OF Sciambra out for season

LSU is headed for the toughest stretch of its baseball schedule and will have to play that stretch, and the rest of its schedule, without its starting center fielder.

Freshman Chris Sciambra was lost for the season after breaking a vertebrae in his neck in a collision with the center field wall Sunday in LSU's 4-3 win over Auburn.

The university announced the injury - a non-displaced fracture of the C-1 vertebrae in his neck - Monday. An LSU news release said his spinal column was not affected by the injury.

"All indications are that he's going to make a full recovery," LSU coach Pal Mainieri said in the news release. "He's going to have to wear a neck brace for three months, and he's out for the rest of our season and most likely for the summer as well.

"We're hopeful he'll be able to join us for practice this fall, and he'll be ready to go next season."

Sciambra, a local star who played at Baton Rouge's Catholic High School, was batting .246 with 10 runs scored and 11 RBIs.

When he left the game Sunday, he was replaced by Mason Katz, who moved to center field from first base for the remainder of the game.

Katz is one of of the main candidates to become LSU's new center fielder. JaCoby Jones is also a likely candidate to move there, as is Jared Foster. Jones has been LSU's starting second baseman (including Sunday's game). Foster has been a utility outfielder.

No. 14 LSU lost Sciambra just as it was headed a brutal stretch of its schedule, starting with this weekend's series against No. 3 Arkansas at Alex Box Stadium. That's followed by a series at No. 1 Florida, then two weeks later a trip to No. 7 Kentucky.