LSU only focused on one game at a time

LSU hasn't lost consecutive games this season, and the Tigers are hoping to continue that trend Tuesday at the College World Series.

OMAHA, Neb. — LSU can’t win four games without winning one.

That’s the mindset LSU takes into Tuesday’s elimination game. The Tigers have their backs against the wall after losing the opening game of the College World Series. That sent LSU into the losers’ bracket, and they need four wins in five days to reach the finals.

But LSU won’t think too far ahead, because no future past Tuesday is promised.

“It would’ve been nice to do it the easy way, but we’ve chosen the hard way,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We can’t play for the national championship unless we win a game tomorrow. So that’s where our total focus is, and we’ll worry about the next day when the next day comes.”

Mainieri called Sunday’s loss to TCU the worst game his team has played since he came to LSU. He had a long meeting with them before Tuesday’s practice trying to help them erase it from their minds.

That message came through loud and clear.

“We know what we need to do to make sure we’re ready for the next game,” said LSU left fielder Jake Fraley. “We forget about what’s already happened and focus on what’s going to happen in the future.”

LSU hopes the future holds another win.

The Tigers have not lost consecutive games this season, 10-0 in games following a loss. The players said their mindset is the reason why — that “one game at a time” mentality.

“We’ve made it this far because we’ve had the right mindset,” Fraley said. “It’s nothing different now. We’re just focused on the next game up and next team on the schedule.”

The road won’t be easy though. Only three teams in the last 30 years of the CWS have gone on to win a national championship after losing the first game. LSU has never been able to do it in Omaha.

But they have in different settings. The 2009 team won five straight games in the SEC Tournament after dropping the opener. Mainieri used that as an example of what can be done.

“You can learn lessons from history,” Mainieri said. “It shows it’s possible. We’re filling their heads with positive thoughts and getting them excited to wake up tomorrow to get back on the field.”

LSU can’t duplicate that 2009 SEC Tournament run without first taking care of business Tuesday. The team understands that and has embraced that mentality.

It’s the best way they know to tackle the challenge.

“Everyone’s confident we can win one game,” said LSU shortstop Alex Bregman. “We can’t go anywhere in this tournament if we don’t win tomorrow.”

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