Second basemen Cole Freeman to return to LSU for senior season, keeping middle infield intact _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU second baseman Cole Freeman celebrates his game-winning run with teammates in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday against Florida. LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson drove Freeman home.

LSU’s middle infield will return for one more year.

One day after shortstop Kramer Robertson announced he’d return for his senior season in Baton Rouge, second baseman Cole Freeman told The Advocate on Wednesday.

Freeman, better known as “Drank” to fans and teammates, led the Tigers in batting average (.329), on-base percentage (.427) and batting average on balls in play (.363), occupying the last spot in the Tigers’ batting order for most of the season.

A junior college Gold Glover at second base, Freeman began the season at third base before briefly moving to shortstop. He settled at second base — his most natural position — where he was named to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team and fielded at a .971 clip.

Freeman, one of four Tigers to start all 66 games, was drafted in the 18th round (No. 551 overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With Freeman’s decision, LSU now returns its leading hitter (Freeman) and its leading home run hitter (Greg Deichmann) from a team that fell two wins short of the College World Series.

Jake Fraley, who said he would sign after he was drafted No. 77 overall by the Tampa Bay Rays, will join Riley Smith as the only two Tigers to sign professional contracts thus far. LSU still awaits the decisions of draftees Jared Poche, Parker Bugg and Jesse Stallings.

Draftees have until July 15 to sign with an organization.