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Riley Cooper becomes third Arizona baseball player to transfer to LSU

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Jay Johnson is building his first team at LSU with some key pieces from Arizona, including one of the Wildcats’ most reliable relief pitchers.

Freshman Riley Cooper, a left-handed pitcher, announced Friday he was transferring to LSU after one season with the UA. He becomes the third ex-Wildcat to follow Johnson to Baton Rouge, following slugger Jacob Berry and righty Bryce Collins.

Cooper, a second-year freshman, was 3-0 with a 4.88 ERA in a team-high 29 games in 2021. He allowed only one earned run in his final five appearances, spanning 7.2 innings, including three scoreless outings in the postseason.

Arizona has now seen seven players from the 2021 squad transfer elsewhere. In addition to the three at LSU, the others are infielder Kyson Donahue (Hawaii), RHP German Fajardo (Kansas State), RHP Ryan Kysar (San Diego) and 1B/LHP TJ Curd (Jacksonville).

The Wildcats still have 10 players in the NCAA transfer portal, not including outfielder Ryan Holgate, who was drafted but has yet to sign. The most notable of those still in there are righty Quinn Flanagan and outfielders Blake Paugh and Tyler Casagrande.

So far the only UA player from 2021 to withdraw from the portal is lefty Garrett Irvin, who announced his return to Tucson on Wednesday.