BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU is ranked No. 5 in the 2013 Perfect Game preseason poll released this week, marking the Tigers' second preseason Top 5 ranking. LSU is No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball poll released last month.
The Tigers are the reigning SEC champions and were the NCAA Tournament No. 7 National Seed last season. LSU is one of four Southeastern Conference teams appearing in the Perfect Game Top 10, along with No. 2 Arkansas, No. 3 Vanderbilt and No. 7 Florida.
LSU opens the 2013 season at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 15 versus Maryland in Alex Box Stadium.
Rhymes, a 2012 first-team all-American and the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, hit an NCAA-leading .431 (100-for-232) last season, establishing an LSU record for single-season batting average. The Monroe, La. native recorded 11 doubles, four homers, 53 RBI, a .530 slugging percentage and a .489 on-base percentage.
Rhymes, a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, led the conference in hits (100) and on-base percentage (.489), and he was No. 5 in the league in RBI (53), No. 6 in slugging percentage (.530) and No. 8 in total bases (123).
Ross, a native of Naples, Fla. is entering his third season as LSU's starting catcher. He batted .292 in 2012 with six doubles, one triple, three homers and 41 RBI. A member of the 2012 SEC Academic Honor Roll and the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team, Ross threw out 16 runners attempting to steal last season.
Jones, a product of Richton, Miss., is LSU's starter at second base for the third straight year. He hit .253 last season with 13 doubles, one triple, four homers and 29 RBI, and he led the Tigers with 11 steals. Jones was named SEC Player of the Week last May after pacing LSU to a series win at Ole Miss.