If the first two weeks of the season were about finding the pure talent ceiling for this year’s LSU squad, with high profile series against good name teams, this week is about testing the limits of this young team’s endurance. Tonight begins a slate of 5 games over 6 days and will be a tough stress test for the Tiger’s not-quite-ready-for-primetime pitching staff. LSU will start off already down 2 arms it expected to have as FR RHP AJ Labas’ rehab bullpen last Friday had concerning results, so his planned debut tonight has been scrapped. Also on the injury report, relief arm Trent Vietmeier is out through the weekend due to a pulled groin. Tonight Cam Sanders will get the nod and Mainieri has been vocal about the fact that he needs to have a nice long outing to save the bullpen for the rest of the difficult week ahead.
Grambling St. (4-4) has a weekend win over FIU and not much else to hang it’s hat on so far this year. A mid-week sweep against an NAIA team doesn’t really count for anything. The Tigers were picked to finish 2nd in the SWAC-West and have the conference’s 2017 and Preseason 2018 player of the year in Junior SS Marshawn Taylor, leading the conference in batting average (.402), hits (82), second in on-base percentage (.477) and tied for third in runs scored (50). He’s started the season a little slow, currently sporting a .281/.281/.385 and he’s 3-for-3 in stolen bases. Grambling is starting Jr. LHP Christian Marquez (2-0, 3.60 ERA, 5 IP, 3 BB, 4 K) and the lefty should be a nice challenge for the LSU lineup.
Also tonight, LSU will be wearing their excellent faux-wool throwbacks and tickets are just $1. If the rain stays away, it’ll be a great night.