Baton Rouge, La. - LSU baseball head coach Paul Mainieri only had one thing to say about his freshman sensation shortstop Alex Bregman:
"I hate to say I told you so but I told you so," the soft spoken Mainieri says. "This kid is special. He's got the talent, he's got the make up. I knew that he was not going to be flustered. In fact, I thought he'd be a better player in this environment with the focus on him and the lights being brighter and the expectations being greater and the competition being tougher. It just brings out the best in kids like Bregman."
Bregman has a team high .442 batting average. He is also leading the team in hits, doubles, triples, and stolen bases. Plus, he's second on the team in home runs and slugging percentage and that's with dealing with what he called freshman jitters after leaving his home in New Mexico to join the Tigers' powerhouse program.
"There were definitely some jitters early on, I really had to slow the game down a lot but since I started to figure out slowing it down, just playing like I always have played, like it's another baseball game. 60 feet, six inches to the mound and 90 feet base paths is what I've been playing my whole life."
Starting as a freshman for LSU in baseball is really not all that out of the ordinary but what makes Bregman's story unique is that he's excelling now after not even playing his senior year in high school.
"Missing my senior year was tough, it really challenged me mentally but I think it just made me stronger."
The Tigers have reaped the benefits ever since. They face their biggest challenge this weekend when seventh ranked Kentucky comes to town. First pitch Friday is set for 7:00 p.m.
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