Fall Baseball Practice Starts Sunday
Communications Sr. Associate
BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2018 LSU baseball squad will take the field for the first time at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday as the Tigers begin their six-week fall practice period in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The fall practice session, which will feature several intra-squad scrimmages, culminates with the annual Purple-Gold World Series November 7-10. All of the fall practice games, scrimmages and workouts in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field are free and open to the public.
The Tigers, who have been engaged since early September in strength and conditioning drills and individual workouts, begin the 2018 season on February 16, when LSU opens a three-game series with Notre Dame in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU’s home schedule also features a three-game series versus Texas and SEC series matchups against Mississippi State, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who directed the Tigers to the national runners-up finish at the 2017 College World Series, said that fall practice is significant in the growth of his team.
“We will have a lot of new faces on this year’s team, and we can’t wait to start fall practice,” said Mainieri, entering his 12th season at LSU. “We have the right blend of youth and experience to develop into an outstanding club, and I know our fans will enjoy watching the 2018 Tigers play against some great competition.”
LSU returns six position players who filled everyday starting roles last season, including outfielders Antoine Duplantis, Zach Watson and Beau Jordan, and infielders Josh Smith, Jake Slaughter and Nick Coomes.
Infielders Chris Reid and Rankin Woley are other veteran players with starting experience, and the Tigers will be bolstered by the return of infielder/catcher Bryce Jordan, who missed the entire 2017 season due to a knee injury.
LSU, however, will have to replace its entire weekend starting pitching rotation as Alex Lange and Jared Poche’ have moved on to professional baseball , and right-hander Eric Walker, a 2017 Freshman All-American, will be sidelined in 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this month.
Junior right-hander Caleb Gilbert (7-1, 2.16 ERA in 2017) and sophomore right-hander Zack Hess (7-1, 3.12 ERA, four saves in 2017) are the top returning members of the LSU staff, which also includes veteran pitchers Austin Bain, Nick Bush, Matthew Beck, Todd Peterson and Will Reese.
The Tigers’ talented group of 18 newcomers contains four players that were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft – right-handed pitcher AJ Labas, right-handed pitcher Cameron Sanders, outfielder/left-handed pitcher Daniel Cabrera and right-handed pitcher Nick Storz.
“This will be a unique season for us in the sense that if you have a 35-man roster with 18 new players, literally more than half of your entire roster will be brand new,” Mainieri explained. “We have a lot of work to do, and we probably won’t enter the season as highly-touted as we were this past year. I feel very confident about this group, though, and I’m really looking forward to working with them.
“With 11 new pitchers and three new catchers on the roster, our two biggest priorities going into the fall are determining who will fill roles on the mound and behind the plate. Our expectation will be, as it always is at LSU, to have our team in position to play for championships at the end of the year.”