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College Preview Capsules: No. 11 Louisiana State

No. 11 Louisiana StateLouisiana-State-TIger
2015 Record (Ranking): 54-12 (5). RPI: 4.
Coach (Record at school): Paul Mainieri (415-161-3, 9 years)
Postseason History: 28 regionals (active streak: 7), 17 CWS trips (active streak: 1), 6 national titles (last in 2009).
Going into the 2015 season, Louisiana State had a lineup heavy on experienced upperclassmen and a young, untested rotation. This year, the pendulum has swung back the other way. Coach Paul Mainieri said last year he would rather have a young lineup and a veteran pitching staff than the opposite. This year, he will get his wish.
2016 Lineup
CMike Papierski, So..214.426.3331101
1BGreg Deichmann, So..000.273.000000
2BKramer Robertson, Jr..232.338.286051
3BCole Freeman, Jr.Tr.—Delgado (La.) CC
SSTrey Dawson, Fr.HS—Hurricane, W.Va.
LFBeau Jordan, So..219.359.250041
CFJake Fraley, Jr..307.372.42723523
RFAntoine Duplantis, Fr.HS—Lafayette, La.
DHBryce Jordan, So..130.290.261060
RHPAlex Lange, So.1201.971141310
LHPJared Poche’, Jr.923.05109720
RHPRiley Smith, Jr.Tr.—San Jacinto (Texas) JC
RPJesse Stallings, R-So.122.73332612
Last year’s team rode its veteran lineup to the College World Series before its pitching ran short in Omaha. In 2016, LSU returns its top two starters, righthander Alex Lange and lefty Jared Poche’, and all three pitchers who recorded a save (Parker Bugg, Hunter Newman and Jesse Stallings). But the Tigers lost eight members of their lineup, including All-Americans Alex Bregman, Kade Scivicque and Andrew Stevenson. “From one year to the next, you’re going to lose players,” Mainieri said. “Last year was a really unique year for us to have such an experienced lineup. We had four seniors in our everyday lineup, but then four underclassmen were drafted as well, so it was a huge turnover for us this year.” LSU brought in the nation’s top recruiting class a year ago, and Mainieri initially tried to work more of those young players into action last season with an eye on continuity for 2016. But as it became apparent the Tigers could compete for a national championship last year, he went for it with a more veteran lineup. Now it will be up to those younger players to shoulder the load. Replacing Bregman, the second overall pick in the draft and three-year starter for the Tigers, will be a difficult task. LSU will turn to freshman Trey Dawson to take his spot at shortstop, but it will be up to other players to make up for Bregman’s leadership and passion. Making things easier for LSU’s young lineup will be its one-two punch on the mound. Lange went 12-0, 1.97 as a freshman, earning All-America honors, while Poche’ went 9-2, 3.05 as a sophomore. Poche’ was the Friday night starter last year and Mainieri said he hadn’t decided who will hold that role this season.

Greg Deichmann Simplifies His Swing

The 2017 second-rounder owns huge raw power that he intends to access more in games thanks to a swing that is now more in sync.

No matter whether it’s Lange or Poche’ taking the ball on Friday nights, they give the Tigers two of the best pitchers in the country and should give them a chance to win any series. “To win in the SEC and to compete nationally, you have to have two superstar starting pitchers,” Mainieri said. “Alex Lange is a special talent—what he did in his freshman year at LSU surpassed some of the other great pitchers we’ve had here at LSU. Poche’ won 18 games in his first two years. That’s pretty significant in this conference.” Despite the heavy losses from last year’s team, Mainieri believes the Tigers have talent. Several players who will take on larger roles this season have gotten game action for LSU already. Now they will just be asked to step out of the background and into the spotlight, and Mainieri is confident they will be ready. “We’re not going to be as new as everyone thinks we are,” he said. “We’re not going to have six or seven freshmen in there. We’re going to have a good deal of experience in terms of guys who have been around the program.”

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