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Expect Changes From LSU Baseball After Rough Weekend

Tigers hoping to get Cade Doughty back, will result in lineup changes in the infield

After losing two of three to Oral Roberts, including an offensive dud on Sunday afternoon, the mood outside of LSU baseball has changed as the Tigers plummet down the college baseball standings and are in search for answers. 

But inside the locker room, coach Paul Mainieri and his players are staying confident that this past weekend's results will be a footnote to a long season of success. Mainieri has only spoken with one player since Sunday's loss, second baseman Cade Doughty, and said his attitude reflects how most of the team feels.

"Cade's attitude is very positive with everything. I got a text message late last night from Devin Fontenot and he's not lacking in self confidence," Mainieri said. "These kids will be very resilient, I'm glad we're getting back out onto the field tomorrow and playing a team again. Put this in the rearview mirror as quick as we can and hopefully get better."

The Tigers open up a five game week, starting with Texas Southern on Tuesday and UNO on Wednesday. Mainieri has opted to start freshmen Javen Coleman and Will Hellmers on the mound in those two games but is expecting some significant changes to the infield this week.

One will be a change by addition as Mainieri said if all goes right, the Tigers will be getting Doughty back in the lineup on Tuesday evening. He's missed the last handful of games with a shoulder injury but Mainieri says his progress has quickly sped up in recent days. 

"Certainly there's a lot of things we need to do to get back on track and be competitive in the SEC," Mainieri said. "You learn a lot about your team as the season wears on and I'm certainly learning a lot about our team. I feel strongly that he [Doughty] is not only one of the best players on our team but in our league.

So with Doughty potentially back at second, that leaves the question of where the team could go from there. Zach Arnold could certainly slide back to shortstop or the team could elect to keep veteran Drew Bianco at short as well. 

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The real question for Mainieri will be is he willing to sacrifice offensive or defensive stability? It's a question he used for the outfield but can be attributed to the infield as well. 

Bianco has been a sure hand over at shortstop on the defensive end but has struggled with offense. Arnold on the other hand has been pretty consistent with the bat, batting .341 with three home runs and 10 RBI, but made a few errant throws at second this last weekend. 

Mainieri said he's going to work a number of players out in the infield on Monday to find the right mix and will make those changes based on what he sees. When Giovanni DiGiacomo is healthy enough to play, that will be a question that needs to be answered as well. 

Will Brody Drost stick in the lineup despite his defensive limitations or will Mainieri be quick to insert DiGiacomo back out there because of his defense? 

Regardless, it's an important week for the Tigers to get back on track and Mainieri knows it. SEC play is just two weeks away with No. 2 Mississippi State on deck.

"I think it's a little too early to read into this last weekend. We'd been playing very well and we were hitting a bunch of home runs and pitching very well," Mainieri said. "Hopefully these changes this week can help us get back on track."