LSU begins a three-game set against Auburn on Thursday night, the final series of the regular season. The Southeastern Conference tournament begins next week.
As the postseason approaches, the last couple spots for hosting an NCAA regional are wide open. LSU, ranked No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball, is sitting in the middle of it.
Will LSU be home or away to open NCAA play?
The Tigers have 17 wins against RPI top 50 teams, tied for fifth-most in the country.
LSU enters Thursday night's game 15-12 in the conference. It is tied with Ole Miss for third in the SEC Western Division. Ole Miss travels this weekend to Tennessee.
There's a lot at stake, so let's break it down.
Against Auburn, Eric Walker will start the opening game of a series for the first time.
— If LSU sweeps Auburn to reach 18 conference wins, it will likely finish fifth in the league and take an edge on hosting a regional, though it will still need to play well in the SEC tournament.
— If LSU beats Auburn twice, it might still finish fifth in the conference, depending on the results of other league games. LSU would still need to win a couple times at the SEC tournament to feel good about its chances of hosting a regional.
— If Auburn wins the series or sweeps, LSU would be in trouble. LSU would drop in the conference standings, and it would have to make a run in the SEC tournament in order to host a regional. Even that might not be enough.
Coach Paul Mainieri expressed optimism for injured freshmen Cole Henry and Jaden Hill, saying they might pitch in the Southeastern Conference tournament next week.
LSU can finish anywhere from No. 4 to No. 8 in the conference. Reaching No. 4 would require Mississippi State to get swept by South Carolina and LSU to sweep Auburn, an unlikely scenario given Mississippi State's talent.
LSU's best shot is to have the No. 5 seed in next week's tournament. It can reach that and position itself well for hosting the NCAA tournament, but only if it beats Auburn.