When LSU coach Paul Mainieri filled out his lineup Sunday, he did so with some dismay.
He could not recall another time in his more than three decades as a college coach when he listed the extra position players and only saw two names.
“I couldn’t think of (using) a pinch runner,” Mainieri said. “It was basically emergency guys. That’s how thin we are right now.”
LSU was already without opening-day starters at shortstop (Josh Smith) and center field (Zach Watson), and Sunday it was short its regular second baseman as well.
Brandt Broussard “tweaked his groin” in Saturday’s 7-0 win against Sacred Heart, and though he was feeling better Sunday, Mainieri elected to hold him out.
“I just decided we were going to give him a couple days of complete rest and see if he could be better by the middle of the week so it’s not something that just nags him for a while,” Mainieri said.
LSU — which was already going into the season four players shy of the NCAA-mandated 35-man maximum — has played a significant portion of its schedule without some major contributors. And it has managed to navigate that turbulence successfully.
In nine games without both Watson and Smith, LSU has gone 7-2 and outscored opponents 71-37 in that span.
“I think the guys that have stepped in have done a tremendous job,” Mainieri said. I’m really proud of them.”
Austin Bain had never started a game in the regular lineup when he was thrust into the No. 2 spot in the order when Watson injured his oblique during pregame batting practice before LSU hosted UNO.
Since, he has collected five doubles in 34 at-bats.
Freshman Hal Hughes took over for Smith, a shortstop, and while he has been up and down at the bottom of LSU’s order, he has played nearly error-free defense at a premium position.
“It just shows that we’re a really good team, top to bottom,” said LSU hitting coach Sean Ochinko. “It’s a team effort. I told the team last week that I was really proud of them; it’s not just one individual guy, it’s a great team effort.”
Mainieri is eager to have a full roster at his disposal again but said this shorthanded stretch could pay dividends as the season unfolds.
“Anybody we bring off the bench at any time will already be a seasoned veteran,” Mainieri said.
A four-win week held the status quo for the LSU baseball program, which stayed put in each of the three major Top 25 rankings released Monday …
Cador to be honored
Former Southern coach Roger Cador will be honored before Tuesday’s game between Southern and LSU.
Cador’s image will be on all of the game tickets, and LSU will conduct a pregame ceremony honoring Cador’s career at Southern, which ended last season after 33 years.
“Roger is really one of the legends of college baseball, we’ve had him right here in our town for so many years,” Mainieri said. “He’s done so much for college baseball, for young people and for our community. I thought it was appropriate that we give a special honor of him.”
LSU capped a 4-1 week with a weekend sweep of three visiting schools in Alex Box Stadium. It all started with what was easily the Tigers' best…
Odds and ends
Zack Hess was named one of Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s national players of the week after striking out 13 in seven innings Friday … Nick Storz “is getting close” to making his LSU debut, Mainieri said. The highly-touted right-hander threw a simulated game Monday.