New LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson confirmed Wednesday on a Baton Rouge radio sports talk that Tigers’ sophomore infielder Zach Arnold entered the NCAA transfer portal.
Thursday is the deadline for players entering transfer portal to be eligible for the 2022 season.
Arnold started 37 games in 2021, either at second base or designated hitter. He hit .277 with 26 RBIs and seven home runs, ending the season with a six-game hitting streak. In the postseason, he hit. 360.
“It was more of a logistical thing than anything else,” Johnson said on ESPN 104.5 FM. “There’s a chance Zach could end up on our team next year. It just was with the July 1 deadline, us working through some scholarship issues to try manage this thing and get it to 11.7 [scholarships] and have the best team we possibly can.
“He wanted to explore his options and I supported that. I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes. I’m not giving up hope he might return.”
Meanwhile, 12 players from Arizona, Johnson’s previous team that advanced to the College World Series, reportedly have entered the transfer portal.
The top name in the portal is freshman Jacob Berry, who was named to several all-American teams after batting .352 with a team-leading 17 homers and a Pac-12 leading 70 RBIs. His 41 extra-base hits were also tops in the conference.
Berry will be draft-eligible after next season. His father, Perry, played at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Arizona also has lost two members of its 2022 recruiting class. Outfielder Justin Crawford said he was reopening his recruitment and infielder Mikey Romero decommitted so he could commit to LSU. The 6-foot, 175-pound Romero is ranked as the No. 1 shortstop in the state of California in the Class of 2022, according to Perfect Game.