Alex Bregman honored; Mainieri mum on rotation

The honors keep rolling in for LSU shortstop Alex Bregman.

Bregman was named the National Freshman Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball magazine Wednesday, becoming the first LSU player to earn a National Freshman of the Year award since pitcher Lane Mestepey in 2001.

Bregman, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and the SEC Freshman of the Year, enters this weekend’s super regional against Oklahoma batting a team-high .385 with six homers, 17 doubles and seven triples.

In earning the Most Outstanding Player award in the Baton Rouge Regional this past weekend, Bregman batted .545 with a homer and three RBIs.

Along the way, he reached the 100-hit milestone.

“We still have a long ways to go,” Bregman said. “It’s not about how I hit or how I don’t hit. To me, it’s about how LSU does. We’re going pretty dang good right now, and we have to keep that up.”

Bregman was honored by Collegiate Baseball along with Cal State Fullerton right-hander Thomas Eshelman, who was named the National Freshman Pitcher of the Year. Eshelman is 12-2 with a 1.59 ERA this season.

Heavy-hearted Sooners

LSU faces Oklahoma only a few weeks after a mighty tornado roared through Moore, Okla., killing 24 people and destroying as many as 13,000 homes.

“Obviously, our prayers and thoughts are with the people in Oklahoma,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “What they are going through right now is so sad and tragic, and they are things much more important than baseball. Unfortunately, we in south Louisiana kind of know that feeling. We’ve dealt with hurricanes and other tragedies.”

The American Red Cross will be on hand at Alex Box Stadium this weekend and will take donations for tornado relief in the state of Oklahoma.

Up in the air

Mainieri said he and pitching coach Alan Dunn had yet to settle on a starting rotation for this weekend, and indicated that a starter for Game 2 on Saturday may not be named until after Friday’s opener.

Mainieri announced Tuesday that ace Aaron Nola will start the first game Friday.

Candidates to start Saturday for LSU are sophomore left-hander Cody Glenn (7-2, 2.41 ERA), junior right-hander Ryan Eades (8-1, 2.81) and senior left-hander Brent Bonvillain (3-0, 2.76). One of those pitchers would also be a candidate to pitch Sunday if Oklahoma and LSU split the first two games and a third game in the super regional is necessary.

“We’re going to have Eades, Glenn and Bonvillain all ready for Saturday, so all our preparation leading up to this weekend is to have all those guys prepared,” Mainieri said. “We’ll tell them after Friday night’s game who’s going to pitch the next day.”

Eades served as LSU’s second starter throughout the regular season, but lasted only 2.1 innings against Jackson State on Friday to continue a string of rough outings late in the season.

On the mend

Three players who have been sidelined in recent games appear to be making their way back.

Mainieri said freshman outfielder Mark Laird, who suffered an ankle injury during the SEC tournament, is “98 percent” and should be “full-go” when LSU opens play in the super regional.

Also, he said sophomore outfielder Chris Sciambra, who missed Sunday’s game against ULL with a high fever, was expected back at practice Wednesday.

The one Tiger who remains something of a question mark for this weekend is designated hitter Sean McMullen, who tweaked a hamstring while running out a ground ball Saturday against Sam Houston State.

“McMullen did not run again (Tuesday) at practice; he just hit,” Mainieri said. “But he’s feeling like (the hamstring) is getting better every day. We kind of don’t want him to run until (Thursday) and then see how it feels then. That just gives it as much time to recuperate as possible.”

Ticket update

A very limited number of all-session standing-room-only ticket books for the super regional will go on sale to the public at 6 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are available at www.LSUtix.net, over the phone at (225) 578-2184 or toll free at (800) 960-8587, or in person at the LSU athletic ticket office in the Athletic Administration Building.

Standing-room-only ticket books are $30 each and are good for all of the games.