Right-handers Ryan Eades and Will LaMarche and catcher Ty Ross became the latest members of the LSU baseball team to sign professional contracts Thursday.
Eades, a second-round pick from Slidell, was the highest-drafted Tiger and signed with the Minnesota Twins. LaMarche, a ninth-round pick from Pleasantown, Calif., signed with the Detroit Tigers and Ross, a 12th-round pick from Naples, Fla., signed with the San Francisco Giants.
They are the first underclassmen from this year’s team to sign. They joined two seniors — infielder Mason Katz (St. Louis) and reliever Chris Cotton (Houston) — as players who have signed.
Eades (8-1, 2.79 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 100 innings) said he expects to be assigned to the Twins’ Elizabethton (Tenn.) affiliate in the rookie Appalachian League, where he’s scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen.
LaMarche (3-0, 3.42) pitched in middle relief in his only season at LSU. Ross hit just .217 with three home runs and 32 runs batted in but was outstanding defensively last season.
There have been reports that OF JaCoby Jones, a third-round pick, has signed with the Pirates and reliever Nick Rumbelow, a seventh-round pick, has signed with the Yankees but neither organization has confirmed the signings.
The other drafted Tigers are OF Raph Rhymes (15th round, Tigers) and INF Christian Ibarra (32nd round, Pirates). Ibarra is expected to return for his senior season next year.
LSU led the nation in baseball attendance for the 18th consecutive season in 2013.
The Tigers had an NCAA-record total attendance figure of 473,298 in 43 games — 38 regular-season games, three NCAA regional games and two NCAA super regional games.
LSU’s total attendance mark was nearly 200,000 greater than second-place Mississippi State (281,840).
The Tigers are the only program in NCAA history to exceed 400,000 in baseball attendance. They also surpassed the 400,000 mark in 2010 (404,916) and in 2012 (472,391).
LSU established a school single-game record for actual attendance June 8 when 11,401 fans witnessed the Tigers’ super regional win over Oklahoma that clinched a berth in the College World Series.
The Tigers’ paid attendance figure of 12,727 for the LSU-South Carolina game April 27 also established a school record.
LSU was ranked No. 5 in the final Baseball America magazine rankings, which were released Thursday.
The ranking was the Tigers’ fourth Top 10 finish in the past six seasons and their second Top 5 finish in the past five years. They were No. 7 in the Collegiate Baseball poll released earlier this week.
St. Michael the Archangel shortstop Christopher Reid has committed to play for LSU beginning with the 2015 season, according to a posting on the high school’s Facebook page.
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