LSU glad Parker Bugg chose baseball over basketball

Parker Bugg regrets it now, but the decision not to play high school basketball may serve the tall, lanky pitcher well.

Bugg stayed away from the game he might have been built for — he’s 6 foot 6 – and has strived on the diamond.

Heading into No. 8 LSU’s game Saturday night against Toledo — a game LSU won easily — Bugg had surged to the top of the Tigers’ bullpen. At least early on, he’s been one of the team’s go-to relievers.

“I think the kid’s got something about him,” coach Paul Mainieri said earlier this week.

Bugg gets his height from his father, who is 6-5. His uncle is 6-6.

His dad played basketball and baseball at Louisville, and he’s the one who suggested to Bugg that he concentrate on one sport.

As a 6-foot-1 high school freshman, Bugg dropped basketball to the chagrin of the school’s coach, who was Bugg’s math teacher.

“He was begging me to play basketball but since my dad played, he’s like, ‘No, it’s going to mess up your ankles and your knees. Stay away from it,’ ” Bugg said. “Kind of wish I would have played, but I think it worked out.”

Think?

Bugg is the only freshman of the 2013 signing class who was drafted and didn’t go pro. The Orioles drafted the San Diego native in the 34th round.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Bugg led all relievers with five strikeouts. He had done it in two innings of relief — in the ninth against UNO last Saturday and in the seventh Wednesday against Southeastern Louisiana.

He worked around a rough start in last Saturday’s win at Zephry Field.

Bugg hit two batters and allowed a leadoff single. The tying run to the plate with one out, the rookie struck out the final two batters.

“I was a little excited (my) first outing in college,” Bugg said. “It was exciting. But I was just pitching and then yanked a couple of curveballs that hit the guys. Relied on the fastball to get myself out of it.”

Newman’s injury

Hunter Newman’s CAT scan revealed better-than-expected results, Mainieri said, and the sophomore pitcher has a decision to make — surgery or rehabilitation.

Doctors are not expected to recommend surgery after the scan, leaving the decision to Newman.

Newman has something similar to a bone spur, Mainieri said.

Lineup changes

Mainieri jostled his lineup Saturday.

Freshman Kramer Robertson replaced Conner Hale at second base, Chris Sciambra was in for Sean McMullen as the designated hitter and McMullen played right field for Jared Foster.

Kade Scivicque played first base as Mainieri left Chris Chinea out of the starting group. Tyler Moore was at catcher. Christian Ibarra moved into the cleanup spot, the third new No. 4 hitter for LSU this season, joining Hale and Foster.