That’s how many wins it takes to win the College World Series once you get to Omaha. Three in the tournament round, two in the championship series The trick is that you’re only allowed two losses total, one in the tournament round and another in the championship series. You have to get those five wins before you get two losses in any stage of the tournament, and you have to do that against the seven best or hottest teams in the nation.
If LSU wins those five games, they will have 41 wins in the College World Series. They’d still be ways behind Texas’ 85, but LSU has would have a commanding lead in the “modern era” of college baseball. But that will tell us what we already know: in the last 30 years, LSU has been running college baseball.
Only since 2009, there hasn’t been anything to show for it. LSU has done in remarkable task of landing a national seed for six years in a row, but the Tigers have struggled to turn those numbers by their names into a dogpile in Omaha.
And that’s not an indictment of Paul Mainieri, any LSU assistant, or players. It’s stupid hard to win the whole thing. There are 300 teams eligible for the College World Series and after a season in the hardest conference in college baseball, you have to play teams even harder than that at three different stages and in four formats. Often the better team does in fact win in Omaha, but at the same time any mistake or error can cost you the entire season and everything you’ve worked for.
It’s an unfair lesson from the Baseball Gods themselves and everybody experiences the emotion of heartbreak in Omaha eventually if they’re good enough. That’s your reward for being good: heartbreak. To win you have to have your heartbroken, either before or after. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, call it the aluminum price.
But it’s time for LSU to take things into their own hands and decide their own fate, not the Baseball Gods. The wait Louisiana has gone through has been long enough and it’s time LSU cashes in on all the heartbreak and validates those six years of being one of the eight best teams in the regular season.
And why not? This is one of, if not the best team that Paul Mainieri has brought to Omaha going back to the 2009 trip that was nearly perfect. The constant Achilles heel of starting pitching depth has not only been answered, but answered emphatically with the addition of Eric Walker, who resembles Cool Hand Luke more than he does a freshman pitcher. Alex Lange is still a pitching xenomorph leading the charge and you’ll be hard pressed to find a pitcher that is more of a rottweiler than Jared Poche’. And the bullpen is loaded with the three headed beast of Zack Hess, Caleb Gilbert, and Hunter Newman.
Depending if Nick Coomes’ hand injury, there are no holes in the LSU lineup. Kramer Robertson, Cole Freeman, Greg Deichmann, and Michael Papierski provide as solid of a veteran presence as you can ask for, both at the field and at the plate, with Deichmann serving as probably the best raw hitter in Omaha this weekend. Freshman Zach Watson has picked a hell of a time to catch fire and explode on to the scene and Josh Smith is impossibly smooth as a freshman. And LSU is as clean fielding team as you can hope for, possible the best in Omaha. Everything is set up for a run.
This is what they’ve been playing for all season. Mainieri is noticeably tight as a head coaches and presses his players all year, and this is why. After a season of being put in high pressure situations by their head coach, it’s time to do it for real. If you lose, there will be no midweek game to bounce back against. There will be no second chances. This is it. You have all the pieces required, it’s time to play the game.
You need five wins to be crowed champions. Can you get them?