The LSU Tigers didn't look at all like themselves in their College World Series opener and it goes beyond a pair of strange errors from the gritty Jared Poche, who by the way, rehearsed that throw to first base several times as soon as LSU took the practice field Monday afternoon.
Their bats weren't nearly as clutch and they left runners in scoring position in early innings. One of the Tigers' strongest base runners, Jared Foster, was uncharacteristically thrown out at home trying to score from second base on a Jake Fraley single. Even after scrapping one run across in the fourth, it was already too late.
Plain and simple: it was not the LSU team seen during the regular season.
The Tigers spent the majority of the second half of their SEC schedule putting themselves in holes to start games, but became quite comfortable and skilled battling back to victory. Sunday, it seemed like they hit the panic button.
Simple probability says the Tigers won't commit four errors again and if Alex Lange has just an "average" night by his standards, it shouldn't take an outrageous offensive outing to survive and advance, though more offense would be welcomed by fans.
In other words, the LSU Tigers just need to be themselves.
Part of that means continuing their trend of not having back-to-back losses. The other part means settling in and finding a way to score in any situation.
The Texas A&M series stands out as one of their best weekends in terms of playing their best baseball against the best competition. Falling behind in each of the first two games never phased the Tigers. A Danny Zardon walk-off Friday night and four-run seventh inning Saturday that included some classic LSU slugging and a perfectly executed RBI bunt single from Chris Sciambra gave them the series.
Granted, those feats are easier to accomplish in the comforts of Alex Box, but this is also a team that lost only three games outside of Baton Rouge in the regular season. TD Ameritrade Park remains the only mountain they haven't climbed and conquered.
The Tigers are as naturally talented as any team in Omaha right now. They say there's no lack of confidence. As Alex Bregman said repeatedly Monday, all they have to do is win like they have 53 out of 64 outings already.
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