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Guidry ready to shine again in the pen

When Gavin Guidry decided he was going to be a Tiger, he dreamed about being on the field in Omaha for the last out of the game as LSU wins a National Championship. 

That dream came true this past season, but with a twist. 

One of the best hitters in the state of Louisiana coming out of national powerhouse Barbe High School, it was Guidry’s right arm that got him on the field, as he was on the mound to record the final out as the Tigers defeated Florida. 

Now, back for his sophomore season in the purple and gold, the plan is for Guidry to once again be a big contributor coming out of Jay Johnson’s bullpen. 

“We built him up to pitch last year,” Johnson said. “I’m excited for him to be able to dive into (pitching) and this alone. I want to see where we can get his ceiling. 

“As a competitor, he’s going in the game. When he’s on the mound, I feel like we are going to win. There is untap potential by having Gavin focus on just the pitching.”

Pitching in spots for the first half of 2023, Guidry’s first save came on the road on April 23 against Ole Miss. He would then go on to be an important part of the bullpen for the remainder of the season. 

In 9.2 innings of relief in the postseason, he only gave up four earned runs, striking out 13 batters while only walking a single batter on his way to picking up a pair of saves. 

“I headed into 2023 just wanting to do whatever I could to help my team win,” Guidry said. “When (the coaching staff) asked me to start throwing again, I didn’t even think twice about it. I didn’t think I would be in the position I would be at the end of the year, but that 's how it worked out. I always grew up being a hitter first and pitcher second. But, God has a plan for everything and we don’t control the timing. Control what you can control. 

“Transitioning into this year, it’s the same approach. Show up and attack every day. Do whatever you have to do to help your team win games and compete. Being able to ramp up this fall with (pitching coach) Nate Yeskie has done an excellent job on giving my arm the time it needs to build up. It’s all about putting yourself in the best position.”

Guidry’s relationship with the first-year pitching coach has already begun to start paying dividends. 

“He’s amazing,” Guidry said. “He’s the perfect combination of modern technology but staying old school with the mentality of just fighting and being a competitor. He favors getting guys out over the analytic stuff. Numbers don’t lie. If you go out there, do your job and get guys out, it doesn’t really matter what the analytics say.”

Perhaps the biggest area that Yeskie has helped Guidry is the re-establishment of the confidence in his pitches, in particular his fastball. Known for his breaking ball last season, Guidry is actually working backwards in terms of confidence in his pitches. 

“It’s something that kind of withered away as the season went on last season,” he said of the confidence in his fastball. “Because I didn’t use it that much. Coach Yeskie has said he is not going to pigeon hole me into throwing just breaking balls. That’s not the only way I can get hitters out. I have thrown a ton of fastballs this fall.

“It’s been a fun process. It was never really something that I had to work on while I was in high school. I’ve learned where confidence comes from and that’s complete trust in yourself. Prepare and see things work out. Understand that you can do it. That’s why Coach Yeskie is having me throw so many fastballs right now. That helps the reps and continues to show me that I can compete with that pitch.” 

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