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.”
LSU only focused on one game at a time
Tiger Blitz Top Stories
From the other side: LSU vs. MissouriTiger Blitz' Billy Embody caught up with Black & Gold Illustrated's Nate Latsch for the latest on the Missouri Tigers as LSU prepares for the Tigers' first game under Ed Orgeron.
Tiger Blitz9:00 AM
Godchaux will return to team + practice recapThe Tigers were back on the practice field on Tuesday afternoon for LSU's first full practice under Ed Orgeron. Tiger Blitz was there and has notes and reaction to another high…
Tiger Blitz7:59 AM
Tiger Blitz Podcast Sept. 28Take a listen to the Tiger Blitz Podcast for a full breakdown of the Ed Orgeron era, what to expect in the coaching search and the latest from LSU practice.
Tiger Blitz5:32 AM
Ed Orgeron pushing the right buttons with LSULSU opened practice for the media for the first time in-season in years as interim coach Ed Orgeron took over. The team conducted a 30-minute, high-energy walk thru and Tiger Blitz…
Tiger BlitzYesterday at 8:20 AM
Join Tiger Blitz with our 4-for-1 deal!Join Tiger Blitz by taking advantage of our four months for the price of one deal. Get the latest on LSU's coaching search, recruits' reactions and team coverage as LSU hits the…
Tiger BlitzSunday at 6:04 PM