The fallout from this weekend’s disappointing opening series for LSU Baseball continued on Tuesday (THOUGH NOT AS BAD AS THE FALLOUT IN STARKVEGAS, AMIRITE?). Starting shortstop Josh Smith suffered a stress reaction in his vertebrate some time during the weekend series. It was discovered during an MRI on Monday and he’ll have to sit for at least a month to heal before being able to practice again. Freshman Hal Hughes will start tonight in his place and will presumably hold the job during this weekend’s series with Texas. The son of former Oklahoma baseball head coach Pete Hughes (now a volunteer in the Georgia program), we expected Hughes to compete at multiple infield positions this year. Josh Smith’s injury now necessitates an acceleration of his career. Additionally, Mainieri announced that tonight Bryce Jordan will be back at 1B and Jake Slaughter back at 3B, Hunter Feduccia should be starting at catcher after his hand fracture injury, and further lineup changes will come at LF and DH.
Tonight, Alex Box Stadium welcomes home one of it’s favorite sons as Blake Dean and his UNO Privateers (2-1) come to town. The NCAA career record holder for sacrifice flies, Dean’s coaching career is still on a unique rocket shot to future stardom. Thrust into the interim head coaching role due to the early 2nd retirement of Ron Maestri, Dean turned the moribund Privateers, lost for years during UNO’s on-again off-again move through Division 3, into a solid Southland squad with back to back 30-win seasons, something that hadn’t been accomplished on the Lakefront in a decade. UNO also now has a winning streak against LSU, winning both ends of last year’s home and home midweek series. The Privateers spent last weekend in the MLB Andre Dawson Classic, an invitational series put on by MLB’s RBI Academy in New Orleans. UNO got wins over UI-Chicago (5-4) and Southern (14-3) at home, but lost a neutral site game to Alabama St (3-6) out of the SWAC in a nationally televised game on MLB Network (yep, UNO got on real TV before LSU did this season). UNO also dropped a midweek game last night to Jackson St, 2-4. Blake’s younger brother Dakota has graduated, but a big threat at the plate tonight will be Owen Magee (.314/.478/.396) who tagged LSU pitching for 6 RBIs in last year’s series.
On the mound LSU will premiere Jr. RHP Cam Sanders, a Thibodaux native who JUCO’d at NW Florida State CC last year and comes in as a Top Ten ranked prospect. The Advocate reports that UNO is starting Jr. RHP Zach Thompson, a JUCO transfer from Alderson Broaddus University. First Pitch is at 6:30pm on the SECN+ system. The weather doesn’t look great, so be prepared for delays.