HOOVER, Ala. — Austin Bain was a noticeable absentee as LSU took batting practice at the Hoover Met prior to the SEC Tournament Finals on Sunday afternoon.
The senior first baseman left the previous day’s win over Arkansas with what LSU coach Paul Mainieri called a tweak of his side — he avoided the word oblique because of the lengthy absence such an injury caused Zach Watson earlier this season.
Mainieri acknowledged after the fact that he initially feared that the injury could keep Bain out Sunday and threaten his NCAA Regional availability, but Bain managed to get his name in the lineup at first base and played without incident in LSU’s 9-1 loss to Ole Miss for the SEC Tournament Championship.
“I didn’t think he was going to be able to play today,” Mainieri said. “I didn’t even have him in the batting practice groups because I didn’t think there was any way he was going to play.”
Bain sought treatment from a local doctor that turned out to be helpful. LSU trainer Cory Couture cleared him to take some cuts in the batting cage and do some work at first base, and Mainieri watched him closely before penciling his name in the starting lineup.
Nick Webre came on and pinch hit for Bain in the eighth inning, but Mainieri said that was just a precaution with LSU already trailing 7-1 and the game seemingly out of reach.
“He wanted to play so bad, so I put him in there and it didn’t bother him,” the coach added. “I only took him out of the game once it became lopsided and I didn’t want to take any chances of having an awkward swing and re-injuring it.”
TWANNIE AND THE LEGEND
Pitcher Todd Peterson and outfielder Antoine Duplantis were LSU’s two representatives on the 2018 SEC All-Tournament Team.
Peterson nailed down a two-inning save in LSU’s 8-5 victory over Mississippi State in the single-elimination opener on Tuesday. He then pitched five innings to earn the win in a 12-inning victory over South Carolina on Thursday, punctuated by a two-run double to drive in the decisive runs.
Duplantis went 10-for-25 (.400) with five RBI and eight runs scored to pace the Tigers offensively. Those knocks included two doubles and a triple.
Here’s the full 2018 SEC All-Tournament Team:
P: John Doxakis, Texas A&M
P: Todd Peterson, LSU
C: Nick Fortes, Ole Miss
DH: Edouard Julien, Auburn
1B: Chris Andritsos, Texas A&M
2B: Michael Helman, Texas A&M
3B: Casey Martin, Arkansas
SS: LT Tolbert, South Carolina
OF: Antoine Duplantis, LSU
OF: Will Golsan, Ole Miss
OF: Thomas Dillard, Ole Miss*
OF: Jay Estes, Auburn*
Most Valuable Player: Nick Fortes, Ole Miss
– Ma’Khail Hilliard felt some arm soreness after throwing 97 pitches in his start against Florida on Wednesday night, Mainieri said. The coach shot down any notions that he’d considered bringing the freshman back on Sunday as LSU hasn’t let Hilliard pick up a ball for four days to rest up for the regional.
– Beau Jordan has been out of the starting lineup for the past two days after getting hit by a pitch in his hand, but Mainieri clarified that it was a coach’s decision to start his brother Bryce instead. Beau is healthy and available, he said.
– LSU hasn’t ruled out AJ Labas returning for the NCAA Regional despite missing the SEC Tournament due to shoulder soreness. As a result, Mainieri said he wasn’t sure what role Nick Bush will fill in the NCAA Tournament.