LSU is ranked No. 15 by Collegiate
Baseball and No. 20 by Baseball
The 2005 Tigers posted a 40-22 overall mark, winning 13 of their final 17 conference games to claim the SEC Western Division crown. LSU then played host to an NCAA Regional tournament for the 16th consecutive season.
"We won't have the type of lineup
we've had in recent years with big power numbers and high slugging percentages,"
LSU, which finished the
2005 season ranked No. 18 in the nation, welcomes 15 returning
lettermen – including seven pitchers and six position players with starting
experience -- and a 14-man signing class.
The Tigers must replace three hitters selected in the first nine rounds of the 2005 draft – all-America outfielder Ryan Patterson (4th round), all-SEC outfielder Nick Stavinoha (7th round) and all-SEC infielder Clay Harris (9th round). The trio combined last season to produce 278 hits, 47 homers and 181 RBI.
"If our returning veterans can give
us solid years, I feel we can be a team to be reckoned with,"
LSU will be bolstered
by the return of senior catcher Matt Liuzza, the 30th-round draft
selection of the Chicago Cubs last summer. Liuzza, a superb defender behind the
plate, batted .251 (43-for-171) in 2005 with 10 doubles, three homers, 24 RBI
and 30 runs. Liuzza is a career .301 hitter with 16 homers and 95 RBI in three
seasons (159 starts).
The LSU infield will rely upon the leadership of senior Will Harris, who has made 105 starts during his career. Harris endured a difficult 2005 season, batting just .213; however, he hit .329 in 2004 with nine doubles, seven homers and 39 RBI. Harris, a first baseman in his first three collegiate seasons, may be moved to third base in 2006.
Two more seniors with
considerable experience – Bruce Sprowl (96 career starts) and Quinn Stewart (70
career starts) – return to the LSU outfield. Sprowl hit. 264 (38-for-144) last
season with double, two triples, two homers, 13 RBI, 28 runs and five steals.
Stewart hit .250 (29-for-116) in 2005 with seven doubles, two triples, three
homers, 13 RBI and 19
The Tigers also feature two players that earned Freshman all-SEC honors last season – third baseman Chris Jackson and designated hitter Jordan Mayer.
Jackson, also a kicking
specialist for the LSU football team, became a full-time starter in the Tigers'
infield last April. He hit .305 (39-for-128) in 36 games with three doubles, one
triple, one homer, 17 RBI and 29 runs.
Mayer, who may play first base in ‘06, became a regular in the LSU batting order in late April, and he batted .313 (36-for-115) in 42 games with 13 doubles, one triple, four homers, 26 RBI and 16 runs.
Hollander (.246, 1 HR, 14 RBI) returns as the Tigers' projected starting
shortstop. He saw substantial playing time as a freshman, appearing in 44 games
Four true freshmen –
outfielder Jarred Bogany, infielder J.T. Wise, catcher Robert Lara and infielder
Jason Ogata – will be counted upon to make immediate contributions. Bogany
Steven Waguespack, a transfer from