LSU will be without senior infielder Brandt Broussard when it travels to Northwestern State on Tuesday night due to a sprained ankle.
Cause of injury: dogpiling.
Broussard hurt his ankle while LSU celebrated a walk-off single from Josh Smith in Friday night’s 4-3 win over Cal. The speedy infielder remains unavailable going into a five-game week for LSU.
“Brandt was going to play at least one of the games on Saturday, but he was unavailable,” Mainieri said.
With Broussard and Gavin Dugas (thumb surgery) on the shelf, LSU will presumably continue to start Hal Hughes at second base. Drew Bianco has also made a start there this season.
Broussard is off to a slow start offensively this season. He is hitting .161 (5-for-31) in 13 games with 11 starts, all of which have come at second base.
There’s progress on the Jaden Hill front, Mainieri said, just not enough that LSU can develop a timetable for the freshman to get back on the mound.
The soreness in Hill’s right arm has subsided and he “feels better every day,” according to the coach. If he remains pain free, Hill will begin some pre-throwing exercises this week to test out the arm.
“If that goes good, we’ll put a ball in his hand and let him start throwing again,” Mainieri said. “Once he starts throwing again, he’ll need time to build back up, so I can’t really give a timeline on when we expect him to be back available to us.”
LSU closer Todd Peterson has blown back-to-back save opportunities and took the loss in late-game defeats against Texas and Cal.
Over his last three appearances, Peterson has been tagged for eight runs (seven earned) over 2.2 innings of work. He’s allowed 10 hits, walked three and hit a batter during that span.
Mainieri acknowledged there’s reason to be concerned about Peterson’s recent struggles, but at this point, the closer job remains his.
“I love Todd Peterson and his stuff is really good, but his last three outings have not been great,” Mainieri said. “I think the other day was really about location. His stuff was good, he just was hanging curveballs and throwing fastballs down the middle, and they were hitting him.”
The coach continued: “I’m always concerned about everything, but I’m not overly concerned about Todd because I know Todd is a great competitor. I still feel he’s our best option at the end of the game.”
LSU IN THE POLLS
LSU stayed put in two polls while dropping a spot in two others following a 3-1 week. Here’s this week’s set of rankings. As always, last week’s rankings are in parenthesis.
D1Baseball 13 (13)
Baseball America 11 (10)
Perfect Game 14 (14)
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper 10 (9)