LSU will have a rematch with South Carolina for a shot at the SEC Championship game

LSU baseball has a rematch with South Carolina for a spot in the SEC Championship game. The Tigers came back to win the first matchup 11-10. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU baseball head coach Jay Johnson said earlier this season that the Tigers are one of the 15 best teams in college baseball despite their record and place in the standings.

It’s starting to look like the standings agree with Johnson’s assessment after LSU’s SEC Tournament run. LSU sits at No. 15 in the KPI and No. 23 in RPI. Both D1Baseball and Baseball America have the Tigers up to a No. 2 seed after having them outside of the tournament bubble heading into the final week of the regular season.

Alabama (22), South Carolina (21), Mississippi State (20) and Vanderbilt (17) all still sit above LSU in RPI, but the Tigers are behind only Mississippi State in KPI (11). Another couple wins would see the Tigers claim the SEC Championship and likely move them up a few more spots in the rankings.

If LSU beats South Carolina a second time on Saturday, it should put the Tigers at least one spot higher for certain.

A No. 2 seed could help LSU significantly in the NCAA Tournament. It would mean there’s a chance the Tigers could host a Super Regional in Alex Box Stadium if they advance and a top seed loses.  

The win did more than just help LSU’s postseason seeding, it also gave the Tigers an all-important off-day before the semifinals. Perhaps most importantly though – most importantly to the players appetites at least – it meant the team was taking a trip to Fleming’s, a popular steakhouse.

“[The game against South Carolina] was the off-day championship,” Jay Johnson said. “Then we’re going to go to Fleming’s. We went to Fleming’s on Sunday night when we arrived. And I said if we have the off-day on Friday, we’ll go to Fleming’s again. It’s kind of a postseason tradition here the last couple years. We got the off day, and we got the steak. So a lot of very happy guys going back to that hotel tonight.”

LSU will be well rested and well-fed heading into its rematch with South Carolina. The Gamecocks beat Kentucky 6-5 Friday afternoon to claim their spot in the semifinals and set up a rematch with the Tigers.

South Carolina used four pitchers in the win including starter Dylan Eskew. Eskew had the second most starts on the team and an ERA of 4.88 heading into the game with Kentucky.

LSU has yet to announce a starter for the rematch with the Gamecocks, but it’ll likely be either Sam Dutton or Kade Anderson. Dutton has been LSU’s game three starter its last two series but has yet to go more than 2.1 innings in a game this season. Anderson has proved to be a capable starter in midweek games but was shelled in his lone SEC start.

DJ Primeaux and Aiden Moffett should also be available out of the bullpen and have not pitched in Hoover. Justin Loer threw 14 pitches and Nate Ackenhausen threw 33 pitches on Thursday, Gavin Guidry threw 35 pitches on Wednesday and Griffin Herring threw 33 pitches on Tuesday. All of those players could be available in some capacity on Saturday.

LSU and South Carolina will have their rematch on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised on SEC Network and the winner will head to the SEC Championship game.

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Will Nickel

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