LSU ranked No. 4 in baseball preseason poll

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Paul Mainieri 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

BATON ROUGE - LSU is ranked No. 4 in the 2013 Collegiate Baseball newspaper preseason poll released Thursday. The preseason ranking is LSU's highest since 2010, when the Tigers began the year at No. 2.

The Tigers are the reigning SEC champions and were the NCAA Tournament No. 7 National Seed last season. LSU is one of five Southeastern Conference teams appearing in the preseason Top 10, along with No. 1 Arkansas, No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 8 Kentucky.

Other SEC squads appearing in the Top 40 are No. 13 Mississippi State, No. 24 Florida, No. 25 Ole Miss, No. 26 Texas A&M and No. 29 Georgia. Southern Mississippi, another LSU opponent this season, is No. 36 in the ranking.

LSU opens the 2013 season at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 15 versus Maryland in Alex Box Stadium.

The 2013 roster features 19 lettermen, including nine position players with starting experience and nine pitchers that recorded innings last season.

"The No. 4 ranking is certainly a compliment to our program, but we realize we can't just pick up this season where last season ended," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who has directed the Tigers to one national championship and two SEC titles in six seasons. "We have a lot of work to do to get where we need to be at the end of the season."

LSU features several all-star candidates, including senior outfielder Raph Rhymes, the 2012 SEC Player of the Year, senior all-SEC outfielder/first baseman Mason Katz and sophomore pitcher Aaron Nola, a 2012 first-team Freshman all-American.