Fraley pulled up lame while running to second after doubling Sunday against Kentucky. The sophomore clutched at his hamstring and limped off the field.
Fraley has not undergone an MRI, only an examination by the team trainer. The LSU coaching staff is optimistic he’ll be available for this weekend’s series against Alabama.
“It scared him,” said LSU coach Paul Maineiri. “He’s had some issues with his hamstrings in the past, but looking at it today, it’s not as bad as we feared it would be.”
Fraley will travel to Metairie with the team but won’t enter the game. Mainieri was not sure who would start in his place Tuesday. Converted infielder Jared Foster replaced him after the injury, with Kramer Robertson coming into the game at second.
Mainieri may move designated hitter Chris Sciambra back into the field, and the Tigers also have freshman Beau Jordan ready to return after suffering a knee injury earlier this season.
Mainieri said Fraley may be limited to DH or a pinch-hitting role this weekend, but the staff just wants to be cautious.
“Our trainer didn’t think it was that bad when he examined him [Sunday],” Mainieri said. “[Monday], it was a little tender to the touch, a little tight. But I don’t think there’s a real bad hamstring pull, tear or anything like that.”
Louisiana-Lafayette (15-10) vs. No. 5 LSU (23-5)
WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, March 31, 6:30 p.m. — Zephyr Field, Metairie
TV: Cox Sports Television
PITCHERS: Connor Toups (1-1, 1.00 ERA) vs. Kyle Bouman (0-1, 8.31 ERA)
LSU’s set to meet Louisiana-Lafayette at Zephyr Field on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic.
Both of these teams were national seeds a year ago. ULL won the only meeting between the two teams in 2014, a 4-1 victory for the Cajuns in a rain-shortened contest at Alex Box Stadium.
“I have a great amount of respect for their program,” Mainieri said. “They’ve done a tremendous job over there…It’s a game I look forward to.”
This year’s ULL team isn’t on quite the same pace as in 2014. The Cajuns replaced a lot of key cogs, and three of the Cajuns’ key starters are freshmen. That’s led to some up-and-down play, with flashes of dominance followed by head-scratching losses.
ULL is 5-5 in their last 10 games, but the Cajuns are coming off a Sun Belt series victory last weekend against Arkansas State. That stretch includes six games decided by two runs or less.
Connor Toups will start on the mound for ULL. It will be only the third appearance this year for the sophomore, and he’s allowed one earned run in nine innings of work. The Cajuns plan to use several relievers though.
Sidewinder Colton Lee has been one of their top arms, with a 2.03 ERA and three saves. Expect to also see Dylan Moore, a freshman with a deceptive delivery, and Chris Charpentier, once in the weekend rotation but has since performed much better out of the bullpen, among others.
Shortstop Blake Trahan leads the team offensively. He’s currently on a 16-game hitting streak and has a team-best .385 batting average. Catcher Nick Thurman landed on the Johnny Bench Award watch list, and he sports a .350 average and eight doubles. Leadoff man Stefan Trosclair has been a bright spot for the Cajuns recently, a transfer from LSU-Eunice, he’s hitting at a .319 clip.
LSU'S TIRED BULLPEN
Senior Kyle Bouman will get the start for LSU. It’ll be his second of the season. Russell Reynolds, who started each of the last three midweek games, will likely follow Bouman on the mound.
“I’m not sure how far either one of them will go,” Mainieri said. “The game itself will dictate it. But I’m hoping they both pitch extended outings based on how tired our bullpen is after this weekend.”
The LSU relievers threw a combined 16 2/3 innings this past weekend against Kentucky. The bullpen also allowed 12 total runs in the three games.
“It’s always a concern, because I’m concerned about everything,” Mainieri said. “But it’s dangerous when you group everything together. You have to evaluate every guy individually. Certain guys you’re confidence grows in, and certain guys you lose a little bit of confidence in because they’re not getting the job done on a regular basis.”
NO LONGER NO. 1
LSU took a tumble in the rankings after a series loss to Kentucky. The Tigers dropped at least one spot in all six of the major polls after landing five No. 1 rankings a week ago.
LSU now comes in at: No. 2 (Perfect Game), No. 3 (Baseball America), No. 4 (USA Today Coaches) and No. 5 (NCBWA, D1Baseball, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper).
“They sky is not falling,” Mainieri said. “I’m as disappointed as anybody…But we’ll have our opportunities. We just have to keep moving forward, but we have a very good team.”