Left-hander Cody Glenn gets a crack at being a mid-week starter for LSU for the second consecutive season, but the Tigers don’t think they’re starting the same pitcher as last season.
The sophomore version of Glenn is expected to be much more effective than the freshman version when LSU plays Lamar at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium.
“Cody’s a much better pitcher now; there’s no doubt about it,” Tigers coach Paul Mainieri said. “(Pitching coach) Alan Dunn has done some tremendous work with him, and you can see his evolution.”
Mainieri had hoped to make Glenn a regular midweek starter last season, but Glenn didn’t perform as well as Mainieri had hoped.
Glenn made his debut in relief against McNeese State and gave up two runs in his first inning. He settled down, though, and followed that with two scoreless innings and got a win.
In his only midweek starts against Grambling, Southern and Louisiana College, Glenn lasted a total of just seven innings and gave up 14 hits and eight runs, six earned, though he did strike out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
After that, Glenn wound up in the bullpen and finished the season with a 1-0 record and a 5.62 ERA. In all, he pitched 16 innings in 11 appearances.
“This time around I think I’ve proven to myself that I can do it,” Glenn said. “I’m a lot more confident than I was. I think I was a little nervous last year. That’s completely out of the way now and now I’m ready to prove to coach and all the fans that I can do it.”
Mainieri said he thought Glenn, who was an all-state pitcher at Westbury Christian High School in Houston two years ago, underestimated how much bigger a challenge major college baseball would be, a critique Glenn said was fair.
“In high school my thought process was if it was a strike it was a good pitch because they usually didn’t hit it,” Glenn said. “It just didn’t work out that way in college. It took me a while to figure out what my mindset needed to be and how to pitch here to be effective and to win.”
Glenn said he “got a lot better” thanks to the 59 innings he pitched in the Northwoods League last summer. He made nine starts among his 14 appearances and had a 3.51 ERA. He was 3-4 with two saves.
Mainieri isn’t necessarily looking for a regular midweek starter, but there is an opportunity for Glenn to earn a prominent role out of the bullpen and perhaps be a spot starter.
“If he gives us five good innings (Tuesday), I’m going to be extremely happy,” Mainieri said. “I just want to see him go out there and command the zone and trust his stuff and use his movement and his off-speed pitches and he’ll give us a chance to win if he does that.”
Mainieri, who used five relievers in a 14-3 victory against Maryland on Sunday, expects to use multiple relievers again. Nick Rumbelow (oblique) and Kurt McCune (back spasms) are still sidelined.
“We’re going to be thin out of the bullpen again with only one day’s rest,” he said.
LSU is coming off a three-game weekend sweep in which it outscored the Terrapins 20-4, batted .302 as a team and held Maryland’s hitters to a batting average of .211.
Center fielder Chris Sciambra, playing for the first time since suffering a neck injury in March, had a .750 on-base percentage. He was 5-for-8 and walked four times as the Tigers leadoff hitter.
Freshman shortstop Alex Bregman batted .455 (5-for-11) with two RBIs and two runs scored. Second baseman JaCoby Jones batted .429 (3-for-7), hit LSU’s first homer of the season and walked four times for a .636 on-base percentage.
Lamar swept four games at home against Northern Kentucky over the weekend, batting .399 as a team.
The Tigers defeated Lamar 5-4 on April 18 in Alex Box Stadium, but the Cardinals lead the all-time series, 5-2.