LSU ranked No. 1 in preseason Perfect Game college baseball poll

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BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU is No. 1 in the 2019 Perfect Game preseason poll released Wednesday, marking the Tigers’ second designation as the nation’s top-ranked team. LSU was also rated No. 1 last month by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

LSU has earned a No. 1 ranking at some point during the season in seven of the past 11 seasons (2009-19).

The 2019 Tigers return six position players who have filled everyday starting roles, including outfielders Antoine Duplantis, Zach Watson and Daniel Cabrera, and infielders Josh Smith, Brandt Broussard and Hal Hughes.

The pitching staff features junior right-hander Zack Hess, the Tigers’ No. 1 weekend starter in 2018, and sophomore right-hander Eric Walker, a 2017 Freshman All-American who was sidelined last season due to Tommy John surgery.

The staff is bolstered by the return of sophomore 2018 Freshman All-American right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard, and the bullpen features a corps of outstanding right-handed relievers, including senior Caleb Gilbert, juniors Todd Peterson and Matthew Beck, and sophomore Devin Fontenot.

The Tigers’ talented 16-man recruiting class – rated No. 1 in the nation in September – is composed of nine pitchers and seven position players, and it contains seven players that have been chosen in an MLB Draft – outfielder Giovanni DiGiacomo, catcher Saul Garza, left-handed pitcher Easton McMurray, right-handed pitcher Landon Marceaux, right-handed pitcher Cole Henry, right-handed pitcher Jaden Hill and first baseman/outfielder CJ Willis.

Other new players to watch include infielders Drew Bianco, Gavin Dugas and Cade Beloso, catcher Brock Mathis and right-handed pitchers Riggs Threadgill and Chase Costello.

LSU completed its fall practice session in November, and the team will begin preseason workouts on January 25. The Tigers open the 2019 season at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 15, versus Louisiana-Monroe in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU is one of three Southeastern Conference teams appearing in the Perfect Game 2019 preseason Top 10, along with No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Florida and No. 10 Ole Miss.

Other SEC squads appearing in the Top 25 are No. 13 Arkansas, No. 15 Auburn, No. 17 Mississippi State and No. 22 Georgia.

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