OXFORD, Miss. — Danny Zardon arrived at Swayze Field on Friday evening to find his name included on the LSU starting lineup posted on the wall of the visiting dugout.
What ran through his mind?
“Not much,” the freshman said.
The normal right side of LSU’s infield began Friday night’s 5-1 loss at Ole Miss on the bench.
Conner Hale and Kramer Robertson didn’t start. They were replaced by some unusual suspects.
Zardon got his first start at second base this season, and Kade Scivicque got the nod at first base for just the fourth time this year.
Jared Foster started in left field, his first start since March 23.
The moves were made because of Ole Miss’ starting pitcher. Christian Trent is a left-hander.
“I just looked at our situational stats who was hitting better against left-handed pitchers,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “Thought I’d try that, give some other guys a chance.”
Hale and Robertson have struggled this season to hit against lefty pitching. Hale was batting .200 and Robertson .148 against lefties.
Zardon entered batting .400 against left-handed pitchers. Foster had a .313 average against lefties.
Zardon went 1 for 3 on the night and made a host of assists. Foster went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
“Obviously,” Mainieri said, “it didn’t make much of a difference tonight.”
They were surprising moves. Hale went 3 for 5 in Thursday night’s 4-3 win over the Rebels and scored LSU’s final two runs in the 13-inning affair.
Zardon played second for just the second time this season and got his first start in an SEC game and just his sixth overall. He was moved to third base during preseason practice. He played second with Robertson during the fall. He got his first start since March 12.
“He’s given me opportunities throughout the year,” Zardon said. “It’s not like I was nervous or anything. Just go out there and play.”
Foster had not started a game in more than three weeks and had started two in the SEC. Scivicque had started just three games at first and played only five at the bag.
There were some hiccups early.
Zardon reacted poorly to a grounder that skated by him in the second, but he followed it by turning a tough double play. He scooped up an odd hopper, stepped on second base and tossed to first in time.
Scivicque bobbled a chopper hit toward him in the second, only to corall it and step on the bag.
Through the first four innings, Zardon had a whopping five assists and twice made an inning-ending putout at first with a runner at third base.
With a walk in the fifth inning, LSU’s Sean McMullen extended his bases-reached streak to 12 games. … Alex Bregman went 1 for 3 Friday with a strikeout. He’s now 3 for 10 in the two-game series. He left six runners on base in Thursday’s 4-3 win. … Brady Domangue faced one batter following Cody Glenn’s rocky stint, retirning him. … Henri Faucheux finished the game, allowing one hit in the eighth.