OMAHA, Neb. — LSU’s road to a national championship just got much bumpier.
The Tigers will now have to come out of the losers’ bracket to do it after dropping the opener 10-3 against TCU on Sunday. Few teams have managed to do that in recent history.
Since the College World Series moved to its current format in 1988, only five teams have made the finals after losing its opening game. Just three have gone on to win the title.
LSU can’t think that far ahead though. They can only focus on the most immediate challenge.
“We’ve got to win a game,” said LSU DH Chris Sciambra. “That’s all we’re trying to do now. Let’s just win a game and move on from there.”
LSU will have to win four games in five days to reach the championship series. That starts Tuesday at 2 p.m. in an elimination game against either Vanderbilt or Cal State-Fullerton.
If LSU can continue to win, they would play three straight games starting Thursday. If they lose Tuesday, they’ll have their second straight two-and-out appearance at the CWS.
“We're going to regroup,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We'll regain our composure, poise and confidence, and most importantly, get ready to play on Tuesday.”
If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Alex Lange will take the mound for LSU’s next game. The Tigers are 14-2 in games he’s started this year.
“He's handled every challenge that's come his way,” Mainieri said. “He's been a great competitor. And I know one thing, he'll give his very best effort and that's all I'll ask of him.”
The remaining question is what will LSU do after that. The Tigers don’t have a legitimate third starter, so Jack Wholestaff will have to get LSU at least two wins for them. Jared Poché will also have to bounce back from his rough outing.
LSU didn’t want to be in this position entering the CWS, but their performance Sunday forced their hand.
“I feel confident in our staff, and obviously Jared will have to come back for one of those games,” Mainieri said. “So we're just going to have to piece it together.”
LSU in tough spot after opening loss
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