BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Paul Mainieri honored on Monday two of his senior players -- first baseman Mason Katz and leftfielder Raph Rhymes -- during the Tigers’ postseason gathering at a Baton Rouge restaurant.
The team met to watch the NCAA Tournament bracket announcement on ESPNU.
“It’s a great pleasure for me as a coach to honor two young men who have meant so much to our program,” Mainieri said. “They epitomize everything student-athletes should be. They are excellent players, but they are even greater human beings who demonstrate the merits of leadership and a strong work ethic.”
Just after the tournament field was revealed, Mainieri presented Katz with the Wally Pontiff Jr. Scholar Athlete Award. Pontiff was an all-SEC third baseman at LSU who played for the Tigers from 2000-02 and died tragically in 2002 due to a heart abnormality.
Katz, a native of Harahan, La., is a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, and he was named to the 2013 SEC Community Service Team last week. He earned his LSU degree in sports administration earlier this month.
Katz is a two-time all-SEC selection, and he has been named National Player of the Week three times during his LSU career.
Mainieri and legendary former LSU coach Skip Bertman then presented Rhymes with the Skip Bertman Award, which goes to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of the LSU Baseball program. Bertman directed LSU to five national championships during his coaching tenure (1984-2001), and he served a highly successful seven-year term as athletics director.
Rhymes, a native of Monroe, La., earned his LSU degree in sports administration earlier this month. He was the 2012 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and a first-team all-American, and he is a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Rhymes led the nation in hitting in 2012 with an LSU-record .431 batting average, and he has a .376 career average in his three seasons at LSU.