Senior pitcher Matthew Beck will wear the No. 8 jersey next season, LSU announced Monday, becoming the latest player to receive the coveted uniform number.
The No. 8 jersey signifies leadership and dedication within the LSU baseball program. It goes every year to an upperclassman who displays those traits.
"Matthew Beck absolutely epitomizes the values that characterize our No. 8 tradition," coach Paul Mainieri said in a statement. "He has been a tremendous relief pitcher for us throughout his career, he's an honor student who's earned an LSU degree, and he has worked as a significant contributor to our community. We're looking forward to the impactful leadership he will provide for our team during the 2021 season."
Beck will return to LSU for a fifth season after the NCAA awarded all spring-sport athletes an extra year of eligibility because the coronavirus pandemic shortened the 2020 season. LSU expects him to help lead the pitching staff and contribute out of the bullpen.
Beck, a graduate of Alexandria High School, has recorded a 2.66 ERA during his career while holding opponents to a .182 batting average. He did not allow run in 12 innings this spring. He also led LSU's pregame huddle last season.
Beck earned a spot on the 2020 Southeastern Conference community Service team for his philanthropic activity, and he received a bachelor's degree in finance. A two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, he will begin a post-graduate program next semester.
The No. 8 tradition, similar to No. 18 on the football team, began with outfielder Mikie Mahtook in 2009. It has since been passed to deserving upperclassmen by the previous player to wear the number. Junior outfielder Daniel Cabrera wore the uniform last season.
"Receiving the honor of No. 8 is what every kid dreams of," Beck said in a statement. "I feel so grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to the guys who have previously worn the number for the Purple and Gold.
"So many incredible players have come through LSU and established the pride and tradition that we have today. I will do everything in my power to represent No. 8 accordingly!"