- Two innings pitched, one hit, two strikeouts
Daniel Cabrera- Three innings pitched, one hit, two strikeouts
WEEK FIVE PRACTICE SCHEDULE
This is the last week of fall practice before the Purple and Gold World Series. Game 1 of the Purple and Gold World Series is Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Wednesday, November 1
Practice- 3 p.m.
Scrimmage- 5:15 p.m.
Thursday, November 2
Practice- 3 p.m.
Scrimmage- 5 p.m.
Friday, November 3
Practice- 3 p.m.
Scrimmage- 4:30 p.m.