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LSU head coach Paul Mainieri laughs as Rankin Woley makes the catch deep in center field during batting practice, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at Bellevue East High School in Bellevue, Ne.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

LSU baseball is in the process of bringing in two marquee names for the start of the 2018 baseball season.

While it isn’t finalized, the Tigers are hopeful to host Notre Dame for the season-opening series at Alex Box Stadium and to follow that up by bringing Texas in for a three-game series shortly thereafter.

Of course, those potential matchups are in addition to a full Southeastern Conference schedule. 

After finishing national runner-up, LSU -- like always -- will face lofty expectations in 2018 despite losing key players like pitcher Alex Lange, pitcher Jared Poche, right fielder Greg Deichmann, shortstop Kramer Robertson, second baseman Cole Freeman and catcher Michael Papierski.

The Tigers should be comforted by a lineup that includes Josh Smith (likely moving to shortstop), Zach Watson (maybe moving to second base?), Antoine Duplantis and a healthy Bryce Jordan.

If Eric Walker, who's meeting with the Texas Rangers' team doctor to assess his arm injury, is healthy, it's not hard to see LSU going toe-to-toe with Florida for the best returning rotation in the SEC if Caleb Gilbert and Zack Hess join him.

As always, LSU’s ability to reload and compete on a national level depends on how well players like Jake Slaughter develop in the offseason and how much it can get out of its signing class.

Advocate staff writer Luke Johnson contributed to this report.