The tigers arrived at the College World Series seeking their 7th national title but the season came to rough ending Tuesday with a 4-2 loss to North Carolina in an elimination game. LSU was plagued by errors and lack of timely hitting which caused them to go 0-2 in Omaha. The tigers finished a historic season with a 57-11 record but fall short of their goal of a national championship.
The tigers national championship chances took a massive hit Sunday night as they fell to the bruins 2-1. Despite a very good performance by starter Aaron Nola the LSU (57-10) defense commited 2 errors at critical moments to allow UCLA 2 runs. Bruin starter Adam Plutko kept the LSU bats silent all night with the exception of Mason Katz’s solo homer in the 4th inning. The tigers had 5 hits for the night.
LSU now faces North Carolina (57-11) in an elimination game. Carolina lost to North Carolina State 8-1. The tigers will be the home team at 2:00 Tuesday and will go with Cody Glenn on the mound. The game will be televised by ESPN.
The UCLA Bruins (44-17) will face LSU (57-9) Sunday in the opening game for each team. The Bruins have been ranked among the top 15 teams in the country all season. UCLA defeated #8 national seed Oregon in Eugene in a 3 game series in April. They hosted the Los Angeles regional and went 3-0. They then swept the super regional against the host Cal State Fullerton defeating the titans 5-3 and 3-0 to advance. The bruins average 4.8 runs per game and 3.1 runs allowed. Pitching is the very foundation of this UCLA team and they have a team ERA of 2.69. The ace of the bruin staff is Adam Plutko (8-3, 2.35) who is likely to face tigers Aaron Nola (12-0, 1.68) in the first round Sunday. Other key starters are Nick Vander Tuig (12-4, 2.37), Grant Watson (8-3, 3.22), and Codie Poteet (4-6, 4.84). They have one of the nations top closers in side-armer David Berg (0.88) who is 2nd in the nation with 22 saves.
LSU (57-9) is going back to Omaha for its first time since the 2009 National Championship. Jacoby Jones delivered a monstrous 4-hit night which helped in the 11-1 victory sending the tigers to their home away from home and another chance at a national title.
The #4 seeded tigers will open up Friday in Omaha against UCLA. The Bruins beat home standing favorite Cal State Fullerton to advance. The time of the game is not yet known.
Jacoby Jones hit his first triple of the year and pinch hitter Ty Ross hit a double to center field to give the tigers the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning. Mark Laird followed up Ross’s double with an RBI to make it 2-0. Tiger starter Aaron Nola (12-0) completed a 2 hit shutout by finishing off the sooners with 3 straight outs to close game 1 as the home team got the pivotal victory.
Aaron Nola and third overall draft pick Jonathan Gray (10-3) battled and were almost flawless for over 7 innings until the tigers exploded in the 8th.
Game 2 on Saturday will begin at 6:00 and be televised by ESPN2. The tigers will be playing for a trip to Omaha and the sooners will be playing to force a winner takes all game on Sunday. LSU junior right-hander Ryan Eades (8-1, 2.81) will face Oklahoma junior lefty Dillon Overton (9-2, 2.91) in game 2.