One more time for a chance to stay in Omaha.
LSU baseball faces off with juggernaut Oregon State for the second straight day, hoping for another win over the No. 1-seeded Beavers.
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WHO: Oregon State vs. LSU
WHEN: 2 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: TD Ameritrade Park
SEEDS: LSU is the NCAA tournament No. 4 national seed. Oregon State is the NCAA tournament No. 1 national seed.
RADIO: WDGL-FM 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
IN GAME UPDATES: Follow live updates from the game below.
OMAHA, Neb. — How to beat a team that had seen the sun rise 55 times since its last loss: Ha…
OMAHA, Neb. — Win or go home.
Oregon State: So. RHP Bryce Fehmel
Stats: 3-0, 0.79 ERA, 22.2 IP, 24 K, 5 BB
Analysis: Rasmussen didn’t pitch until late April this season after recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he has been lights out since his return. He also pitched in Oregon State’s CWS opener, striking out a pair in a perfect ninth inning that had LSU coach Paul Mainieri making a comparison that LSU fans probably don’t want to hear. “He pitched an inning like Zack Hess, so to speak. That’s basically who he is; he’s Zack Hess.” The one drawback to using Rasmussen might be his stamina coming off his injury. He has only logged three games with 70 or more pitches this season, and has not thrown more than 84. His longest outing this season was six innings against Abilene Christian in the NCAA regional.
What they said: “I saw him at Oregon, and he was on a pitch count, but he was electric — 93-96 (mph) with a really good slider and a changeup that was better than it had been in the past. We’ve seen flashes, the key for him is being able to sustain it. In the regional, he came out really strong, and in the second inning his velocity dropped way down. We don’t know. Coming back from Tommy John surgery is a gradual process. He’s still working his way back, but when he’s on, it’s electric.” — Aaron Fitt, national college baseball writer for D1 Baseball.
LSU: So. RHP Caleb Gilbert
Stats: 6-1, 2.29 ERA, 51 IP, 11 BB, 60 K
Analysis: While LSU would certainly rather have Eric Walker in this situation, Gilbert is a highly capable fourth starting option for the Tigers. He has been one of LSU’s best pitchers down the stretch, compiling a .071 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 25.1 innings over his last 11 appearances, including a pair of outings that lasted five or more innings. The main concern — and this is one reason why LSU wishes Walker was still available — is that LSU does not have many options behind Gilbert should he stumble early. Zack Hess will be available after throwing 23 pitches Friday, but for how long? Can Hunter Newman put his poor Monday outing behind him? Will someone else step up?
What they said: “Hopefully I just stay within myself. We kind of like to think of it like we put all the pressure on them. Our backs were against the wall, now hopefully they feel like that. We’re going to go out there and play loose, relaxed, and hopefully play our game.” — Gilbert.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
It is somewhat remarkable that LSU has gotten to within one win of the College World Series final with the production it has had from the top of its lineup. In CWS games, Kramer Robertson is 1-18, Cole Freeman is 2-15, Antoine Duplantis is 4-15 and Greg Deichmann is 3-14. That’s a combined 10-62 (.161), meaning the group has struck out more times (13) than it has reached base with a hit. Normally, you’d say that is not going to get the job done, but it has to this point with the help of the bottom of the order. You get the feeling that top of the order, which had been so great down the stretch for the Tigers, is going to snap out of it eventually and produce in a big way, but it is running out of time. Considering the pitching situation LSU is in, Saturday would be an opportune moment.