BATON ROUGE, La. — Looking to improve upon its 2017 College World Series runner-up finish, the LSU baseball team sent some of its present and future stars to play summer ball this offseason. And some of those names showed out for LSU on the national stage.
Competing in the just-ended Cape Cod League, rising sophomore Josh Smith starred for the Harwich Mariners, batting .382 with 3 home runs, 12 runs scored, 12 RBI and 5 stolen bases in 22 games. Smith’s teammate in Harwich and rising junior outfielder Antoine Duplantis wasn’t as successful, batting .265 with 2 home runs and 14 runs scored in 23 games.
Elsewhere in the Cape Cod League, closer-turned-starter Zack Hess made three starts for the Bourne Braves, striking out 10 batters with 7 walks and a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched. The LSU baseball team sent one other pitcher to the Cape. Matthew Beck recorded 2 saves but posted a 10.80 ERA in six games, one of which a start.
Infielder Jake Slaughter rounded out LSU’s representatives in the Cape Cod League, batting .225 with 6 runs scored, 2 RBI and 3 steals in 15 games.
As for other summer leagues …
In the Northwoods League (which has yet to end), outfielder Zack Watson parlayed his College World Series hot streak into a summer of success. The sophomore batted .342 with 11 runs, 2 home runs, 14 RBI and a stolen base in just 10 games for the Rockford Rivets. Watson was outdone, however, by LSU-Eunice transfer and LSU catcher Hunter Feduccia, who hit .367 with 39 runs, 39 RBI and 8 home runs in 41 games.
The Tigers also sent pitchers to the Northwoods League. Eunice transfer Clay Moffitt was the most successful, throwing 27 innings in five starts with 18 strikeouts, 15 walks and a 5.00 ERA. Sophomores Nick Bush and Will Reese weren’t as efficient, posting ERAs of 8.43 and 15.42, respectively. Bush was able to make only two starts before heading home with a shoulder injury.
Transfer junior Brandon Nowak also pitched in the Northwoods League, compiling a 5.65 ERA in five appearances, four of which were starts.
The LSU baseball team also sent a host of players to the Prospect League, many of whom are incoming contributors. Freshman outfielder Nick Webre, for example, tore up the Prospect League, swatting 9 home runs and batting .324 with 47 runs scored, 40 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 52 games for the Danville Dans.
Also for the Dans, JUCO transfer infielder Brandt Broussard batted .294 with 2 home runs, 16 RBI, 21 runs and 15 steals in 33 games. Sophomore Mason Templet hit .299 with 15 RBI and a home run in 23 games. Catcher Mason Doolittle had to leave the Dans after 10 games with an injury, but hit .257 with 9 RBI and a home run.
Junior infielder Chris Reid rounded out LSU’s returning players in the Prospect League, hitting .213 with 16 RBI, 11 runs and 7 steals in 23 games for the Kokomo Jackrabbits.