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|National Champion LSU begins fall baseball practice|
BATON ROUGE -- The 2010 LSU baseball team takes the field for its first full-squad workout at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday as the defending national champions begin their five-week fall practice period in Alex Box Stadium.
The fall practice session, which concludes on November 20, will include several scrimmages that are open to the public.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri, the 2009 National Coach of the Year, welcomes back 17 players that contributed to the Tigers' drive to the '09 College World Series title.
"We're preparing a new team to be successful," Mainieri said. "I have all the confidence in the world that we've got the pieces in place to be able to have an outstanding team."
Seven position players that started games last year are back for the 2010 season, including all-American senior DH/outfielder Blake Dean, junior catcher Micah Gibbs, junior outfielder Leon Landry, sophomore infielder Tyler Hanover, sophomore outfielder Mikie Mahtook, sophomore shortstop Austin Nola and sophomore infielder Grant Dozar.
Two players that had part-time starting roles two years ago – senior infielder Matt Gaudet and sophomore outfielder Johnny Dishon – are back on the Tigers' active roster in 2010.
LSU returns 10 pitchers that recorded innings last season, including junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, a 2009 third-team All-American who was No. 3 in the nation in strikeouts with 159.
Also returning to the pitching staff is ace reliever Matty Ott, a sophomore right-hander who established the LSU single-season saves record last year with 16 and was voted the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year.
Ranaudo and Ott are joined by a talented group of hurlers that includes senior right-hander Paul Bertuccini, junior right-handers Austin Ross, Daniel Bradshaw and Ben Alsup, junior left-hander Chad Jones (currently playing football), sophomore left-hander Chris Matulis and sophomore right-handers Shane Riedie and Spencer Mathews.
The veterans are complemented by a talented class of 13 newcomers, including five players that have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. LSU's incoming class was ranked No. 3 in the nation in the Collegiate Baseball magazine annual recruiting survey.
"I believe very strongly that we are going to be successful with this group of players," Mainieri said. "There's no doubt we can win with the kids that are here."
LSU opens the 2010 season on February 19 versus Centenary in Alex Box Stadium.
(Report courtesy of lsusports.net)