SEC baseball looking elementary for LSU freshman CF Zach Watson

Credit: seccountry.com

BATON ROUGE, La. —  LSU freshman center fielder Zach Watson is not going to have a crisis of confidence any time soon.


Watson is the hottest bat in the Tigers lineup. Heading into a crucial series at Kentucky, he’s reached base in 24 consecutive games and has hits in the last 12 games. Notably, he’s very aware of those numbers and embraces the challenge of making them rise.


“I think about it every at-bat, every game,” Watson admitted. “I go into the game knowing what streak I’m on. ‘I’ve got to get a hit this game, I’ve got to get on somehow.’ It’s a big thing to me. To do this as a freshman is a big thing. I want to see how long I can keep it going.”


That might sound me-first, but it really isn’t. Watson knows a hitting streak doesn’t mean anything if those knocks come in situations that do nothing to benefit the Tigers.


“I don’t want one hit, but multiple hits a game,” he said. “I want to do my best for the team.”


Plus, he looks at it as a bit of a reverse superstition. Streaks and no-hitters are the types of things that ballplayers don’t mention in the dugout, but Watson doesn’t subscribe to that behavior.


“I’ve got to mention it every time,” Watson said. “If I don’t mention it, I’ll end it.”


His ascent is notable for an LSU offense that went through the doldrums for its first few SEC series. Watson started the year on the bench. Coach Paul Mainieri then plugged him in to bolster LSU’s defense in center even though he was a shortstop in high school.


“It took some getting used to, but after practicing every day I’m very used to it,” Watson said. “I feel like I’ve played it forever.”


Watson spent the bulk of his early games as LSU’s No. 9 hitter. He thinks it was a crucial move by Mainieri that helped bolster a confidence that now seems unflappable.


“It allowed me to be at the bottom of the lineup, and yet I’m the second leadoff,” Watson said. “You need a good guy down there that’s going to hit the ball that’s got some wheels. I saw it as an opportunity to be the second leadoff and get on base one way or the other.”


The experiment worked so well that Mainieri can no longer chance waiting for the first inning to end before Watson steps into the batter’s box. The West Ouachita (La.) High grad has batted in the No. 3 hole in front of slugger Greg Deichmann in LSU’s past two games.


“When I looked at the lineup and saw myself in the 3-hole I said ‘Oh, I like this. I can get on and Greg can drive me in,’” Watson said. “It’s a win-win situation.”


Watson doesn’t appear to be much of a power threat, putting only 166 pounds on his 6-foot frame. But he’s second behind Deichmann on the team with a .475 slugging percentage.


“He doesn’t come across as being a really athletic guy because he’s just not a really big guy,” Mainieri said. “But he’s really wiry strong, and he can run. And he’s got a little bit of that ‘it’ factor too.”


Whether it’s the “it” factor or simply skill, Watson wants to make sure he can keep contributing to the offense and stay in the heart of the order.


“I don’t want to give Coach Mainieri a reason to take me out of the 3-hole,” Watson said. “It might have been a (short-term) thing, I don’t know. He knows what he’s doing. I trust him.”


The post SEC baseball looking elementary for LSU freshman CF Zach Watson appeared first on SEC Country.




Daily Deal

Top Stories

SEC Baseball Tournament Day 6 preview: Who emerges in championship game?

HOOVER, Ala. — The 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament concludes with Day 6 of the competition on Sunday, May 28. No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Arkansas play for the 2017 SEC tournament championship, which starts at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The LSU Tigers came into the tournament as one of the favorites to win the whole […] The post SEC Baseball Tournament Day 6 preview: Who emerges in championship game? appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 7 hours ago
  • 9

Unfazed Kelly Barnhill leads Florida softball back to Women’s College World Series

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida softball coach Tim Walton approached Kelly Barnhill at breakfast Saturday morning and asked the question she had been waiting to hear. “Are you ready?” the coach asked. “Let’s go,” Barnhill replied. And so Walton handed Barnhill the ball and gave her the nod to start top-seeded Florida’s decisive third game Saturday in […] The post Unfazed Kelly Barnhill leads Florida softball back to Women’s College World Series appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 4 hours ago
  • 9

Report: Alabama basketball to play UCF in home-and-home series

Though we are still a few months away from the SEC schedule for 2017-18 being released, the Alabama basketball program has one out-of-conference opponent set in place for the next two seasons. On Twitter, FanRagSports’ Jon Rothstein announced that, beginning this upcoming season, the Crimson Tide will play a home-and-home series with the University of […] The post Report: Alabama basketball to play UCF in home-and-home series appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 4 hours ago
  • 9

Auburn softball great Kasey Cooper ‘proud’ of legacy built, where future headed for Tigers

AUBURN, Ala. — Moments after Auburn softball’s season ended, Kasey Cooper stood off to the side of a group of reporters attempting to compose herself. As the program’s greatest of all time stepped in front of recorders and cameras she tried desperately, but couldn’t hold back the occasional tear. Still digesting the NCAA Tournament Super Regional […] The post Auburn softball great Kasey Cooper ‘proud’ of legacy built, where future headed for Tigers appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 4 hours ago
  • 9

