Notebook | Hard work behind the scenes kept Jake Slaughter “ready” when fill-in opportunity arose

By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor

One guy’s tough luck can turn out to be another’s lucky break.

Freshman Jake Slaughter stepped in at first base when Nick Coomes sprained his left thumb in Friday’s regional opener.

It got off to a rough start, with Slaughter overrunning a foul popup in the first inning Saturday that led to a leadoff home run off Alex Lange, but he shook it off and put in a solid weekend from there.

“I’ve had a blast just going out there and being able to play again,” Slaughter said. “I love playing. And on the big stage of a regional, it’s just been fun being able to help the team win.”

Slaughter singled to load the bases as LSU took the lead for good against Southeastern with a three-run fifth inning. He picked up his first RBI since May 9 with a two-out single in the second inning Sunday against Rice to cap another three-run frame and made some tricky picks at first base in the later innings.

“He wasn’t perfect,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “He had a couple of at-bats that weren’t beautiful, but I’m proud of him. He hasn’t gotten discouraged. He’s continued to work hard, and you never know when your opportunity’s going to come. He was ready for it. I think he did a great job.”

It’s unclear how that thumb injury impacts Coomes’ availability for the Baton Rouge Super Regional, which’ll begin either Friday or Saturday, but Slaughter’s performance this past weekend was an encouraging development for a rookie who’d endured some tough times.

An Opening Day starter, Slaughter raced out to hot start before going ice cold at the plate. Coomes supplanted Slaughter at first base on April 11, and Slaughter started only one game for the remainder of the regular season — a midweek game which Coomes missed due to a shoulder injury.

Slaughter has seen sparing playing time in recent weeks as a pinch runner and late-inning defensive replacement. Mainieri praised him for continuing to work hard while waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

“It’s just about waking up early every day and hitting for hours,” Slaughter said. “Keep working hard and tell myself ‘My time is coming.’ Stay positive and believe in yourself.”

 

BA RELEASES TOP 500 LIST

With the MLB Draft set to get underway next Monday, Baseball America released its updated Top 500 prospect list Monday afternoon.

Here’s where LSU’s current draft-eligible players and high school signees show up on the big board. (Note: * denotes signee)

33 | RHP Blayne Enlow*

34 | RHP Alex Lange

65 | OF Greg Deichmann

82 | OF Jacob Pearson*

83 | OF Daniel Cabrera*

167 | 2B Cole Freeman

215 | RHP/1B Nick Storz*

360 | SS Kramer Robertson

361 | LHP Jared Poche’

Here’s a link to the full list. We’ll have more on LSU’s draft-eligible players and signees later this week.

About James Moran 1377 Articles
James Moran was Editor of Tiger Rag from August 2018 to October 2019. He previously served as the associate editor since 2014. He is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


− nine = one