LSU has won 25 of its last 27 games. The Tigers recorded a 23-game winning streak from April 22-June 1, the longest single-season streak in Southeastern Conference history.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who led Notre Dame to the 2002 CWS, said the Tigers are squarely focused upon Tuesday’s game.
“We’ve now played a game here, so I think our players will be much more comfortable on Tuesday,” Mainieri said. “The players now know what it feels like to play in a College World Series game, so I would expect us to play very well in the next game.
“Rice has an outstanding team, one of the best programs in the country over the last several years, so we are certainly facing a great challenge. Our objective is to win this game and continue to move forward in the tournament. We don’t look at it as a ‘win or go home’ situation.”
Mainieri said senior right-hander Jared Bradford (10-4, 4.50 ERA), the 18th-round draft selection of the St. Louis Cardinals, will start Tuesday’s game on the mound for LSU.
Rice coach Wayne Graham will counter with senior right-hander Chris Kelley (5-1, 3.28 ERA).
LSU junior first baseman Matt Clark is hitting .500 (12-for-824) during the NCAA Tournament with four doubles, five homers and 10 RBI. Sophomore second baseman Ryan Schimpf is hitting .480 (12-for-25) in NCAA games with five doubles, one triple, two homers and nine RBI.
Sophomore outfielder/DH Blake Dean, a Baseball America first-team All-American, is hitting a sizzling .433 (13-for-30) in the tournament with three doubles, one triple, four homers and 13 RBI.
Rice is hitting .307 on the year with 53 home runs. Senior infielder J.P. Padron is batting .356 this season with 13 doubles, five homers and 41 RBI. Sophomore infielder Diego Seastrunk is also batting .356 with 19 doubles, one triple, six homers and 60 RBI.
Tuesday’s game between the Tigers (48-18-1) and the Owls (47-14) will be televised by ESPN2. The winner of the LSU-Rice contest will play the loser of Tuesday’s Fresno State-North Carolina game at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Tuesday, June 17 – 1 p.m. CT
Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.
LSU is the NCAA Tournament No. 7 national seed. The Tigers are ranked No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 4 by Baseball America and No. 7 by USA Today/ESPN.
Rice is the NCAA Tournament No. 6 national seed. The Owls are ranked No. 5 by USA Today/ESPN, No. 5 by Baseball America and No. 5 by Collegiate Baseball
- LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
- The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
The series between LSU and Rice is tied 11-11, though Rice has won seven of the last nine meetings between the clubs. Rice is 6-1 versus LSU in NCAA Tournament games, and Owls coach Wayne Graham has a 7-2 overall mark against the Tigers. LSU coach Paul Mainieri has a 1-0 career mark against Rice – Mainieri led Notre Dame to a victory over the Owls at the 2002 College World Series.
LSU - Sr. RHP Jared Bradford (10-4, 4.50 ERA, 86.0 IP, 20 BB, 75 SO)
Rice – Sr. RHP Chris Kelley (5-1, 3.28 ERA, 68.2 IP, 19 BB, 59 SO)