In interviews on Monday, Coach Mainieri told reporters that O'Neal Lochridge's back didn't react well to a full practice and he might be out for the remainder of the season. Mainieri was also very concerned about Jake Latz reaction to his first college outing and is not sure when the highly touted prospect will play again. After sweeping Mizzou and two weeks of lackluster performances against midweek opposition, Mainieri decided to let the team have a Casual Tuesday practice in hopes that the loose atmosphere will translate to better focus.
And the Tigers are going to need it tonight. Southeastern Louisiana (26-11, 13-2 in Southland) is certainly the best OOC opponent LSU will face in The Box this season, and it's debatable whether the road trip to Notre Dame later this year will be a bigger challenge. The Lions are holding on to the Southland conference lead by a mere half game and they've got a couple of OOC pelts on the wall already this year in Tulane and Tennessee. SLU is coming off a rare midseason OOC weekend series loss in Hammond to UL-L last weekend. At the plate, the Lions have the nation's D1 BA leader in JR 1B Jameson Fisher (.462 BA/.769 SLG/.587 OBP, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 34 BB, 16 K) and he's followed by 5 more batters slugging over .500 this season. The Lions are relentless, with 32 home runs on the year and a 68/97 stolen base record, which is even more aggressive on the basepaths than LSU. On the mound, SLU is starting Sr. RHP Pat Cashman (3-2, 4.91 ERA, 33.0 IP, 10 BB, 36 SO) who has started many of their midweek games, including 5.0IP+ stints in wins against Tulane. LSU will counter with So. RHP Doug Norman (0-0, 3.86 ERA, 16.1 IP, 8 BB, 14 SO) on a 2 inning limit, followed by the well rested LSU bullpen that didn't see much action in Mizzou.
LSU's turn around in conference play has put it back in the conversation for regional hosting, but if the Tigers want to stay there, they need to clean up this midweek mess at home. LSU has already lost more midweek games this season than all of the last 4 years and a big win against Southeastern will be a strong bullet point on the resume.