LSU in the land of the unranked

LSU woke up in a whole new world Tuesday.

Call it the land of the unranked.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Lamar at LSU,</span></strong><strong><span class="s1"> </span><span class="s2">6:</span><span class="s3">30 p.m.</span></strong></p> <p class="p2"> </p>” id=”9931cf0f-c7a3-4f82-b38e-bd2985deed1a” style-type=”fact” title=”UP NEXT” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

It’s the latest fallout from being swept over the weekend at South Carolina — a four-game losing streak counting a midweek loss at Tulane — as the Tigers fell out of the all four of the major polls for the first time since 2012.

It was the longest current ranked streak in college baseball.

“That’s a run I’m pretty proud of,” head coach Paul Mainieri said.

But he can’t worry about it now.

The Tigers (24-17, 9-9 SEC) will be back in action tonight when they host Lamar before hitting the road again for a Thursday-Saturday series at Ole Miss.

“My only concern right now is beating Lamar,” Mainieri said. “Honestly that’s it. That’s the only thing that’s even remotely on my mind.”

It brings back former Mainieri assisant Will Davis, now in his second year as head coach of the Cardinals.

Lamar (13-37) has struggled this season but has  won six of its last seven games.

Suddenly pitching is LSU’s biggest concern.

Freshman righthander AJ Labas (4-1, 3.96 ERA) will start tonight, trying to regain his form after two straight sub-part outings.

Mainieri often pitches by committee in the midweek, but will be looking for Labas to go as deep into the game as possible.

“We need him to pitch deep into the game as much as we’ve ever needed it after what happened with the bullpen this past weekend,” Mainieri said. “Not just the lack of success, but how hard they all worked. We need a good outing by him tomorrow night.”

In getting swept at South Carolina  — the first time in four years LSU lost all three games in an SEC series — the biggest culprit was the pitching.

LSU got a so-so start from Friday night starter Zack Hess and the first really rough outing of freshman Ma’Khail Hilliard’s young career on Saturday.

Sunday was the weekend’s rare bright spot when Nick Bush, making his first SEC start, threw five shut out innings on three hits and left with a 6-0 lead. But the bullpen promptly imploded by giving up eight runs on eight hits and five walks over the next three innings.

It was similar to the Tulane loss last week when the bullpen squandered a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth while recording only one out.

“We were this close to being 2-2,” Mainieri said of the rough week. “But you have to play all nine innings.”

Bush will likely get another start Saturday in the final game at Ole Miss. But Sunday showed just how much the bullpen misses him.

It was so glaring that Mainieri said that if not for the short week with a Thursday-Saturday SEC series, Bush might go back to the bullpen.

But after throwing a career-longest outing on 89 pitches Mainieri said he wouldn’t want to use Bush again until Saturday anyway. So he will start that game.

LSU could start getting some injured players back.

Mainieri said that Sunday he got a text from shortstop Josh Smith, who hasn’t played since the opening week of the season with a stress reaction in his back, saying that “I’m ready to play this week.” 

That was news to the LSU trainers, who will have the final word, but Mainieri was optimistic.

“He can’t get back soon enough for me,” Mainieri said.

Monday was a day off for the players, but Smith apparently hit on his own in the cages Sunday and Mainieri said he might work on the field Monday.

“I haven’t even seen Josh yet,” Mainieri said early Monday. “I know he’s coming down to the training room in a little bit. I know he wants to play and he’s feeling better.”

Mainieri also said that Bryce Jordan will still be limited to pinch hitting as his bruised knee isn’t yet ready for him to play in the field.

Mainieri said it’s also possible that pitcher Caleb Gilbert could return after missing last week with a  sore arm.

Lamar at LSU, 6:30 p.m.


      3a985770-c033-11e8-8354-93ce06e3805a2018-09-24T19:51:29ZDream 2.jpg””


Jurors take less than 30 minutes to convict Fontenot of murder


Sheriff: Body found on the side of the road


Team Green Wednesday recycling drop-off schedule has changed

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Veterans Cemetery holds burial for seven unclaimed veterans


Commonwealth LNG accused of mowing over threatened bird habitat

Local News

Biden announces Israel has offered a three-part proposal to end the war in Gaza

Local News

Release of 1M barrels of gas ‘not likely’ to ease price at pump


LC man charged with child porn possession

Local News

Scooter Hobbs column: Everything you need to know (and more) about LSU opponent

Local News

Lake Charles, Sulphur populations down, but Hunter says news isn’t all bad


STEM-centric Saturday: Phillips 66 STEM Family Fun Day in the Park this weekend

Local News

Four local educators finalists for state teacher, principal of the year


Trial begins for man accused in fatal Sherry Street shooting


GUILTY: Trump becomes first former US president convicted of felony crimes


Doomsday plot: Idaho jury convicts Chad Daybell of killing wife and girlfriend’s 2 children

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Potential for severe storms into Saturday

Local News

Sowela awarded nearly $300,000 to support mental health intiativies

Local News

Louisiana may soon require public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments


Jury in Trump trial resume deliberations after asking to rehear testimony


Two injured in Wednesday shooting


Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office joins ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign

Local News

LDH urges precautions for mosquitoes to protect against West Nile, dengue

Local News

SUV pulled from same waterway where body recovered earlier this week


LCPD: Ice pick stabbing after fight breaks out in car