Mainieri Welcomes 16 Newcomers for Fall Baseball
Mainieri, who directed the 2015 Tigers to the SEC title and a berth in the College World Series, said that members of the incoming class will immediately contend for playing time as LSU must replace eight of the nine starters from last season’s batting order.
“This is obviously an extremely important recruiting class for us, having lost eight of our nine everyday starters,” said Mainieri, the 2015 National Coach of the Year. “We also lost three seniors and 11 players total, so we needed a large class. We needed to bring in a group of guys who could compete for everyday positions, as well as guys who could add depth to our pitching staff. I think we may have some difference-makers in the guys that have joined our team.”
The new players and the veteran members of the LSU squad begin fall semester classes on Monday, August 24 and will engage in a four-week period of conditioning drills and individual workouts.
LSU begins its six-week, full-squad fall practice session on Sunday, September 27, and the 2016 season starts on Friday, February 19 when the Tigers play host to Cincinnati in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
“With guys like (returning starting pitchers) Alex Lange and Jared Poche’, along with our other veterans and new players, we have a very formidable pitching staff going into 2016,” Mainieri said. “The main focus this fall is going to be putting together a lineup. With (outfielder) Jake Fraley being the only position player returning to the starting lineup from 2015, we have our work cut out for us.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited over a fall practice. There are so many questions marks and so much teaching because of the new players. To see them compete against each other and see how the pieces fit together will be a lot of fun.”
Mainieri, who is entering his 34th season of collegiate coaching and his 10th at LSU, said he expects the 2016 Fighting Tiger squad to embody the work ethic of its predecessors. LSU is the only team to earn an NCAA Tournament National Seed in the each of the past four seasons, and the Tigers have a nation’s-best 204 wins since 2012.
“We believe in hard work, I can tell you that,” Mainieri said. “The month of September, we’ll do a lot of strength training and conditioning, and we’ll challenge the players. To play at this level at LSU with the expectations of what we have for our program, you have to have committed players. They have to be all in. Everybody has to be pulling on the same end of the rope, and it means they make some sacrifices, and they’re certainly going to work hard. There’s going to be a lot of competition, which I think is good. I think it brings out the best in you.”
2016 LSU Baseball Newcomers
No., Name, Pos., Cl., Hometown (High School/Previous School)
4, Bryce Adams, INF, Jr., Baton Rouge, La. (Dunham School/Delgado CC)
6, Brennan Breaux, OF/LHP, Fr., Scott, La. (St. Thomas More HS)
29, Nick Bush, LHP, Fr., Leesburg, Ga. (Lee County HS)
10, Trey Dawson, INF, Fr., Hurricane, W.Va. (Hurricane HS)
5, Cody Ducote, OF, Jr., Kenner, La. (Brother Martin HS/Delgado CC)
20, Antoine Duplantis, OF, Fr., Lafayette, La. (Lafayette HS)
43, Trent Forshag, C, Fr., New Orleans, La. (Jesuit HS)
22, Cole Freeman, INF, Jr., Mandeville, La. (Lakeshore HS/ Delgado CC)
41, Caleb Gilbert, RHP, Fr., Hoover, Ala. (Hoover HS)
9, O’Neal Lochridge, INF, Fr., Lafayette, La. (St. Thomas More HS)
33, Cole McKay, RHP, Fr., Spring Branch, Texas (Smithson Valley HS)
17, Chris Reid, C/INF, Fr., Baton Rouge, La. (St. Michael HS)
28, Jordan Romero, C, Jr., Baton Rouge, La. (Catholic HS/LSU-Eunice)
44, Riley Smith, RHP, Jr., Lufkin, Texas (Hudson HS/San Jacinto JC)
27, John Valek, LHP, Sr., Parkland, Fla. (Stoneman Douglas HS/Akron)
14, Brody Wofford, INF/OF, Fr., Rome, Ga. (Model HS)