1. Oregon State
3. San Diego State
4. Northwestern State
National Seeding: Oregon State is preposterously the #3 national seed behind Florida and Stanford. They should be 7 or 8, at best, and possibly 9th or 10th.
Player to Watch: Zach Hess. Hess has been up and down all year but delivered 7 innings of one-hit ball to shut down Arkansas in the SEC semifinals. Can Hess repeat the performance in Corvallis or will he be the near-.500 pitcher with an ERA near 5.00 like he was in the regular season?
Hess also recorded two saves to eliminate Oregon State last year in Omaha – an interesting side note to this regional.
Top 3 Themes in This Regional:
1. Will LSU Hit? The Tigers have several dead outs at the bottom of the line-up and no real power like Greg Deichmann or Chris Chinea in recent years. The Tigers got it done in Hoover with clutch hitting – over 60% of their RBIs came with 2 outs. They need more of the same magic on the West Coast this weekend.
2. Can the Bullpen Hold Up? In Hoover, LSU played 6 games in 6 days and the bullpen stepped-up in a big way. Cam Sanders, Matthew Beck, and Devin Fontenot need to eat innings to get the ball to Todd Peterson to shut it down.
3. Will the Beavers Get Revenge for 2017? – Oregon State pounded LSU in game 2 in Omaha last year, 13-1, but the Tigers came back to beat Oregon State twice to advance to the CWS Finals. LSU allowed only two runs in those 2 wins as Oregon State managed just 5 hits total. Caleb Gilbert started the final game against OSU and allowed just 2 hits in 7.1 IP.
At home in Corvallis, expect the Beavers to be gunning for LSU.
LSU’s Chances To Win It: 20%. Oregon State will be a heavy favorite at home. The Tigers need to get quality starts out of Zach Hess and Ma’Khail Hilliard in order to preserve the bullpen. Even then, the quality pitching and depth of Oregon State might be hard to overcome.
Why Oregon State Will Win It: Homefield. A team hitting .318. Two starters in Heimlich and Fehmel combining for a 23-2 record. But most importantly, revenge.
What is Success for LSU? This season? Getting out of the regional. It’s irrational to think it’s likely but don’t try selling rational to the majority of LSU baseball fans. Frankly, they’re a hitter and a starter away from being pretty damn good but neither will appear in time for the trip to Corvallis.
SouthernCFB’s SEC Regional Previews