OMAHA, Neb. -- LSU (57-10) and North Carolina (57-11) entered the College World Series as two of only three national seeds to advance to the final eight for college baseball. Both find themselves in unfamiliar positions after the first round in Omaha. On Tuesday both teams will take part in the second elimination game of the College World Series and either the top national seed (UNC) or the number one team in most major polls (LSU) will be packing their gear up early to head home.
LSU's Paul Mainieri knows what kind of team his Tigers will be facing off against on Tuesday.
"I have a lot of respect for North Carolina," said Mainieri. "They have a lot of great players and coaches. They have six left-handers in their lineup and they aren't bad against left-handed pitchers. Mike Fox doesn't change things around a lot."
North Carolina opened their time in Omaha with a loss to NC State and pitcher Carlos Rodon by a score of 7-3. The Tar Heels just could not get anything going on offense in the early stages of the game.
For LSU, nothing went according to plan in the first round when they were defeated 2-1 by a small-ball, scrappy UCLA squad.
And now the time has come for two of the best college baseball teams to square off in somewhat of a winner take all situation.
The name of the game for North Carolina all season has been a combination of good pitching, a productive offense and a solid defense. On offense, the Tar Heels are led by senior first baseman Cody Stubbs with a .366 average, eight homeruns and 76 RBI.
UNC has six hitters in their order hitting over the .300 mark. A couple of other members of that group include freshman Landon Lassiter (.360), junior Colin Moran (.340) and freshman Skye Bolt (.323).
Moran had one of the more productive seasons in college baseball as he hit 13 homeruns and drove in 88 runs in 2013. This was all in addition to his .340 batting average. His season resulted in him being the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins.
LSU's Mason Katz has seen the Tar Heels in action in 2013 and he has a good idea of what they are all about.
"We know they have a good lineup with Colin Moran," said Katz. "We've seen Thornton pitch on TV and he is a very good pitcher. They are a very good team and we have wanted to play them all season."
UNC is very comparable to LSU in the offensive department as the Tar Heels are hitting .305 as a team, just one point less than the Tigers (.306).
LSU is led at the plate by freshman Alex Bregman and senior Mason Katz. Bregman is currently batting .374 with six homeruns and 52 RBI on the season. Katz has compiled a .365 average with 16 homeruns and 69 RBI.
After a very bad production day at the plate against UCLA, LSU will be counting on their lineup to come through by producing runs against the Tar heels.
In terms of pitching, there once again isn't a huge difference in the production that both teams have seen in 2013. North Carolina is currently sitting with a team ERA of 2.85, compared to an ERA of 2.35 from LSU's pitching staff. The Tar Heels will be throwing one of their most effective pitchers in the game on Tuesday.
Freshman Trent Thornton has been lights out all season for North Carolina by building a record of 11-1 with an ERA of 1.28 in 84.2 innings, while working primarily out of the bullpen for part of the season. Thornton is known as a power arm and that could be an advantage in this matchup.
LSU will counter with sophomore left-hander Cody Glenn. The Houston native hasn't seen action in nearly a month after being suspended for the Baton Rouge Regional. Glenn still managed to compile a record of 7-2 with an ERA of 2.41 in 82 innings this season.
Heading into the matchup, Glenn has an idea of what his strategy will consist of when the Tigers face off against the Tar Heels.
"I have to hit my spots and stay down in the zone," said Glenn. "I need to fill up the zone and force ground balls like I have all season."
With everything on the line for both teams, it is sure to be an exciting nine innings. The game will begin just after 2:00 p.m.
TSD's Hunter Paniagua broke down the keys to victory for the Tigers in this one. Click the link below to see exactly what LSU will need to do if they hope to stick around for a bit longer in Omaha.
Keys to the Game vs. North Carolina
For even more discussion on this pivotal elimination game, check out this video from TSD's Hunter Paniagua and Fox Sports' Erin Hartigan as they break down what to watch for.
Preview: LSU vs. North Carolina
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