LSU currently sits outside of the NCAA Tournament, but its still one of the favorites to win it all

LSU baseball heads into its last road series of the season needing a win. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU has been on its best run of the season and won its last three SEC series, but the early hole the Tigers dug themselves into to start the season means each of their last two series are must-wins.

D1Baseball has LSU as one of the first four teams out of the tournament in its current projections, and any slip up down the stretch would likely see the Tigers miss out on the postseason for the first time since 2011.

A series win over Alabama, a team that is projected as a No. 2 seed in the tournament and sits above LSU in both RPI and KPI, could boost the Tigers’ chances. They would still need a series win over Ole Miss in the season finale to have a shot at making the postseason though.

When the Tigers last missed the tournament, they hit the 13-win mark in conference play. LSU will need to win four of its last six games to reach that mark. If LSU wins five of the last six, their odds of making the postseason would increase dramatically with 14 conference wins.

LSU reliever Gavin Guidry said playing under pressure could end up helping the Tigers in the long run. Their poor start to the season meant every series for the last few weeks have been a must-win or else the season was over. If they can sneak into the tournament, the pressure wouldn’t be anything new for them.

“Pretty soon, a couple weeks from now, every single team that’s still playing is going to be in the hot seat,” Guidry said. “We’ll be lucky enough to have played 15 games [to] 20 games up to that point where it’s pretty much win or the season is over with, and there’s not going to be a lot of teams that’ve gone through that.”

Guidry is no stranger to pressure. He pitched eight times in the postseason for LSU last year in the championship run including the final two innings of the College World Series. He came into LSU’s midweek game with the Tigers trailing and pitched four shutout innings to keep the Tigers’ season alive.

Despite still being outside of the tournament field, LSU baseball has the eighth best odds to win the national championship, according to Circa Sports. The Tigers have played the three teams with the best odds to win the championship: Texas A&M, Arkansas and Tennessee.

If LSU can make it into the postseason, there’s no denying it’ll be a dangerous team. The Tigers and Jay Johnson obviously have a history of making postseason runs and have shown flashes of their potential this season, most notably in the series win over No. 1 Texas A&M.

There’s also precedent of teams starting slow before going on a postseason tear. The year before LSU won the 2023 championship, Ole Miss sat at 7-14 in SEC play before going on a win streak to help get to 14 wins. Ole Miss went on to win the championship that season.

“Our players have earned the position that makes this weekend important,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “If you can make the last 10 games of a regular season important, then you’re doing something right. Our players for the last month have been doing a lot of things right. These last six games over the next two weeks are really significant, and we can’t wait to get started this weekend.”

LSU has been playing under pressure for the last three weeks, and it’s rose to the challenge each time it looked like its season was over. The Tigers will have to do it two more times to make the postseason, and then, anything can happen.

LSU will start its series against Alabama tonight at 6 p.m.

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Will Nickel

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