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GAMETHREAD: 2019 Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Classic, LSU vs ULL, 7pm, Cox Sports/ESPN3

This past weekend in the bitter cold of a Missouri spring (Why are they in the SEC again?) it certainly felt like LSU’s season is beginning to slip past the point of no return. Zach Hess’ groin injury a mere 13 pitches into his Friday start means that all 3 of LSU’s opening weekend rotation (Hess, Landon Marceaux, and Jaden Hill) are on the shelf. Also joining the triage unit this weekend were Zach Watson (groin), Chris Reid (hamstring) and Hal Huges (thumb), leaving LSU with just 11 position players heading into a difficult Easter week. Nearly 1/3rd of LSU’s 35 man roster is now on the injured list, many with an unknown point of return:

  • Zach Hess (groin)
  • Zach Watson (groin)
  • Chris Reid (hamstring)
  • Hal Huges (thumb)
  • Landon Marceaux (arm)
  • Jaden Hill (arm)
  • Caleb Gilbert (shoulder?)
  • Easton McMurray (shoulder)
  • A.J. Labas (shoulder)
  • (and I think I’m missing a few others?)

It’s to the point where Coach Mainieri is uncertain who will start tonight against ULL or even Thursday for the start of the weekend series against UF.

The Cajuns (19-20, 8-7 Sun Belt) started the season with a very competitive series against Texas, but have been middling about since then, hovering at .500 against both Sun Belt and in-state foes alike. From LSU:

• The Cajuns are 19-20 overall, 8-7 in the Sun Belt Conference … UL-Lafayette won two of three games over South Alabama in an SBC series last weekend in Lafayette

• UL-Lafayette is batting .261 as a team with 40 homers and 69 steals in 96 attempts … the Cajuns are led at the plate by junior outfielder/infielder Todd Lott, who is batting .328 with six doubles, four homers, and 21 RBI … sophomore infielder Hayden Cantrelle is batting .326 with nine doubles, one triple, eight homers and 22 RBI, and senior catcher Handsome Monica has team-highs of nine homers and 24 RBI

Tonight is also, of course, about something bigger, as LSU celebrates the life of a young man taken far too soon.

The game is also LSU’s lone appearance on Cox Sports Television for the season, and as such is available on ESPN3, but only if you are outside the state of Louisiana. The rest of us will need cable, or just go old school and crank up 98.1 fm.