Mainieri says he plans to stick with Robertson, lineup

LSU freshman Kramer Robertson will get a few more cracks at securing an everyday starting spot.

While coach Paul Mainieri’s starting lineup is still in the fluid phase, the coach said he expects to play Robertson at second base and Conner Hale at first to start this weekend when LSU (7-1) plays a three-game series against Yale. The two meet in Game 1 at 7 p.m. Friday at Alex Box Stadium.

Robertson made his first miscues of the season in a 4-1, rain-shortened loss to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Tuesday.

The rookie from Texas will get a few more shots at winning the gig.

“It won’t be just one game that’ll decide. I know who Kramer is. Kramer is a very intense, electric ballplayer,” Mainieri said Wednesday. “He’s a spark plug for our team. I know he’s going to make some first-year player mistakes like he did on the bases.”

Robertson had a base-running blunder and bobbled a ground ball in LSU’s loss Tuesday. He entered the game having sparkled in his first two starts.

He was batting .429 and had several web gems, one featured on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays.

Tuesday’s outing — despite his keen stolen base — was a low for an inconsistent, first-year guy.

“That’s the inexperience,” Mainieri said. “I wanted to see how he’d perform under the brighter lights. Did some good stuff, did some bad stuff.”

After the game, Robertson posted this on his Twitter account: “Baseball humbles you. We will be better, no need to panic.”

Weekend rotation

As expected, ace Aaron Nola will start Friday’s game, junior-college transfer Kyle Bouman will pitch Saturday, and Cody Glenn will start Sunday.

True freshman Jared Poché will start at Northwestern State on Tuesday. This has been planned for three weeks. Mainieri wants to give Poché a road test before choosing which two pitchers will start the Southeastern Conference weekend series behind Nola.

Glenn, Bouman and Poché are competing for the two spots. Poché’s performance against Northwestern State could solidify his place in the rotation. Glenn, it would seem, has an edge for the other opening.

Mainieri still plans to decide on the three SEC weekend starters after Poché’s outing at Natchitoches.

“I think we’ll have an idea,” he said.

If Poché wins a spot in the lineup, he likely won’t pitch the following weekend in a three-game series against Purdue as he would be readying for the SEC opening series against Vanderbilt on March 14-16.

Trio of catchers

Hale’s move to first base affects the team’s one-time three-way battle at first base and catcher among Chris Chinea, Kade Scivicque and Tyler Moore.

One or two of the three will be out of the starting lineup.

Chinea will start at catcher Friday, and Scivicque is expected to remain at designated hitter.

That leaves out Moore.

Moore, a Dunham grad, will be used in a more limited basis behind the plate after Tuesday’s outing. He misfired badly on two throws to second, allowing a pair of steals.

“The throws weren’t very accurate, nor were they strong,” Mainieri said. “That was always my concern with Tyler. Of the three catchers, he has the third-best throwing arm strengthwise.”

Moore’s role, for now, is unclear, but Mainieri said, “I still am confident in Tyler. He’s just not blessed with an overly strong arm.”

Outfield spots

Mainieri said he likes the outfield combination he used Tuesday and plans to continue with it.

Sean McMullen, usually the designated hitter, played left, while Mark Laird replaced Jared Foster in right. Foster started the season batting .130, a reason for him slipping from the lineup.

Mainieri said he expects to play other players in the outfield over the weekend, but his Tuesday lineup is, for now, what he prefers.

No testing the pen

Maineri’s top relievers were ready to face the slew of UL-Lafayette big hitters Tuesday.

They never got the shot.

The game was halted because of rain and lightning in the sixth inning.

“Our guys all felt like we were going to come back,” Mainieri said. “We had (Parker) Bugg, (Kurt) McCune and (Joe) Broussard all lined up. They never got to pitch in the game.”