Conner Hale said his left elbow “didn’t feel that bad” after getting plunked with a fastball in the bottom of the third inning against UNO on Tuesday.
In fact, he tried to stay in the game, advancing all the way to third base in the frame. It would be the last time the senior would touch the bag in a contest in three days.
“I started running the bases, and it tightened up a lot,” Hale said. “That’s when I couldn’t even really move it. I told (trainer Cory Couture) in between innings, and he took me out of the game.”
After missing Wednesday’s matchup against Northwestern State and receiving “hours” of treatment, Hale says he “feels good enough” to return to the hot corner when Auburn arrives at Alex Box Stadium on Friday.
The Florida native took grounders at third base during Thursday’s practice, though he wasn’t making throws to first base. The biggest obstacle to overcome was swinging the bat.
“I took a few (swings) in the cages, but I haven’t taken any live yet,” Hale said. “I’m about to see how it feels.”
When Hale’s next at-bat comes around, he’ll have a little extra protection to prevent any déjà vu situations. He broke out the elbow guard for the first time in his career on Thursday.
“I’ve never worn an elbow guard before, so it’s going to take a little getting used to,” Hale said. “But I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal.”
Coach Paul Mainieri is hopeful Hale can play but declined to reveal a backup plan if he wasn’t able to go. Freshman Grayson Byrd and sophomore Danny Zardon practiced with Hale at third on Thursday.
Freshman Jake Godfrey may have been booted from the Sunday slot, but that doesn’t mean he’s seen the last of the mound on the weekends.
After throwing 53 pitches Wednesday against Northwestern State, Godfrey will be available as a reliever against Auburn, Mainieri said. Freshman Austin Bain is replacing him this weekend in the No. 3 slot on Sunday.
“He went through a phase, and hopefully he’ll be ready to go,” Mainieri said. “We took him out after 50 pitches to keep open the possibility for Sunday, and he might even be available for Saturday.”
The chance of rain in Alex Box Stadium this weekend? It certainly isn’t “never.”
There’s an 80 percent chance of rain on Friday and Saturday, followed by a 90 percent chance on Sunday.
As of Thursday afternoon, LSU made no plans to adjust the three games against Auburn.
“We’re just going to have to deal with it,” Mainieri said. “Whatever happens, happens. We’re hopefully going to be able to get the games in uninterrupted. You certainly want to play your home games and not have them affected or cancelled by rain. We’re just going to have to play it by ear.”
Three LSU players were named to the midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list – junior shortstop Alex Bregman, senior catcher Kade Scivicque and freshman pitcher Alex Lange.
Bregman was on the preseason watch list, and he was a semifinalist for the award in 2013.