BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - The highs, like big series wins against Mississippi State and Texas A&M, and the lows, like a poor mid-week record and early season sweep at the hands of Texas, don’t mean a thing now. What matters is the work that LSU’s put in over the last two weeks to give them a regional in their own backyard.
“This is the real season now,” says LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “The goal is to avoid losing two games in one weekend. This is what you come to LSU for, to play in the NCAA tournament and host a regional.”
Not only were the Tigers able to win enough games in Hoover to earn the 13th seed, but they also showed how well they can perform in must-win games.
“We’re battle tested,” says senior Antoine Duplantis. “We went through the SEC Tournament and had some tough wins against some really good teams. I don’t think anybody we play this weekend is going to be better than anybody we’ve played all year. But at the same time, we know we’ll play some good opponents and have to bring our A-game like we have the last few weeks.”
No matter how well you’re playing, though, it’s hard to maintain momentum in college baseball without good pitching. But after what we saw from the Tigers in last week, that’s exactly why LSU likes their chances.
“Our starting pitching has gotten me excited,” says Mainieri. “I think (Landon) Marceaux is throwing like a seasoned veteran now. Cole Henry’s back healthy, and I think he’s going to be much better than he was his first time out. And I think Eric Walker will get himself straightened out with a good week of side practice, and he’ll be ready to go.”
That will be key moving forward. As the Tigers pitching goes, so will they, especially against a hard-hitting team like Arizona State (their 92 home runs lead the NCAA), the two seed in the Baton Rouge Regional. It’s why the health of the Tigers’ pitching rotation’s been in the spotlight all season long, but they appear to be as good as they’ll get at the right time.