Skip to main content

LSU Baseball Roster Coming to Form With Latest Additions to 2022 Squad

Coach Jay Johnson details what he looks for in transfer player as Tigers add a pitching duo from Arizona to the roster

Less than a month into the job, LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson has been doing his best to show off some of that recruiting cache that helped land him the job in Baton Rouge. 

It's not easy taking over a roster and keeping the talent that just last year was in a super regional and filled with star potential. But not only was Johnson able to get the returning stars to buy into what the program will look like under his leadership, he was able to convince a trio of veterans to come back for one more ride as well.

Add on the multiple transfers he's been able to land in the portal and LSU is facing a good problem of having too much talent. The most recent additions poured in on Friday as the Tigers landed two more pitchers out of the transfer portal from Arizona. 

Freshman left handed pitcher Riley Cooper and Bryce Collins both announced their transfers to the Tigers pitching staff for next season. After appearing in seven games as a true freshman in 2019, Collins didn't appear in any games during the shortened 2020 season or in 2021 as he battled his way through injury.

Read More

Cooper, a hard throwing left hander, went 3-0 for Arizona as a freshman in 2021 with a 4.88 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 29 appearances. With the two pitchers on board, LSU has added a total of three Arizona players including All-American Jacob Berry as well as pitcher Eric Reyzelman and catcher Tyler McManus.

When looking for a transfer player, Johnson said the main area of focus comes down to evaluation. Is this a player who can come in and not only help contribute to winning but handle the pressures of the SEC?

"The entire program where we're at and what we need to be successful, what pieces, can we add to it," Johnson said. "And so it's been very intentional in terms of what we're trying to do, how we're trying to do it. Everybody wants to come to LSU, getting the right player is the most important thing, and the transfer portal, whether we all like it or not is going to be a part of college athletics right now. And so, in this case it afforded us an opportunity to add some pieces the team that needed to be improved and so that's been our focus and will be our focus until we feel like we've put the best team that we possibly can, together, in a short amount of time."

Outfielder Mitchell Sanford joined infielder Zach Arnold in hitting the transfer portal but the return of Gavin Dugas, Devin Fontenot and Ma'Khail Hilliard gives this team a great mix of veteran leadership and ascending talent. Johnson talked about the balance he now faces of making some hard decisions with a roster that's a little bit over the limit.

"The NCAA limit for the first game of the season in February is 40," Johnson said. "That's a little touch and feel right now, we're not too far above, but maybe a little bit above that right now, and we'll work through that throughout the rest of the summer in the fall."