clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

GAMETHREAD: 2017 CWS Bracket 1 Rubber Match- Oregon State (56-5) vs. LSU (51-18), 2 p.m., ESPN

Winner to CWS Final. Loser goes home, it’s as simple as that.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-LSU vs Oregon State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

LSU is one win away from playing for a national championship.

In order to have that right, they have to beat the best all-around team in college baseball.

There is no other way to say it, no other way to frame the importance of this game than just that this is a must-win for LSU. Win and you’re in the national championship final. Lose and it’s all over. This is the type of game that LSU prides itself on winning in the past, and now it’s time to honor the history and step up to the challenge.

It won’t be easy, but then again when is it ever? Starter Eric Walker is out with a nagging forearm injury and in his place Caleb Gilbert will start. That already puts LSU behind the eight ball given how talented Oregon State is and the fact that they have already seen Gilbert. Bottom line, for LSU to even have a chance in this game he’s going to have to pitch as perfectly as he can.

That’s partly because Drew Rasmussen is on the mound for the other side. Rasmussen came back from Tommy John surgery in April, but since then he’s been pitching flawlessly: a .79 ERA in 22 innings with five runs allowed, only two of which were earned on 16 hits, posting a K/BB of 4.80 (24/5) while holding batters to a .193 average against him. The bad news is that he’s been really good since returning, the good news is that he has an incredibly small sample size and has yet to pitch against a lineup as good as LSU’s in a stage this big.

LSU won’t need a miracle to win this game, but they do need to play flawless baseball. They need to get to Rasmussen early and often and repeat that against the Beaver’s bullpen while getting near perfection from their pitching staffs.

LSU needs to play their best game of the year today. Can they do it?