OMAHA, Neb. — Red-eyed and somber, Conner Hale looked like a guy still recovering from a nasty loss the day before.
Hale had one of LSU’s four errors in the 10-3 loss to TCU on Sunday in the Tigers’ College World Series opener. With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Hale couldn’t handle a short grounder to him. The ball popped in and out of his glove, and a runner scored. Everyone was safe.
“That play has to be made 10 out of 10 times,” Hale said Monday before LSU’s practice at Creighton. “I’m going to go out to practice and not think about it. I’m going to be ready to go tomorrow. I knew I was going home with it. I just think I was trying to be too quick, but that play has to be made.”
It was one of several bumbling plays in a game coach Paul Mainieri called “a disaster” on Monday. Hale had that error, pitcher Jared Poché had two errors and Kade Scivicque had one on a throwing error to third on a steal attempt.
Hale and LSU are pushing those miscues from the mind ahead of Tuesday’s elimination game against Cal State Fullerton (39-24). They practiced Monday between spells of rain just a mile from TD Ameritrade Park.
Bregman, the victim of an error in the opening loss of the 2013 CWS, backed up his teammates.
“I think it’s part of the game to be honest with you. It’s just magnified more because it’s here,” Bregman said. “Those guys have made plays for us all year. If Jared Poche didn’t pitch for us this year, if Conner Hale didn’t play third base, if Scivicque wasn’t behind the plate all year, we wouldn’t even be to this point.”
Bregman snaps skid
Bregman admits it – getting that leadoff single in the fourth inning of the loss Sunday didn’t feel bad.
“Felt good,” he said.
His single through the left side ended an 0-for-9 skid at the College World Series. He went 0-for-8 in the two-game trip here in 2013. Bregman went 2-for-4 in Sunday’s game. He singled down the third-base line in the Tigers’ two-run eighth inning, too.
Bregman was 0-for-18 before his two-out, two-run single in a super regional win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
The No. 2 overall selection in last week’s draft, Bregman is focused on one thing.
“It’s win or go home,” he said Monday. “We have to find a way to win.”
About Cal State Fullerton
LSU meets, arguably, the nation’s best mid-major baseball power on Tuesday.
The Titans, the Big West champions this season, are making their 17th College World Series appearance (same as LSU) and are chasing their fifth national championship. Current Texas coach Augie Garrido built the Fullerton program into a powerhouse in two stints there totaling 21 seasons and beginning in 1973.
He won national championships at CSF in 1979, 84 and 1995. Dave Serrano, now the Tennessee coach, led the Titans to the title in 2004.
Rick Vanderhook is in his fourth year leading the program.
“LSU is great,” Vanderhook said. “But they’re human, and we’ll go out and compete against them and see who wins.”
LSU’s three-game skid at the College World Series is the longest since the Tigers lost five straight from 2003-2008. … LSU leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 6-4, and Tuesday’s game marks the third meeting between the teams in the College World Series. Cal State Fullerton has won both prior CWS meetings with LSU: 20-6 in 1994 (second round elimination game) and 8-2 in 2003 (first round game). LSU is 3-3 against the Titans in the six NCAA Tournament meetings between the schools. LSU and Cal State Fullerton last met in the 2011 regular season in Baton Rouge, where the Tigers posted a three-game sweep of the Titans by scores of 7-6, 7-6 and 10-2.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.