The Tigers (35-16-1, 15-11-1 SEC) have won 12 in a row and are ranked No. 16 in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball rankings following the weekend sweep of Mississippi State.
The pollsters and the LSU fans have recognized just what the Tigers have accomplished during their winning streak but Mainieri is quick to point out that his team is not reading any headlines and is focused on the final four regular season games.
“The winning streak is not our point of emphasis,” he said. “Our point of emphasis is to win the SEC West then to make it to Hoover (SEC Tournament). Then it’s to host an NCAA Regional and to get an NCAA bid. These last four games have everything to do with that and whether we’re 12-0 or 11-1 it would still be the same approach that we need to do to give ourselves the best chance to accomplish those goals.”
UNO (38-13, 18-8 Sun Belt) is just as hot as the Privateers are riding a 13-game winning streak and are currently ranked only four spots behind LSU in the latest RPI released by Boyd’s World.
The UNO game is sure to be an emotional one for many involved as it will match up LSU’s skipper against the school he played for in 1978 and 1979, but more importantly, it is being played in honor of former LSU third baseman Wally Pontiff, Jr.
“I am so excited about this game tomorrow night,” said LSU’s skipper. “I love the University of New Orleans. I spent two of the greatest years of my life there and I love everything about that city and university.
“The overlying theme of this game is to honor a former LSU player that died way, way too young and it’s a way to keep his memory alive and a way to give the city of New Orleans a very positive game. I think it’s going to be a great ballgame.”
If Tuesday’s game is anything like the previous three matchups then the fans are in for a treat.
The Privateers have won three in a row over the Tigers dating back to last season and UNO has the utmost respect of Mainieri and the Tigers.
“UNO is the best team that we’ve played this year,” Mainieri said. “We’ve played Georgia and we’ve played them all. I’m telling you that UNO is a fabulous team. They’re hitting .340 as a team and there isn’t an easy out in their lineup. Their pitching is much better than people will give it credit for and they are extremely well-coached.”
Mainieri is going to send junior college transfer Jordan Brown (3-0, 4.53 ERA) to the mound to face the Privateers and UNO head coach Tommy Walter will counter with freshman right-hander Cory Myers.