Ott, Red Sox come to terms

Ott, Red Sox come to terms

LSU closer is headed to pro ball after saving a school-record 33 games in three seasons and playing a major role in the Tigers' 2009 national championship run.

End-of-game situations will have a new look for the LSU baseball team next season.

Closer Matty Ott has agreed to contract terms with the Boston Red Sox and will sign a pro contract, Tigers coach Paul Mainieri confirmed Wednesday evening. The Sox picked Ott in the 13th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft.

By signing with Boston, Ott will be in the same farm system as former LSU teammate Anthony Ranaudo, a supplemental round pick by the Sox in 2010.

Ott, a New Orleans native who starred at Holy Cross, leaves as LSU's all-time saves leader with 33. But the last two seasons were up-and-down rollercoaster rides after he dazzled hitters as a freshman in 2009 on the way to a single-season school-record 16 saves for the national champions.

Relying on a nasty biting slider, the lanky 6-foot-2 right-hander, Ott was a huge key in LSU's magical '09 season.

In 50.1 innings, Ott recorded 69 strikeouts and issued only six walks after he inherited the closer's role when senior Louis Coleman moved into the weekend rotation.

Facing Texas in the national championship series, Ott was on the mound for the final three innings of a 7-6 11-inning triumph. He also saved a game each in regional and Super Regional play that June.

As a sophomore, Ott got off to a blazing start, saving games in his first 11 chances. But after a seven-inning relief stint against Alabama in a 14-inning Tigers victory, Ott was never the same.

He struggled in his one and only career start at Florida last April and never saved a game again in 2010.

This last season, Ott again got off to a solid start and saved two of the Tigers' three wins against Cal State Fullerton in March.

But he blew a ninth-inning lead vs. top-ranked Florida in the SEC season opener on March 18, a game the Tigers lost 5-4. He was also unable to hold a lead in the next-to-last game of the season at Mississippi State, a 6-5 LSU loss – its seventh in SEC play – that cost the Tigers the series and a spot in the league tournament.

Ott's departure leaves LSU with Kevin Berry as the heir apparent as the closer among returning pitchers.

Berry was 3-1 with a pair of saves as a sophomore and moved into sharing the role with Ott after the Florida loss. But Berry also conspicuously squandered a ninth-inning lead when he served up a grand slam to Arkansas' James McCann that erased a 3-0 LSU lead on April 9.

Incoming freshman Aaron Nola is also a closer candidate.

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