LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri isn’t particularly superstitious, but he doesn’t mind crossing his fingers when the occasion arises.
Like Monday when Tigers’ starting sophomore second baseman Cade Doughty and senior pitcher Matthew Beck had injuries evaluated by doctors as No. 8 ranked LSU (6-1) prepared for a Tuesday 6 p.m. non-conference game vs. Nicholls (2-4) at Alex Box Stadium.
While Beck felt elbow tightness pitching in last Wednesday’s win at UL-Lafayette, Doughty dislocated a shoulder when a teammate bumped him in the dugout after a home run by LSU’s Drew Bianco in the Tigers’ win Saturday night over Nicholls.
Doughty batted .429 (9-for-21) in the Tigers’ five wins last week with two doubles, one triple, two homers, nine RBI and three runs scored. He raised his batting average to .321 with a team-best 10 RBIs and he has played errorless baseball in the field while handling 27 chances.
When Bianco hit one of his two homers against Nicholls, Doughty raised his arm to celebrate.
“Somebody that was standing behind him bumped into the back of his shoulder,” Mainieri said. “It was an innocent thing, but hit his shoulder in such an awkward way that it sent a pain through his left shoulder.”
The shoulder was dislocated but popped back into place.
“Hopefully it’s something that maybe just traumatized it a little bit and nothing too serious,” Mainieri said. “That’s what we’re keeping our fingers crossed for.”
Apparently, finger-crossing works. Mainieri told LSU beat writer Wilson Alexander late Monday afternoon that an arthrogram of Doughty’s shoulder showed he has “no structural damage.” Mainieri said he is “cautiously optimistic” about Beck.
Beck, a graduate student, has a 0.00 ERA and has allowed one hit in three appearances this season. He also had a 0.00 ERA in 12 innings last year.
Mainieri has tapped freshman left-hander Javen Coleman for Tuesday’s start, the first of Coleman’s career. He’s 1-0 with 2.45 ERA in 3.2 innings pitched with 7 strikeouts and a walk, all in a victory last Monday over Louisiana Tech.
“Our intention has always been to utilize Javen Coleman as a midweek starter, and I see a great future for this kid,” Mainieri said. “He’s capable of one day being a weekend starter at LSU. I’m sure he’s going to be pumped up, so have to make sure we manage his emotions and he stays in the strike zone.”
LSU won all five of its games last week, hitting .332 in with 52 runs, 62 hits, 10 doubles, one triple and 13 homers.
Freshman outfielder Brody Drost hit .500 (6-for-12) for the week with one double, one homer, three RBIs, four runs scored and one stolen base.
Freshman right fielder Dylan Crews, LSU’s leadoff hitter, hit .400 (8-for-20) with two doubles, two homers, three RBIs and seven runs. He’s batting a team-high .429 with a .543 on-base percentage.
“We have some special freshmen hitters this year that have come in and made a big difference,” Mainieri said. “Not only do they have talent, they are also very coachable and they’re very poised for freshmen.”