LSU Tigers Seek First College World Series Appearance Since 2017

LSU Tigers Seek First College World Series Appearance Since 2017
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

In the modern era of college baseball, few teams have achieved as much success as Louisiana State University.

Dating back to 1985, the Tigers have reached the NCAA Tournament 34 times and won six national titles between 1991 and 2009. The seventh title, though, has been somewhat elusive.

LSU is searching for its first appearance in the College World Series since 2017, and all that stands between the Tigers and a return to Omaha is one of their SEC rivals, the Kentucky Wildcats.

As the fifth seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers will host the best two-of-three regional this weekend in Baton Rouge. LSU won two of three already against the Cats in the regular season.

Louisiana sports betting will be in full swing for the Tigers this weekend. The Super Regional will start Saturday at 2 pm CT, with ESPN broadcasting the game. 

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Tigers Lineup Packs a Punch

What stands out about LSU (46-15) this season is its offense. At .314, the Tigers are the only team in the SEC hitting better than .300. They also lead the conference in runs scored (566), slugging percentage (.566) and on-base percentage (.438). Their 126 home runs are good for fifth in Division I.

Leading the way offensively is Dylan Crews, a junior outfielder with 17 homers and 63 runs batted in and whose .432 average leads the SEC and is third nationally. Right behind him is Tommy White, a sophomore third baseman who is hitting .378 with 20 homers and ranks third nationally with 93 RBI.

The pitching staff does have a 4.64 earned run average, but it’s not as much of an issue when the lineup produces 9.3 runs per game. Junior ace Paul Skenes anchors the staff. He’s 11-2 this season with a 1.90 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 99-1/3 innings.

They’ll face a Kentucky (40-19) team that isn’t quite as prodigious. UK has hit just 51 homers this season, but the Wildcats .293 team average is fourth-best in the SEC, and their 91 stolen bases were tied with Texas A&M for tops in the conference. They also lead the league in getting hit by pitches with 130, and that includes 15 in the final three games of their regional.

Jackson Gray paces the offense with a .348 average and 69 runs scored, both team highs. Hunter Gilliam provides the power with 12 homers and 71 RBI to go with his .324 average.

UK’s pitching staff has the SEC’s fourth-best ERA at 4.17, but the Wildcats do not have an ace like Skenes. Zack Lee has gone 5-3 this season with a 3.74 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 67-1/3 innings, and Darren Williams is 4-2 with a 4.04 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 62-1/3 innings. In the bullpen, Mason Moore has been highly effective, posting a 1.95 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 50-2/3 innings.

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Oddsmakers Roaring For Tigers

LSU entered the postseason as the fifth-ranked team in the country, according to the D1Baseball.com poll. As such, Louisiana sports betting apps consider the Tigers one of the top contenders for the College World Series title.

FanDuel lists the Tigers at +600, which ties LSU with Florida and puts them only behind the favorite Wake Forest at +310. On DraftKings, LSU is at +650, making them the third choice behind Wake at +400 and Virginia at +600. When it comes to futures wagers, these odds can vary more widely compared to other markets so don't overlook checking out additional operators like bet365 Louisiana and others before placing any bets.

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Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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