After defying the rankings and taking two of three from Vanderbilt, the Tigers are back in the top 10. LSU’s ranked 9th in the nation, according to Baseball America.
If they continue to hit the way they have the last few weeks, there’s no reason they can’t continue their climb. Since their series at Auburn to start the month of April, the Tigers average more than eight runs per game with a 5-2 record. Their 13 runs against Vanderbilt to open the series last Thursday is the most against the Commodores all season.
On top of that success, LSU will also get some help on the mound. Sophomore Jake Latz, part of their top ranked recruiting class of 2014, will make his long-awaited debut against McNeese State on Tuesday.
“It’s been a big buildup of what I’ve been looking forward to for two years now,” says Latz. “But once the first pitch is out there, and I get used to the crowd and everything, it’ll just be baseball and pitching again.”
As happy as everyone is to see Latz in real game action, you can’t help but ask: what if he was available a year ago instead of out with an injury?
“We had trouble finding that third starter last year,” says Mainieri. “I felt very strongly that Jake Latz would have been that guy. It’ll be nice to see him out there. Hopefully, he’ll pitch well and feel good after. We’ll see what the plan is after that.”
Junior pitcher Riley Smith will also make his return to the mound this week against Grambling after missing five weeks with shoulder soreness.