LSU coach Paul Mainieri mulls his options at second base

LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said Thursday he hadn’t decided whether to return second baseman JaCoby Jones to the starting lineup against South Carolina this weekend.

Mainieri pinch-hit for Jones at Alabama last Sunday in the wake of two errors and a lack of hustle on a groundout. Mason Katz moved from first to second and Tyler Moore started at first in a 4-3 victory against Tulane on Wednesday.

Jones played the last three innings when Mainieri removed Moore, who was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and double play.

Mainieri said he was satisfied with Jones’ effort against the Green Wave.

Jones said he was most upset with himself over the two errors, both of which led to unearned runs.

“That makes me more mad than anything,” Jones said. “Since I’ve been here, I have not made many errors. When I make an error, it’s probably worse than striking out for me, because it’s such a key aspect of the game. If I’m not hitting, we’ve got eight other guys, but if I don’t make a play, that’s it.”

South Carolina will start three left-handers just as Kentucky did three weeks ago when Jones went 8-for-13.

“JaCoby’s our starting second baseman,” Mainieri said. “He just needs to do the things that are expected of him. He wavered away a little bit from what my expectations of him are this past weekend. Hence the change. It’s quite possible we could go back to what we were doing.”

Rhymes adjustment pays off

Left fielder Raph Rhymes made a slight change to his approach in the batter’s box against Tulane as he batted fifth for the first time after batting fourth all season.

“I felt like I was maybe rushing things mechanical-wise at the plate,” said Rhymes, who singled in each of his first three at-bats. “I was a little anxious. I wasn’t getting my hands in the right position, ready to hit. I just simplified things and put the bat on my shoulder. I was a little more relaxed, and it seemed to work for me. I just simplified it so I could stay back a little longer.”

Rhymes has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate baseball.

Ten NCAA baseball players who excel on and off the field were selected as finalists for the award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition.

Rhymes, a two-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, is batting .338 with eight doubles, one triple, two homers and 34 RBIs.

Bertman to throw first pitch

LSU will commemorate the 30-year anniversary of Skip
Bertman’s
hiring as baseball coach when he throws out a ceremonial first pitch before Friday’s game, one day after the anniversary.

Bertman’s jersey No. 15 was retired upon his retirement from coaching in 2001. The street that ran in front of the old Alex Box Stadium was renamed in his honor, and most recently, LSU announced that the field at the new Alex Box will be dedicated as “Skip Bertman Field” on May 17.