LSU first baseman Nick Coomes is healthy enough to play in this weekend’s super regional against Mississippi State. Whether he actually does is up to coach Paul Mainieri.
Coomes sprained his left thumb sliding back to first base against Texas Southern in the opening game of the Baton Rouge regional. Freshman Jake Slaughter filled in at first base for the rest of the weekend, picking up a pair of hits.
Mainieri was not ready to say Friday whether Coomes or Slaughter will start when the first game begins at 8 p.m. Saturday.
“Whoever it will be, it will be a decision I’ll make,” Mainieri said. “Both of them are healthy and ready to go.”
Coomes practiced fully Thursday and Friday.
Slaughter was the opening day starter at first base but gave way to Coomes in April after going into an extended slump. Coomes got off to a roaring start once he seized the starting job, though he had started to cool a bit before his injury.
If Coomes is back in the lineup, he is not likely to occupy the No. 5 spot in the order, as he did before the injury.
Freshman center fielder Zach Watson batted there in both of LSU’s final two regional games. He hit four home runs on the weekend.
“If Coomes is in the lineup, we’ll make some adjustment, but I’m sure Zach will stay in that five-hole,” Mainieri said.
‘THAT TRAIN IS ROLLING’
Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro was long on compliments for LSU on Friday afternoon.
“They are the most dynamic team in the country,” Cannizaro said. “One through nine in their lineup, they have guys that can get on base; they have guys that can steal bases; they have guys that can hit it over the Intimidator. They have freshmen that are hitting home runs and freshman All-Americans and first-round draft picks.
“They have everything you are looking for in a college baseball (team). I give them all the credit, all the respect. They are a phenomenal team. That train is rolling right now.”
As for his team, Cannizaro repeated many of the same things he has said this week, casting the Bulldogs in the underdog's role.
“Here we are,” Cannizaro said. “Nobody expected us to be here. Nobody thought we’d still be playing. … Here we are, it’s big, bad LSU against Mississippi State this weekend with a chance to go to Omaha. There’s not a better storyline in the country.”
BE ON THE LOOKOUT
The winner of the Baton Rouge super regional will play the winner of the Tallahassee super regional in their College World Series opener.
Sam Houston State, which emerged from Lubbock regional as a No. 3 seed, is facing Florida State for a berth in the CWS. Games 1 and 2 of the Tallahassee super regional are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
According to forecasts from the National Weather Service, conditions should be optimal for Saturday night’s game at Alex Box. Sunday's game, on the other hand, could be affected by weather.
Sunday's forecast calls for a 40-percent chance of thunderstorms after 1 p.m. and continuing into the night.