Nine LSU baseball freshmen start summer school; Jacob Taylor, Mitch Piatnik considered risks to sign pro deals _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU volunteer assistant coach Will Davis jogs to third base as the Tigers come to bat in the bottom of the third inning against Kentucky, Friday, Mar. 27, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

Nine freshmen in LSU baseball’s 2015 signing class have started summer classes, and coaches are hopeful most of the 16-player group will bypass pro baseball for school.

On Sunday, the day before the MLB draft opened, the staff was fairly confident in keeping at least 14 freshmen. Right-handed pitcher Jacob Taylor, from Picayune, Mississippi, and infielder Mitch Piatnik, who played junior-college ball at State College of Florida, were considered risks to sign pro contracts.

Taylor is ranked the No. 97 prospect and Piatnik No. 468, according to Baseball America. The draft began Monday with the first two rounds — the first 75 picks. Rounds 3-10 are Tuesday, and 11-40 are Wednesday.

Right-handed pitcher Cole McKay of Texas tweeted Sunday that he would honor his commitment and come to school — expected news he gave to the coaching staff Monday. He was rated in the top 100 of prospects but was asking for a large signing bonus.

West Virginia infielder Trey Dawson is another low draft risk guy whom LSU expects to come to school.

There are nine freshmen already on campus. Those who have enrolled in summer school are infielder O’Neal Lochridge and outfielder/LHP Brennan Breaux, both St. Thomas More products; outfielder Antoine Duplantis of Lafayette High; infielder Brody Wofford of Georgia; RHP Caleb Gilbert of Alabama; Georgia native Nick Bush, a lefty pitcher; St. Michael catcher/infielder Chris Reid; former Catholic High catcher and LSU-Eunice transfer Jordan Romero; and San Jacinto College RHP Riley Smith.

Davis, UNO talk

Longtime LSU assistant coach Will Davis and UNO Athletic Director Derek Morel have been in contact with each other regarding the Privateers’ head coaching job, Davis said Monday.

Davis declined to reveal details, but he said the two have spoken about the opening to replace Ron Maestri. Davis has expressed interest in the position, and LSU head coach Paul Mainieri has pushed for him to get the gig, along with former LSU standout Blake Dean. Dean, who has been on the UNO staff the past two seasons, was named interim coach.

Davis, a former LSU catcher under Mainieri and former coach Smoke Laval, has been LSU’s volunteer assistant coach for the past eight seasons after a one-year stint as director of baseball operations.

The search for Maestri’s replacement is expected to last at least another week.

Summer ball assignments

Twenty-eight LSU players will be playing summer ball over the next two months.

The following players will head to the Cape Cod League: Danny Zardon and Hunter Newman (Harwich), Mike Papierski (Yarmouth-Dennis), Doug Norman and Russell Reynolds (Bourne), Kramer Robertson (Wareham) and Jake Fraley and Jake Godfrey (Chatham).

The following will be playing in the Northwoods League: Beau and Bryce Jordan (Wisconsin Rapids), Hunter Devall and Greg Deichmann (Lakeshore), Alden Cartwright (Battle Creek), incoming freshman Brice Adams and Ryan May (Kalamazoo), and Collin Strall (St. Cloud).

Jesse Stallings and Parker Bugg will spend their summers in Alaska with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, and Grayson Byrd and Austin Bain will be with Perfect Game’s Amsterdam Mohawks.

Incoming freshmen Cody Ducote, Cole Freeman and Romero will be with the New Orleans Boosters of the All-American Collegiate Summer League, and pitcher Troy Whitty, who redshirted last year, is playing in the Texas Collegiate League with Acadiana.

Time set for Sunday

LSU’s College World Series opener will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, the NCAA announced.

The Tigers, who will be the home team, will face No. 7 national seed and Big 12 champ TCU (49-13).

More honors

LSU pitchers Alex Lange and Jesse Stallings were named freshman All-Americans by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Lange, who has emerged as the Tigers’ ace, is 11-0 with a 1.89 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 105 innings. Stallings has 12 of the Tigers’ 19 saves and also boasts a 2.23 ERA to go with a 1-2 record.