BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The countdown continues to the first pitch of the LSU baseball season and the young arms could make a big difference.
While preseason college baseball polls are generally the most scattered amongst major sports, the common denominator in all of 2015's rankings is LSU in the top ten despite losing some valuable veterans from last year's roster.
"You're going to be young every year in some aspect of your team, and you just have to have the courage to play those freshmen," said LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri.
"It's our chance to finally prove what everyone's been talking about with this freshman class, the whole freshmen class. I think it's definitely time now," said freshman pitcher Jake Latz.
For several first year pitchers, their time may come sooner than later while the Tigers try to establish a rotation early in the season.
"When they're out there pitching against Ole Miss or Arkansas or whoever it's going to be, they're not going to be saying there's the freshman pitcher," added Mainieri. "Whoever is standing on the mound is the most important pitcher on our staff at that moment. It doesn't matter what year they are."
What matters is will they be prepared to handle the Tigers' grueling schedule?
"Knowing who their pitching coach is and who their head coach is, they'll be ready to compete," said junior shortstop Alex Bregman. "A.D. and Coach Mainieri do a great job putting pressure on them in practice so they'll be ready for the pressure situations in the game, and all of them have really good stuff."
"In practice with no one here in the stands, they're lighting up the radar guns already. So I mean, put 11 or 12 thousand people in the stands and I can't wait to see that, said sophomore pitcher Jared Poche.
"We're all able to just throw strikes and compete when we're on the mound, but obviously, each one of us has a little different thing that we can offer. All of these guys around here offer something that can help us win," said Latz.