LSU dropped its CWS opener to North Carolina, 8-4, on Sunday before posting a thrilling 6-5 victory over Rice on Tuesday. After defeating the Tigers on Sunday, the Tar Heels fell to Fresno State, 5-3, on Tuesday.
The loser of the LSU-UNC games is eliminated from the CWS. The winner advances to meet Fresno State at 6 p.m. Friday. The LSU-UNC winner must defeat Fresno State on Friday and Saturday to reach the CWS championship series.
LSU erased a 5-2 ninth-inning deficit with a four-run rally to eliminate Rice on Tuesday. Designated hitter Blake Dean’s walk-off three-run double lifted the Tigers to victory.
LSU has posted 30 come-from-behind wins this season, and the Tigers have won nine games in their final at-bat.
LSU has won 26 of its last 28 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 said he expects the Tigers to perform well on Thursday.
“We’re alive in the tournament, but I still don’t’ feel like we’ve played our best game,” Mainieri said. “We have great respect for North Carolina and its program, but we have a very confident ball club that feels it can meet any challenge.
Mainieri said junior left-hander Blake Martin (5-3, 4.89 ERA), the 17th-round draft selection of the Minnesota Twins, will start Thursday’s game on the mound for LSU.
North Carolina coach Mike Fox will counter with freshman right-hander Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.52 ERA).
LSU sophomore second baseman Ryan Schimpf is batting a team-best .464 (13-for-28) during the NCAA Tournament five doubles, one triple, two homers and nine RBI.
Junior first baseman Matt Clark is hitting .44 (12-for-27) during the tournament with four doubles, five homers and 10 RBI. Dean, a Baseball America first-team All-American, is hitting .441 (15-for-34) in the tournament with five doubles, one triple, four homers and 16 RBI.
North Carolina, batting a robust .326 this season, is led by sophomore first baseman Dustin Ackley, who is hitting .404 on the year with 20 doubles, four triple, seven homers and 50 RBI. Sophomore right fielder Tim Fedroff is batting .401 with 21 doubles, five triples, 12 homers and 70 RBI, and sophomore second baseman Kyle Seager is batting .359 with 29 doubles, five triples, nine homers and a team-best 75 RBI.
LSU leads the all-time series with the Tar Heels, 2-1, including the Tigers’ CWS loss on Sunday. The Tigers defeated the Tar Heels, 8-5, at the 1990 ABCA Hall of Fame Tournament in Haines City, Fla., and LSU posted an 11-4 win over UNC at the 1997 Winn-Dixie Showdown in New Orleans (Louisiana Superdome).
Thursday, June 19 – 6 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.
North Carolina is the NCAA Tournament No. 2 national seed. The Tar Heels are ranked No. 2 by USA Today/ESPN, No. 3 by Baseball America and No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball
- LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
- The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
LSU leads the series with the Tar Heels, 2-1. UNC defeated LSU in the teams’ opening game of the 2008 College World Series, 8-4, on Sunday. The Tigers defeated the Tar Heels, 8-5, at the 1990 ABCA Hall of Fame Tournament in Haines City, Fla., and LSU posted an 11-4 win over UNC at the 1997 Winn-Dixie Showdown in New Orleans (Louisiana Superdome).
LSU - Jr. LHP Blake Martin (5-3, 4.89 ERA, 88.1 IP, 36 BB, 80 SO)
UNC – Fr. RHP Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.52 ERA, 60.2 IP, 44 BB, 74 SO)