Left-handers form back end of LSU Tigers rotation

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIGLSU pitcher Aaron Nola hands the ball left-hander Brent Bonvillain in the top of the fifth inning of an April 29 game against Georgia. Bonvillain, who went 4-0 in 22 appearances last year, could be a midweek or Sunday starter this season.
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIGLSU pitcher Aaron Nola hands the ball left-hander Brent Bonvillain in the top of the fifth inning of an April 29 game against Georgia. Bonvillain, who went 4-0 in 22 appearances last year, could be a midweek or Sunday starter this season.

Left-handers Cotton, Bonvillain, Glenn form back end of rotation

LSU coach Paul Mainieri has
finalized his starting rotation — sort of.

The Sunday and midweek starting spots will be handled by three left-handers — Chris Cotton, Brent Bonvillain and Cody Glenn — depending on what happens Friday and Saturday.

Cotton, who will also be the Friday night closer, will get the Sunday start if he doesn’t have too taxing an outing on Friday. If Cotton is unavailable to start Sunday, Bonvillain will start. If Cotton goes on Sunday, Bonvillain will start mid-week, bumping Glenn to the bullpen.

Got it?

Everything, though, is subject to change because of injury and performance.

“So many decisions that you make before the season change as time goes on,” Mainieri said.

Mainieri began last season with Kurt McCune starting Sundays, and McCune was replaced by Aaron Nola when Southeastern Conference play began. Glenn was scheduled to be a regular midweek starter, but that role wound up being done by committee. That could be the case again once SEC play begins.

“Cody Glenn may have made the biggest improvement of all our pitchers,” Mainieri said. “I think he came in last year and thought it was going to be easy, and he found out it’s not so easy at this level.”

Glenn, who had a 5.62 ERA in 16 innings as a freshman last season, had a 3.50 ERA while throwing 59 innings in the Northwoods League last summer.

Mainieri had previously announced that Nola will start the season opener against Maryland on Friday night in Alex Box Stadium and Ryan Eades will start Saturday. But after the first two weekends, those right-handers’ roles could be reversed if Eades raises his game in his first two starts.

Sciambra, Laird to bat 1-2

Sophomore Chris Sciambra of Catholic High will start in center field and bat leadoff, and freshman Mark Laird of Monroe will start in right field and bat second, Mainieri said.

Sciambra had just established himself as a starter last year when he suffered a season-ending neck injury as he crashed into the outfield wall at Auburn in the second SEC series last season.

That fills two of the three spots that were remaining in the opening-day lineup. The last undecided spot is designated hitter, which will be based in part on whether Maryland starts right-hander or a left-hander.

Tyler Moore would likely DH against a right-hander, and Alex Edward against a left-hander.

LSU clinics scheduled

The LSU baseball team will conduct free instructional clinics in eight Louisiana cities during the season. The clinics are designed for elementary and middle school players through the 8th grade. Here is the schedule of clinics:

Feb. 25 — Tee Joe Park,
Gonzales, 6 p.m.

March 9 — Slidell Bantam Baseball, Slidell, 11 a.m.

March 11 — Broadmoor Park, Lafayette, 6 p.m.

March 19 — Pelican Park, Mandeville, 6 p.m.

March 23 — Johnny Downs Sports Complex, Alexandria, 11 a.m.

March 27 — Pontiff
Playground, Metairie, 6 p.m.

April 6 — Weaver Park,
Lake Charles, 11 a.m.

Monday, April 22 — Broadmoor Park, Houma, 6 p.m.

For information, call the LSU baseball office at (225) 578-4148.