LSU departed for the Corvallis Regional a man down after freshman Nick Webre was suspended for a violation of team rules.
Days later his career as a Tiger is finished.
Webre has been granted his release from LSU and will transfer to another school, LSU coach Paul Mainieri announced Thursday at a season wrap-up news conference with reporters.
“I’m very disappointed about that,” Mainieri said. “I didn’t expect that. I had to not take him to Oregon for a violation of team rules. When I got back and visited with him, I thought everything was going to be ok, but he’s made a decision not to return to LSU for personal reasons.”
The lefty-swinging rookie from Lafayette showed promise with the bat this season, hitting .290 with two home runs in 43 games (11 starts). He started at first base for LSU on opening night thanks to a rash of injuries around the diamond.
Joining Webre in departing the program is left-handed pitcher Tayler Petersen, who has also been granted his release to transfer to another school. The former junior college transfer pitched to an ERA of 16.00 in nine innings over 14 appearances this season.
It’s possible, if not likely, that there will be more departures in the weeks ahead, but those are the only two who have been granted releases by the school to this point.
- Josh Smith: Smith has been hitting every other day and hasn’t felt any pain in his back, Mainieri said, but he won’t be playing anywhere this summer. He’s scheduled to undergo further testing on his back and consult with a back specialist in the weeks to come as LSU takes an abundantly cautious approach with its shortstop. “He still remains the most critical factor for our season next year,” Mainieri said.
- Eric Walker: The right-hander will begin throwing bullpen sessions in July and remains on schedule to be a full participant in fall practice, Mainieri said. Walker will take summer classes instead of pitching in a collegiate league this summer as LSU is choosing not to push the envelope.
- Ma’Khail Hilliard/AJ Labas: Both freshmen right-handers missed the Corvallis Regional due to arm soreness, but neither has anything structurally wrong with their arms. Both have been prescribed rest and are being shut down for the summer.
- Nick Storz: It seems the mystery of what kept Storz sidelined all season has finally been solved. He was recently diagnosed with a tear in his lat (below the shoulder) and underwent non-evasive PRP (platelet rich plasma) procedure. LSU hopes he’ll be ready for fall practice.
SUMMER LEAGUE ASSIGNMENTS
Mainieri broke out his handy dandy spread sheet and shared where a handful of current and incoming players would be spending their summers.
Here’s a running list as the coach provided it:
Summer school: Eric Walker, AJ Labas and Clay Moffitt
Off: Josh Smith, Nick Storz, Caleb Gilbert, Todd Peterson, Devin Fontenot and Ma’Khail Hilliard
Acadiana Cain Cutters: Matt Beck
Great Lakes League: Trent Vietmeier, Cade Beloso* and Braden Doughty (Lima)
Valley League: John Kodros
Cape Cod League: Zack Hess and Zach Watson (Harwich) and Daniel Cabrera (Bourne)
Northwoods League: Hal Hughes and Brock Mathis* (Rockford) and Brandt Broussard (Wisconsin)
Prospect League: Drew Bianco* and Gavin Dugas* (Danville)
Cal Ripken League: Giovanni DiGiacomo* and Saul Garza* (Gaithersgurg)
(* = incoming incoming player)
CALLING IT A CAREER
Not everybody gets to choose when their baseball career comes to an end, but nothing about Austin Bain’s career has been particularly ordinary.
The senior received a call late on day three of the MLB Draft from a team willing to select him and offering a small signing bonus, but Bain told the club not to bother.
According to Mainieri, who said he tried to change Bain’s mind, the unquestioned MVP of LSU’s 2018 season had decided that he wanted his last experience playing baseball to be at LSU, adding that no experience could top the amount of fun he had these past few months.
“This was my major leagues,” Bain told Mainieri, according to the coach.
Bain released this message on social media shortly before the coach shared details of his draft day decision with reporters in his office:
— Austin Bain (@Bain_07) June 7, 2018