LSU coach Jay Johnson explains his mindset on midweek games

LSU coach Jay Johnson explains his mindset on midweek games
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Last week, LSU lost its first midweek game of the season to neighboring UL, 8-5.

While the Tigers were without second baseman Gavin Dugas, the lineup hadn’t changed much out of the norm and LSU threw five arms to the Ragin Cajuns’ three.

The Ragin’ Cajuns, up 8-3 in the bottom of the ninth, threw their Friday night starter on the mound, Cooper Rawls, to close the game. And despite giving up a two-run home run to Tre’ Morgan, it worked. 

“I’ve been there, I’ve been that mid-major coach and when you’re playing for a top-5 team, you go for it,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said. 

Midweek games are usually non-conference, mid-major opponents — which is a good time for the Tigers to work their bullpen arms to keep them fresh, while providing chances for players who don’t play as much to also get at-bats. 

But Johnson does take every midweek game seriously, and doesn’t underestimate any of them. This week, the Tigers will host Nicholls State at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The Colonels are No. 1 in the Southland Conference.

“We’re playing another first-place team,” Johnson said. “We have a great schedule, we drew them twice this year and it’s a chance to play against a team that is winning their conference.” 

LSU defeated Nicholls in its last meeting on Tuesday, April 4, 12-2 in a seven-inning run-ruled game. 

Last year, SEC teams like Texas A&M canceled its midweek game against Incarnate Word in May as the regional seeding drew near due to RPI concerns. The impact had a ripple effect as Ole Miss, TCU, Liberty and Texas State all canceled their midweeks, citing “mutual agreements,” or “travel concerns.” 

But LSU played its final midweek game against Northwestern State, defeating the Demons, 19-7 through seven innings on May 17. 

“We actually have a team challenge going on with our midweeks — we’re actually like treating it like a regional and so we’re an elimination is how we’re looking at it,” Johnson said. “We didn’t not try to win the game last week — we got beat by a team that was really good and emptied the tank against us.” 


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