BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Despite a disappointing loss in the SEC tournament semifinals, this is not the end of the line for LSU, as the Tigers were selected as an NCAA Baseball Regional host site Sunday night.
It is the 23rd time in school history that LSU has hosted a baseball regional.
The Tigers now enter what head coach Paul Mainieri refers to as the third stage of the season. The team is very much in position to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
"I think we're going to look at our whole body of work as we prepare for the NCAA Tournament and realize that we've done a lot of great things," Mainieri said Saturday after the loss to Florida. "We've won an SEC Western Division title. We've one an SEC regular season title. I like to think that we've secured home field for the regional and if we're fortunate enough to win a regional, for the super regional."
The one-run battle with Florida represents what the Tigers could see this postseason as the competition gets tougher, which usually means the runs are harder to come by. But even when the offense is scarce, the Tigers' defense, combined with a pitching staff still boasting the SEC's best ERA, means they're always in the game.
"We played hard until the end," said freshman pitcher Alex Lange. "I feel like the offense wasn't their typical selves like they have been all year, but that's our job, as a pitching staff, to pick them up."
"His preparation. You watch the way he carries himself before a game, the way he prepares himself. He's like a ten-year major league veteran. He's just got such great presence about him, and you're just confident when he goes out there that he's got a chance to pitch a really outstanding ball game," Mainieri added.
And the team will need the best from every Tiger as the "win or go home" mindset begins next weekend.
"There's no tomorrow. You've got to win and you get to keep playing. So, our confidence will be high. I can assure you of that and that is based on the success we've had up to this point," Mainieri explained.
The teams LSU will face in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional will be announced Monday at 11 a.m. The games start Friday.