The College World Series resumes on Tuesday night with Tigers ace Jared Poche expected to face Gators freshman Tyler Dyson in a potentially rainy and close Game 2 where Runs again should be at a premium.
#4 LSU vs. #3 Florida (ESPN, 8 pm ET): Florida (51-19) will be on the brink of a national championship on Tuesday night when it faces fellow SEC hardball powerhouse LSU (52-19) in Game 2 of the NCAA College World Series Finals from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. Popular Offshore sportsbook 5Dimes currently has LSU -150 favorites in this must-win spot with the Total at 7½u -140. The Run Line market sees the Tigers -1½ at +105 with the Gators +1½ -135 ). Florida is the Home side here Game 2 (and bats last), and, if necessary, the Tigers will be the Home club for a possible 2017 CWS national championship-deciding Game 3 on Wednesday night (ESPN, 8 pm ET). LSU won the initial coin flip to chose to be the Home team in Games 1 and a second coin flip to (chose to) be the Home club a potential Game 3.
Florida (RPI 3, SOS #7) and 10th-year Head Coach Kevin Sullivan got the big win they needed Monday night in Game 1 in the most important game on the season, but both skippers prepared for a best-of-3 series and have their best Pitchers still available and ready to go in this massive Game 2 and Game 3 if needed on Wednesday night and the Gators have now W7 of 9 and Florida has now beaten LSU in 3 of the L4 meetings. In its 4-3 win on Monday, the Gators (10 CWS appearances without NCAA Championship) had a Starting Lineup of: 2B Liput, SS Guthrie, 1B Schwarz, RF Maldonado, LF Langworthy, 3B India, C Rivera, DH Hicks, CF Larson with Brady Singer (9-5, 3.21 ERA) getting the pill for Florida, going 7.0 IP, giving up 8 Hits and 3 ER while striking out 12 LSU batters.
Austin Langworthy had 2 Hits and an RBI for the Gators while Jonathan India delivered the big blow in the game, a 2-out, 2-RBI ground-rule Double over the head of the head of LSU CF Zach Watson, bouncing over the wall on one hop in the Top of 4th Inning, scoring the runners on 2nd and 3rd to give Florida a 3-0 lead. The Game 1 winner has gone on to win the CWS championship 10 times since the NCAA went to this best-of-3 format back in 2003.
LSU (RPI, 4, SOS #10) and Head Coach Paul Mainieri are no strangers to this prestigious Tournament (7th CWS appearance), must-win situations in the Postseason and familiar SEC rivals Florida and with 21 Wins in its L23 games—the Tigers only have loesses in that span have been to #1 Oregon State and to #3 Florida on Monday—and fortunately have a pretty nice staff of great Pitchers stashed away to try to win this Game 2 and then force a Game 3 on Wednesday. It’s not exactly the route that the Tigers wanted to take heading into this NCAA Baseball CWS Finals best-of-3 series, but the path which they’ll now have to take if they are to capture their 7th Division I national title in the sport this time around in the Cornhusker State.
In Monday’s Loss, LSU—which out-hit Florida 9 to 6—went with a Starting Lineup of: SS Robertson, 2B Freeman, LF Duplantis, RF Deichmann, CF Watson, 3B Smith, DH Jordan, C Papierski, 1B Slaughter with Russell Reynolds (8.59 ERA) getting the Start with the Tigers staff so overworked. Antoine Duplantis and Greg Deichmann had 2 Hits each for LSU with Duplantis blasting a solo HR in the Bottom of the 6th Inning to cut the Florida lead to 3-1.Omaha May Be Very Rainy and Runs May Be Even Scarcer on Tuesday Night...
The Weather Channel forecast for Omaha on Tuesday night calls for Scattered Thunderstorms during the evening with some possibly severe, 80% Chance of Rain, a Low around 71° with strong SSE Winds from 15 to 25 mph, so there is the possibility this one could be delayed or postponed. After Monday’s 1-Run Loss, LSU HC Mainieri said, “We don’t think this series is over by a long stretch," and the Tigers skipper should be thinking that way heading into this Game 2 with southpaw ace Jared Poche (12-3, 3.55 ERA, pictured above) expected to go against Florida Freshman Tyler Dyson (3-0, 3.55 ERA in 33 IP, pictured below). And Gators Head Coach O’Sullivan also knows that this CWS may be far from over. "We have a freshman pitcher [Dyson] going against the winningest pitcher in LSU history," O'Sullivan said after Monday’s victory. "We're going to have to play better."
If LSU wins Tuesday night, we’ll potentially have a dreamlike Game 3 Ace-Alex Pitching matchup between LSU ace (and Cubs Draft Pick) Alex Lange (10-5, 2.97 ERA) and Florida ace (and Tigers Draft Pick) Alex Faedo (9-2, 2.26 ERA) on Wednesday night. And one seeming problem for O’Sullivan and the Gators—even with Eric Walker out for LSU—will be the availability of killer arms like RHP Caleb Gilbert (7-1, 2.16 ERA)—who went 7.1 IP, allowing 1 ER, 2 Hits and striking out a career-high 7 as he threw a gem at the perfect time in his last outing—talented Reliever Zack Hess and possibly Freshman RHP Todd Peterson (3-1, 4.19 ERA) all at his disposal at this critical point.
In a must-win spot and a national title on the line, every out will be an event and Runs should again be scarce with the potentially precipitous weather playing a part in making the Omaha air a little heavier. Expect LSU to try to come out banging here at the plate while still being held in check somewhat by this talented Gators club which can almost taste that first CWS championship, with the Tigers finding a way to win a low-scoring game, forcing a sparkly winner-take-all Game 3 on Wednesday evening.PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: LSU 4 Florida 2Free CWS Game 2 Pick: Under 7½ -140Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes