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LSU's CJ Willis (23) makes the catch at practice ahead of the weekend's NCAA Baseball Super Regional against Florida State, Friday, June 7, 2019, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Sophomore outfielder Drew Bianco removed himself from the NCAA transfer portal and will return to LSU; meanwhile, sophomore utility player CJ Willis entered the nationwide database.

Bianco reluctantly put his name in the transfer portal last month, allowing other college coaches to contact him about a potential transfer, but coach Paul Mainieri said Bianco wanted to return to LSU.

Bianco, who started eight games during the shortened 2020 season, has a career .147 batting average. Mainieri said last month Bianco will have a chance to regain his starting role.

Willis arrived at LSU as a highly touted prospect selected in the 39th round of the 2018 MLB draft, but he has started 12 games in two years, unable to stick in the everyday lineup.

Willis, who attended Ruston High School, has practiced outfield, first base and catcher. He appeared in five games this spring with one start. He did not collect a hit in four at-bats.

Since the end of the season, six LSU players have entered the NCAA transfer portal. Willis joins sophomore pitcher Rye Gunter, redshirt junior pitcher Eric Walker, sophomore pitcher Chase Costello and junior infielder Hal Hughes, who transferred to Rice. Freshman utility player Tom Biggs also transferred to a junior college.

So far, Bianco is the only LSU player to remove his name from the portal as the Tigers' roster begins to take shape for next season.

LSU signed a recruiting class of 17 players, and though the NCAA altered roster limits to accommodate returning seniors, the rest of the team must fit within a 35-man restriction.


Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com