Three Louisiana college baseball teams are ranked in the first preseason poll. Collegiate Baseball has UL Lafayette ranked sixth, LSU is ranked seventh and Tulane is ranked 19th. Tigers Coach Paul Mainieri says it's nice to see his team ranked in the top ten.
"I wasn't sure where we would be in the preseason polls," Mainieri said. "I didn't know if people would place more emphasis on if we had more pitchers returning or if we lost so many everyday players."
LSU reached the College World Series last season and return one of the top pitchers in the country in Alex Lange. However, they must replace eight of nine everyday starters from last season's batting order. Mainieri says he's excited that Lange and veteran left hander Jared Poche will anchor their pitching staff in 2016.
"Both of those guys are proven winners, they are great competitors with talent," Mainieri said.
LSU's incoming class was rated number seven in the nation in the annual Collegiate Baseball rankings. Mainieri says they'll count on a couple of those players right away.
"The kid that will replace (Alex) Bregman at short is Trey Dawson and he'll be a vital player for us. I think a name that a lot of Tiger fans will become well acquainted with is Antonie Duplantis, a young outfielder from Lafayette that I think is going to be a superstar in our league," Mainieri said.
The Tigers will begin preseason workouts on January 29th. The season opener is February 19th versus Cincinnati in Alex Box Stadium.