Baseball team focused on Omaha --Veteran players to lead team

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  1. tirk

    tirk im the lyrical jessie james

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    By Tabby Soignier
    Sports Writer
    January 18, 2005

    Next month’s start of the 2005 baseball season will mark Smoke Laval’s fourth term as LSU’s head coach.

    Former head coach Skip Bertman named Laval his successor after stepping down to take the athletic director job. Laval has worked under coach Bertman for several years but lacks the resume that Bertman had as coach.

    Laval has Southeastern Conference Championships, Coach of the Year honors and College World Series appearances among his list of accomplishments, but a National Championship is no where to be found.

    Some teams might consider themselves among the elite to be one of only eight teams in the nation to reach the College World Series, but the 2005 Tigers want more.

    “To play at LSU the bar is very high,” said senior infielder Clay Harris. “You’re expected to win here and if you don’t win things have to change. Losing is not an option.”

    After failing to reach the National Championship game last season, Bertman had to make a statement to end the talk around Baton Rouge that Laval would be gone, and stated instead that he would return for the 2005 season.

    Twenty-eight veterans return this season with Laval. Among them are 11 seniors who have this season as their last shot at a National Championship. The team also has its eye on other goals as well.

    “We feel our goal is to win [the SEC], the [SEC] tournament and the National Championship every year,” said senior outfielder Ryan Patterson. “Although as long as we get the championship we will be happy. We are very close as a team, and we are more experienced than the past two years. Experience is the key to leading us to the National Championship.”

    The 28 returning players welcomed 16 freshmen to the team at fall practice last semester. The 16 freshmen include red shirts, recruits and walk-ons. Although the experience of playing for LSU is not there, the expectations are.

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