BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri, who is serving this summer as head coach of the USA Collegiate National Team, announced Wednesday that three Tigers will join him with Team USA.
Mainieri said junior outfielder Antoine Duplantis, sophomore right-handed pitcher Zack Hess and sophomore outfielder Zach Watson have been added to the USA roster.
“Certainly, I’m very pleased that Antoine, Zack and Zach will be with Team USA this summer,” Mainieri said. “They are great ball players and first-class young men that will represent our country with dignity. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for them, and they will benefit tremendously from the experience.”
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series this summer, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series that will be held in North Carolina from June 28 – July 2.
The U.S. will then compete in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and the 7th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18.
Duplantis, a Lafayette, La., native, batted a team-high .328 in 2018 with 13 doubles, six triples, two homers, 48 RBI, 55 runs and 19 stolen bases. He is first in the SEC in triples, third in the league in base hits (89) and third in stolen bases.
He was named to the 2018 SEC All-Tournament team after hitting .370 in six games with two doubles, one triple, five RBI and eight runs.
Duplantis has 268 career hits at LSU and needs 85 more to become the all-time hits leader in SEC history. Former LSU first baseman Eddy Furniss is the all-time SEC hits leader with 352 from 1995-98.
Hess, a product of Forest, Va., was 7-6 this season with a 5.05 ERA, working 92.2 innings in 16 starts and one relief appearance. He allowed 83 hits and 52 earned runs while recording 49 walks and 107 strikeouts.
Hess, who ranks No. 4 this season in the Southeastern Conference in strikeouts, has a 14-7 career mark and four saves in his two seasons at LSU with a 4.28 ERA. In 153.1 career innings (47 appearances/22 starts), he has recorded 79 walks and 190 strikeouts, and he has limited opponents to a .216 cumulative batting average.
Watson, a product of Ruston, La., batted .308 (72-for-234) this season with 15 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 34 RBI, 47 runs and 14 stolen bases. He has a .312 career batting average in two seasons at LSU with 24 doubles, five triples, 16 homers, 71 RBI, 89 runs and 26 stolen bases.
Watson, a 2017 Freshman All-American, was named to the College World Series All-Tournament team last season, and he was LSU’s leading hitter in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, batting .333 (16-for-48) with one double, five homers, 10 RBI, 12 runs and four steals.
Seven Collegiate National Team games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, as well as Facebook Live and YouTube. For more information on USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team, follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.