- 2018 Record: 37-25 (15-15 Conference)
- Head Coach: Paul Mainieri
- Best Batter: Antoine Duplantis (.337 Batting Average)
- Best Fielder: Hunter Feduccia (353 Putouts)
- Best Pitcher: Ma’Khail Hilliard (3.79 ERA)
The Tigers ended last season with a loss to Florida in the College World Series final. On their way there, the Tigers eliminated Oregon State in the round just prior to the tournament’s final series. Those wins against the Beavs came as the result of good offense on LSU’s part along with some objectively strange umpiring by Greg Street. But this is a new year, and both OSU and LSU are looking forward.
Long-time college baseball fans will know that LSU is home to one of the more successful programs in the sport’s history with six national titles and 18 trips to Omaha under their belt. Their most recent championship came back in 2009 in Paul Mainieri’s third season at the helm. Mainieri is still the skipper of the Tigers and has brought them back to Omaha three more times since.
This season, LSU played their best at home in Baton Rouge, where they won 29 games and lost just eight. The bulk of their troubles this season came on the road where they were 4-14. LSU also played seven games at neutral sites this season and won four of those, including a run to the SEC championship game this past weekend. The Tigers lost that game to Ole Miss 9-1
Individually, LSU has a handful of extremely talented players that Oregon State and the other teams in this regional will need to watch out for. Notably, Antoine Duplantis has been stellar at the plate and defensively in the outfield. Duplantis led the team in batting average, hits, runs, and stolen bases in 2018. Senior Austin Bain is also one to watch as he has played well in the infield, at the plate, and as a relief pitcher for the Tigers.
If LSU win their first game on Friday at 1 PM against San Diego State (and OSU are able to do the same), then the Beavs will likely see Ma’Khail Hilliard get the start against them on Saturday. Only a freshman, Hilliard won nine games this season, which was second in the SEC. As a casual observer of SEC baseball, Hilliard’s command of the mound was one of the most impressive I saw in that league in 2018, especially considering he’s still developing physically.
The bottom of the line is this: LSU is a very experienced and well-coached team. When they’re on, they’re tough to beat, in all facets of the game. But for some reason, they’ve had a problem making that happen away from Baton Rouge this season.
Number To Know: 86
Tigers’ outfielder Antoine Duplantis led the SEC in hits this regular season with 86 in 255 plate appearances.
History Against Oregon State:
The Tigers and the Beavers have played each other five times, all of which were between 2012 and now. LSU is 4-1 in that series. Each of those games came in the NCAA tournament: two in the 2012 Baton Rouge regional and three in the 2017 CWS.
Oregon State’s only win was last season in their first meeting of the 2017 CWS where OSU won 13-1.