Alex Bregman returned to Baton Rouge to deliver the keynote address at the First Pitch Banquet.
LSU Athletics Creative Services

Bregman Headlines First Pitch Banquet

Bill Franques
Bill Franques
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU All-American and Houston Astros World Series Champion Alex Bregman highlighted the LSU Baseball First Pitch Banquet Sunday night at Celtic Studios.

Bregman delivered the keynote speech to a sellout crowd of over 1,100 fans, recounting the impact of his experiences at LSU and how they contributed to his Major League Baseball success.

Bregman, a two-time first-team All-American at LSU and the winner of the 2013 Brooks Wallace Award as the nation’s best college shortstop, also talked about the importance of leadership and trust within a team, important characteristics that helped carry the Astros to their first World Series title in 2017.

Bregman is the Astros’ starting third baseman, and he provided the defining moment of the World Series with a 10th-inning, walk-off base hit that lifted Houston to a Game 5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros went on to win the Series in seven games, clinching the title in Los Angeles.

The First Pitch Banquet is an annual event that signifies the start of the college baseball season. The members of the Tigers' 2018 team were introduced at the start of the evening, which also featured remarks by coach Paul Mainieri, who is entering his 12th season at LSU.

Mainieri has directed the Tigers to 29 different championships since 2008, including the 2009 College World Series title. LSU has been an NCAA Tournament National Seed in eight of the past 10 seasons, including the past six in a row.

“I’m really proud of eight national seeds in 10 years, six in a row,” Mainieri said. “I think it demonstrates the consistency we have within our program. We have a 99 percent renewal rate for season ticket holders. People are loving coming to the games and enjoy watching our players. They are great kids. They hustle, they play fundamentally sound, they compete, they don’t give up and we win championships.”

The audience also heard from some of the current Tigers, as freshman pitcher Nick Storz, freshman infielder Hal Hughes, sophomore pitcher Zack Hess, junior outfielder Antoine Duplantis and senior outfielder Beau Jordan provided an inside look at the 2018 squad.

Mainieri said the Tigers, who are ranked as high as No. 9 and as low as No. 17 in the preseason polls, are focused upon the goal of reaching the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., for the 19th time in school history.

“I don’t care if people want to underestimate us in the polls this year, it doesn’t matter,” Mainieri said. “I like this team. I’m excited about seeing their improvement as the year goes on. We are going to have some disappointing days, and it will be part of the learning experience. But, when May and June roll around, I have a sneaking suspicion we will be right back in the hunt.”

LSU opens the season at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 16, when the Tigers play host to Notre Dame in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.