This is the fourth edition of a six part series looking at the 2013 LSU Baseball team. In this weeks…
Katz ready for 2013
Following a junior season that saw him hit .320 with 13 homeruns, Mason Katz is heading into 2013 with very high expectations. The 5-10 188 pound Katz has one goal in mind for this season, and he shares it with the rest of the LSU Tigers. As a senior, statistics and personal production have gone out the window for Katz, in terms of what he wants to accomplish this season. The ultimate goal of every college baseball program is to get to Omaha for the College World Series, in order to compete for a title. Katz explained that his goal is no different. "All I want out of this season is a trip to Omaha," said Katz. "Bringing home the trophy once we got there would be great as well. That's all I want. Honestly, it doesn't matter how it happens." "If something happens to where I'm not in the lineup and we end up going and winning it, I won't be upset. I just want to get back there and finish on top this season." Personally, Katz explained that he has extra motivation for this season. Katz believes that he realized during the 2012 how lucky he was to be able to contribute for the Tigers on a daily basis, after watching teammate Chris Sciambra miss all of 2012 with a neck injury. "To see a kid come off a neck injury like that has really showed me that I need to pick it up," said Katz. "There was a good possibility that Chris wouldn't play ever again, but he bounced back and has worked really hard to get to where he is. I'm really excited to see him back in action this spring." After playing his entire LSU career with Austin Nola and Tyler Hanover controlling the left side of the infield, Katz explained that the 2013 season would be different. This year, LSU has two newcomers starting on the left side of the infield, with the first being junior Christian Ibarra at third base. "It's different, but those guys are great players," said Katz. "Ibarra is still short, so it will look like Hanover is still at third base. Everything just comes naturally to Ibarra." "When you see him hit, he has this weird wiggle in his bat and an awkward leg kick before he lets it rip. He's a great player and he will play very well this season." Alex Bregman will be the starting shortstop in 2013 for LSU and Katz believes that every bit of the hype surrounding the freshman is well deserved. "Bregman is someone that is really going to show a lot of people things this year," said Katz. "He looks and acts like someone that has been playing college baseball for a really long time. He's unlike any freshman I have ever been around." Katz attributes most of his success last season to the fact that he hit in front of the one of the best hitters in all of college baseball, Raph Rhymes. Heading into 2013, Katz is the leading returning home run hitter in the SEC and he expects this season to be a very productive one for the middle of the LSU lineup. "It will be completely different," said Katz. "It will be nice because I'll still get to hit in front of Rhymes and Bregman will be there. I never thought I would be the leading returning homerun hitter in the SEC." "I was lucky because I got to hit in front of Rhymes and I got to see a lot of fastballs because people didn't want to face him. JaCoby Jones will be up there with us as well and should provide another quality bat for us." With LSU ranked in the top-five of every major college baseball poll, Katz explained that while the team thinks about the ranking, they don't take it as having pressure put on them to perform. For the most part, Katz explained that the team understands that preseason rankings are pretty meaningless. "There isn't any pressure on us this year because of the preseason ranking," said Katz. "Coach [Paul] Mainieri tells us all the time that it just means that we don't have to go very far to get to the top." "If I have learned anything since I've been here it's that preseason rankings don't mean anything. We were preseason number one my freshman year and we didn't even end up in the top-25. I think this season will be a little different." Katz also explained that the team doesn't allow their ranking to affect their work ethic. "Every day is a new game and we need to go out there and play to win every chance we get," said Katz. "Just because we're ranked highly doesn't mean things are going to come easy for us."
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