2022 Mountain West Outdoor Baseball Championships

Air Force sophomore Paul Skenes delivers a pitch last weekend during the Mountain West Baseball Championship in San Diego.

Paul Skenes has landed with one of the top baseball programs in the nation.

The Air Force transfer announced he will transfer to LSU, a tradition-rich team with six national championships since 1991.

“I can’t wait to get to work and bring another national championship back to Baton Rouge,” Skene wrote on social media.

In two years at Air Force, the California native established himself as perhaps the most uniquely talented player the program had ever seen.

As a pitcher, Skenes posted 10-3 record with a 2.73 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings as a sophomore. The Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year, his victory over top-seeded UNLV in the conference tournament opener presented the Falcons with a significantly shorter path to a championship than it would have faced from the loser’s bracket. The team responded with two more wins and the program’s first Mountain West title, placing it in an NCAA regional for the first time in more than 50 years.

The 6-foot-6 Skenes also contributed as a catcher and as a hitter posted a .314 batting average and .634 slugging percentage in 153 at-bats.

He was a first-team All-American, the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year and an Academic All-Mountain West selection. And this came after he was a freshman All-American in 2021.

“The past two years have been the most gratifying and memorable year of my life,” Skenes wrote. “It has been an honor to attend and represent the academy and the United States Air Force, and the people I have met and grown close to along the way have made every part of the journey special.

“I chose to attend the Air Force Academy to be a part of something greater than myself. I et out to be part of a team that would accomplish great things during my time enrolled. We accomplished a lot, and I am forever proud to have played a role in that success.”

Air Force cadets are allowed to leave the academy without penalty prior to beginning classes as a junior. Staying beyond that triggers a commitment graduating and serving five years on active duty, though there is a provision available for athletes that allows them to pursue professional sports.

Skenes entered the transfer portal on June 7 and informed The Gazette earlier this month that he had disenrolled from the academy, leaving open only the question as to where he would land.

At LSU he joins a rotation bolstered by transfers, as the Tigers already added landed Thatcher Hurd (UCLA) and Christian Little (Vanderbilt).

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