LSU (49-18) attempts to reach the College World Series “Final Four” when the Tigers face Florida State (46-22) at 6 p.m. CT Wednesday at TD Ameritrade Park. The loser of the LSU-FSU game is eliminated from the CWS, and the winner advances to play Oregon State at 2 p.m. CT Friday. The winner of Wednesday’s game would have to defeat Oregon State on both Friday and Saturday in order to advance to the CWS Championship Finals.
LSU, the 2017 SEC regular-season and tournament champion, saw its 17-game win streak end Monday night with a loss to Oregon State, but the Tigers’ national championship aspirations remain strong. “We’re going to have to play great baseball for three straight days in order to get through this bracket,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “But, I believe we can do it. Our guys are not going to press; they’re confident, they’re calm, and they know there’s a tremendous challenge in front of us. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for our players to show the world what they’re made of. Florida State is one of the elite programs in college baseball, and our kids are going to go out there Wednesday night and leave it all on the field.”
Florida State is in the College World Series for the 23rd time, and for the 16th time under coach Mike Martin’s leadership. The Tigers are 3-1 all-time vs. Florida State in CWS games, including a 5-4 series-opening victory over the Seminoles on Saturday night. Mainieri said that senior left-hander Jared Poche’ would start Wednesday’s game on the mound for the Tigers. Poche’ (11-3) has a 38-12 career mark and is tied with Scott Schultz (1992-95) for the most pitching victories in LSU history. Poche’ earned a relief win in Saturday’s victory over Florida State, working 2.2 scoreless innings with no walks and two strikeouts.
“When our backs are against the wall, I can’t imagine any pitcher I’d want to run out there other than Jared Poche’,” Mainieri said. “He’s a big-game pitcher, and he pitched great the other night.”
LSU is hitting .292 as a team this season with 63 homers and 74 steals in 101 attempts. Sophomore leftfielder Antoine Duplantis is batting a team-high .322 with 14 doubles and 58 RBI. Senior second baseman Cole Freeman is hitting .321 with 41 RBI and 54 runs scored. Junior rightfielder Greg Deichmann is batting .316 and leads the Tigers in homers (19) and RBI (73), while senior shortstop Kramer Robertson is hitting .310 with 18 doubles, eight homers, 43 RBI and a nation’s best 83 runs scored.
LSU freshman centerfielder Zach Watson is batting .310 with eight doubles, three triples, nine homers and 36 RBI. Watson has homered five times in NCAA Tournament games this season, including a solo blast versus Oregon State on Monday night. Florida State is hitting .271 as a team with 74 home runs, and the Seminoles lead the nation in walks with 393.
Sophomore outfielder Jackson Lueck is batting .319 for FSU with nine homers and 54 RBI, while junior infielder Dylan Busby is hitting .316 with 21 doubles, 65 RBI and a team-best 15 home runs. Senior designated hitter Quincy Nieporte is batting .300 with 20 doubles, 10 homers and a team-high 80 RBI.