Desalle and Jonass Win the FIAT Professional MXGP of France

The 2017 FIAT Professional MXGP of France was held today at the beautiful Ernée circuit in front of thousands of energetic and dedicated fans. Doubling down on the success of yesterday’s Qualifying Races Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass won their respective overalls in an amazing […] The post Desalle and Jonass Win the FIAT Professional MXGP of France appeared first on Superbike News.
  • 1 hour ago
  • 9

Latest in Sport

Desalle and Jonass Win the FIAT Professional MXGP of France

The 2017 FIAT Professional MXGP of France was held today at the beautiful Ernée circuit in front of thousands of energetic and dedicated fans. Doubling down on the success of yesterday’s Qualifying Races Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass won their respective overalls in an amazing […] The post Desalle and Jonass Win the FIAT Professional MXGP of France appeared first on Superbike News.
  • 1 hour ago

Gators land commitment from safety Trent Whittemore

The Florida Gators added to their 2019 recruiting class on Sunday. Trent Whittemore, a safety out of Buchholz in Gainesville, announced his decision on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/OZWuSco3NM — Trent Whittemore (@trentt_whitt) May 28, 2017 According to 247sports.com, Whittemore also had offers from South Alabama and Troy. He is the sixth commitment in Florida’s 2019 class. The post Gators land commitment from safety Trent Whittemore appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 2 hours ago

Bruce Arena sets U.S. soccer roster for World Cup qualifiers

In Bruce Arena’s first gathering of the U.S. men’s national soccer team this winter, every candidate from Europe and most from Mexico were not available because of club commitments. When he summoned a couple dozen for two 2018 World Cup qualifiers in March, injuries sidelined several potential starters and prompted further changes during camp. But […]
  • 2 hours ago

Singles victories for Hawkins and Shannon at Pre-TT Classic.

The Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races began at a sunny Billown Circuit right on schedule on Saturday afternoon. Notable amongst the non-starters were potential race winners Mike Hose, Bill Swallow and Chris McGahan. Fastest from the lights was Foxdale’s Rich Hawkins; he led by 10 metres as the riders steamed into Ballabeg for the first […] The post Singles victories for Hawkins and Shannon at Pre-TT Classic. appeared first on Superbike News.
  • 2 hours ago

2019 CB Bobby Wolfe announces commitment to Ole Miss

Signing Day 2019 is a long way away, but Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels got some excellent news to kick off that class on Sunday afternoon. Bobby Wolfe, a cornerback, took to Twitter to announce his commitment to the Rebels: All Praise To The Man Above
  • 3 hours ago

LSU softball staves off Florida State for third straight WCWS trip

The never-say-die LSU softball team has done it yet again. And as always, there was nothing easy about the task. The Tigers are headed back to Oklahoma City, completing their road back from the brink with a 6-4 win over host Florida State in Game 3 of the Tallahassee Super Regional. It’s LSU’s third straight […] The post LSU softball staves off Florida State for third straight WCWS trip appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 3 hours ago

Decathlete Damian Warner wins third Hypo-Meeting title

Rio 2016 decathlon bronze medallist Damian Warner, claimed his second straight and third career Hypo-Meeting title in Gotzis, Austria. At...
  • 3 hours ago

WorldSSP300: Alfonso Coppola secures stunning victory in final lap battle

Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) took his debut victory from pole position at the Pata UK Round, in a stunning World Supersport 300 final lap battle around Donington Park. Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) got the holeshot into the first lap but had Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) hot on his tail, whilst home rider Chris Taylor (MTM […] The post WorldSSP300: Alfonso Coppola secures stunning victory in final lap battle appeared first on Superbike News.
  • 3 hours ago

WorldSSP: Unstoppable Kenan Sofuoglu registers third successive victory

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) made another big statement of intent in the 2017 WorldSSP championship fight on Sunday afternoon at the PATA UK Round, taking a third win in three races. He was joined on the podium at the Donington Park Circuit by standings leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Jules […] The post WorldSSP: Unstoppable Kenan Sofuoglu registers third successive victory appeared first on Superbike News.
  • 3 hours ago

Jonathan Rea secures 100th Kawasaki win in tense race two

The PATA UK Round concluded on Sunday afternoon with a dramatic Race 2, which brought victory for World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) after a crash on Saturday, with Rea’s KRT colleague Tom Sykes and Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s Chaz Davies also on the podium. Rea’s eighth victory of 2017 extends his lead in […] The post Jonathan Rea secures 100th Kawasaki win in tense race two appeared first on Superbike News.
  • 3 hours ago

Auburn softball great Kasey Cooper ‘proud’ of legacy built, where future headed for Tigers

AUBURN, Ala. — Moments after Auburn softball’s season ended, Kasey Cooper stood off to the side of a group of reporters attempting to compose herself. As the program’s greatest of all time stepped in front of recorders and cameras she tried desperately, but couldn’t hold back the occasional tear. Still digesting the NCAA Tournament Super Regional […] The post Auburn softball great Kasey Cooper ‘proud’ of legacy built, where future headed for Tigers appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 4 hours ago

Report: Alabama basketball to play UCF in home-and-home series

Though we are still a few months away from the SEC schedule for 2017-18 being released, the Alabama basketball program has one out-of-conference opponent set in place for the next two seasons. On Twitter, FanRagSports’ Jon Rothstein announced that, beginning this upcoming season, the Crimson Tide will play a home-and-home series with the University of […] The post Report: Alabama basketball to play UCF in home-and-home series appeared first on SEC Country.
  • 4 hours ago