Mainieri tweaks pitching staff to find effective combination
Paul Mainieri isn’t ready to give up on Brady Domangue after one bad outing.
Domangue’s disastrous sixth inning in LSU’s 7-4 win over UNO on Saturday is the sore and throbbing thumb of an otherwise solid bullpen display by the Tigers over the season-opening, three-game sweep.
Nine relief pitchers, excluding Domangue, did not allow an earned run, walked two and gave up four hits in a combined 9.1 innings.
In Domangue’s 0.2 innings, he allowed three runs and walked three.
Overall, Mainieri said, his pen’s performance over the weekend was “pretty good.”
The top three relievers so far seem to be Kurt McCune, Joe Broussard and Parker Bugg.
The group will get its toughest test so far Wednesday at Southeastern Louisiana (2-1), a team that finished 2013 with an RPI in the 50s. It is the Lions’ home opener and is sold out.
“The only one I was really disappointed in how he performed — and I know he’s more disappointed than anybody — is Brady Domangue,” Mainieri said. “I’m not going to give up on Brady Domangue.”
Don’t worry about Domangue, Mainieri said. Pitching coach Alan Dunn is on the case.
Mainieri and Dunn met Saturday night and discussed Domangue, a junior who spent the past two seasons starring at LSU-Eunice. Mainieri brought the Houma native in hoping he could close.
“We’re going to have him do some simulated game stuff against our hitters in practice,” Mainieri said of Domangue. “He’s just out of whack right now. This kid was an outstanding pitcher. He’s got the best attitude, and he’s a competitor. I’m just not giving up on the kid, but we’ve got to get him straightened. We’ve got to work really hard and help him get straightened out.”
Kramer Robertson’s catch has gone national.
Robertson, LSU’s freshman second baseman, had a host of stellar defensive plays in Sunday’s 6-0 win over Grambling — none of them better than his sliding grab of a third-inning fly ball in foul territory.
The catch made SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the weekend, which aired Sunday night.
Even better, maybe: 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III mentioned Robertson on Twitter.
Griffin played at Baylor. Robertson’s mother is long-time Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey.
“(Shoutout) to my boy @KramerR3 #5 on the @SportsCenter Top 10 Plays of the Weekend,” Griffin tweeted to Robertson.
Low O norm early
For the sake of testing his unproven bullpen, Mainieri liked that all three of LSU’s games over the weekend were somewhat close. The Tigers won 2-0 and 7-4 over UNO and then beat Grambling 6-0.
The coach, though, hopes his middling offensive numbers will eventually increase.
LSU had fewer than 10 hits in two games and scored a combined 15 runs in three games against a pair of teams that finished 293rd and 252nd in ERA last season.
“We hit in some spurts, but we didn’t hit enough. We need to be a more consistent offensive team than we were all three games,” Mainieri said. “I think we will. Traditionally our teams start slow offensively.
“I think we’re going to have a good offensive team. We’ve got to figure out the middle of that order a little bit,” he said.
LSU’s No. 4-6 hole hitters went 6-for-36 (.166).
Southeastern Louisiana will start right-handed pitcher Sean Kennel in Wednesday’s game at Alumni Field.
Kennel, from Slidell, went 6-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 10 starts last season.
Kennel will go against LSU’s Cody Glenn, who pitched a scoreless inning of relief against Grambling. Glenn finished 7-3 with a 2.68 ERA last year.
LSU moved up one spot to No. 8 in Baseball America’s top 25 released Monday and remained at No. 3 in Collegiate Baseball’s poll.