The days of bird droppings raining down on LSU baseball fans are over.
Crews are attaching netting to the bottom side of the Alex Box Stadium grandstands overhang, a four-month-long project that’s expected to keep the birds away. Construction began about two weeks ago and is scheduled to end just in time for fall practice in October, coach Paul Mainieri said.
“If you sit in the stands, you run the risk of bird droppings hitting you because so many birds nest in the structure, in the beams,” Mainieri said.
The solution: netting.
The infield of Skip Bertman Field will be closed for the next 16 weeks as cranes and other construction equipment are used for the project. Crews will also replace the net protecting the grandstands from foul balls.
LSU may use U-High’s field in September for individual drills, but Mainieri hopes construction is complete in time for fall ball in early October. Construction began a day after the team left Baton Rouge for the College World Series on June 12.
LSU hosts baseball camps starting next week. Campers will use only the outfield, Mainieri said.
Taylor Piatnik sign
As expected, LSU lost two of its 16-man signing class to professional baseball.
Left-handed pitcher Jacob Taylor, of Mississippi, and infielder Mitch Piatnik, of Florida, signed contracts with pro teams, Mainieri said Tuesday. Taylor, the No. 127 overall pick in the draft, signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Piatnik, the No. 235 pick, signed with the Cincinnati Reds. Both players would have been junior college transfers.
The three other drafted signees continue to be firm in their commitment to come to school, Mainieri said. They include 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher Cole McKay, of Texas, West Virginia infielder Trey Dawson and Texas pitcher Riley Smith. Smith is currently in summer school at LSU.
Two over roster limit
LSU is expected to begin fall practice with 37 players on its roster. The team must cut to the NCAA maximum of 35 for the spring season.
The Tigers played with 33 on the roster this past season after two players transferred during the fall. LSU is losing 11 players from last year’s team and will add 14 signees. Troy Whitty, a hard-throwing righty from Massachusetts, will join the team for fall ball. He missed the 2015 season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
LSU assistant coach Will Davis interviewed for the head coaching job at UNO on Monday, as reported last week, and a decision on a coach could come as early as late this week, a source said.
Davis is a finalist for the position.
The Privateers are searching for a replacement for Ron Maestri, whose second stint with the school ended after this season. Davis, a former LSU catcher, has spent eight years on Mainieri’s staff.
Latz having ‘setbacks’
Freshman pitcher Jake Latz continues to have setbacks while going on his sixth month of recovering from a stress reaction in his elbow.
Latz, a highly touted 2014 signee, did not pitch this season after the injury flared up in February. The southpaw was expected to compete for a starting weekend spot before the injury. He’s rehabilitating from his home near Chicago, and the staff continues to hope to slot him into a summer ballclub when he’s fully healthy.
“He’s progressing and then having setbacks,” Mainieri said. “We hope to get him out to pitch some this summer — even if it’s 10-15 innings. We’re waiting for him to tell us he’s 100 percent and we’ll get him placed somewhere.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.