OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — For both Florida State (46-22) and LSU (49-18) tonight’s game puts them each in a must win situation 7 p.m. ET at TD Ameritrade Park. The winner makes the Final Four at the College World Series and the loser goes home.
The two teams are no stranger to the drama that comes with playing big games at the College World Series. For Florida State, this marks the 23rd time they have been in the CWS, 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
Meanwhile, the Tigers were the 2017 SEC regular-season and tournament champion, but their 17-game win streak was put to a painful end Monday night. The top ranked team in the CWS, the Oregon State Beavers.
“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.”
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.
LSU – Sr. LHP Jared Poche’ (11-3, 3.33 ERA, 100.0 IP, 36 BB, 69 SO)
FSU – So. RHP Andrew Karp (2-3, 4.87 ERA, 61.0 IP, 17 BB, 63 SO) or So. RHP Cole Sands (6-3, 5.05 ERA, 82.0 IP, 29 BB, 72 SO)
QUOTES USED IN THIS STORY CAME FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS AND LSU TIGERS WEBSITE.