It’s not actually possible to have a week worse than getting swept by Tulane and a conference opponent. Hitting, pitching (both starting and relief), and defense all turned in sub-par performances last week that led to LSU being unranked in any poll for the first time since 2011. The only remotely good news over the past weekend was that, thanks to the mad house that is the SEC West, LSU is still, somehow, only 1 game back of the division lead. But that news feels more ominous than optimistic, as LSU enters the final month facing 4 formidable West division opponents. Between injuries and youth, there’s no way to tell if this team has the ability to salvage a postseason trip out of the gauntlet ahead. In this week’s injury update, SS Josh Smith says he’s ready to play, but Mainieri couldn’t confirm that he would. Nick Storz might throw a bullpen this week, Caleb Gilbert is out with an undefined “soreness” (read into that what you will), and Bryce Jordan’s knee issue are still keeping him from being anything more than a pinch hitter. It’s a shortened week as a Thursday series at Ole Miss looms on the weekend, but tonight we welcome back an old friend to Alex Box.
Lamar (13-27, 8-13 in Southland) comes to town winners of 6 of their last 7, but struggling overall in conference play, having lost 5 of 7 weekend series. They’ve got no marquee wins to speak of, and tonight is the beginning of a 5 game week in Louisiana for the Cardnials that includes Southern and Nicholls St. Former LSU assistant Will Davis got Lamar to a 33-25 record in his first year at the helm in 2017, but the outlook isn’t very rosy this season. From LSU:
LSU – Fr. RH AJ Labas (4-1, 3.96 ERA, 36.1 IP, 5 BB, 19 SO)
Lamar – Sr. RH Jace Campbell (1-6, 4.39 ERA, 41.0 IP, 25 BB, 40 SO)
Lamar is led at the plate by junior infielder Robin Adames, who has six doubles, four homers and 23 RBI, and by freshman outfielder Cole Secrest, who has four doubles, three homers and 26 RBI.
Mainieri has made comments this week about wanting Labas to be able to go longer outings, and with a Thursday SEC series ahead, expect him to stay out as long as possible tonight. Also, it’s Free Scantron Night for all you anxiety ridden students currently cramming for Finals.
Students, it’s our last game before finals, and Antoine “Scantron” Duplantis (@antoine_dupl) wants YOU to come out to The Box tonight to pick up your free scantron and support your Tigers as they take on Lamar at 6:30 p.m. CT.— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) April 24, 2018
*Limited quantities available* pic.twitter.com/UVAdGf07sB