Following one of the more unlikely losses in LSU baseball history last night, the Tigers (46-15-1) still have a chance to rebound and claim the Baton Rouge Regional with a victory over Houston (47-16) this evening.
"There is no time to hang our heads now," LSU junior first baseman Tyler Moore said. "It is win or go home. We are excited to come out and play.”
The winner moves on to the NCAA Super Regionals, while the losing team's season comes to an end. For the majority of last night, it seemed the Tigers were destined for a clean sweep of three Regional games, but
Houston rallied from trailing 4-0 to producing a tied game by plating four runs in the eighth inning. The game went into extra innings, where the Cougars scored the go-ahead run in the eleventh and held on to win 5-4.
Now the Tigers and Cougars will play for the third time this weekend. LSU won on Saturday night, 5-1, behind ace Aaron Nola, and depth of the team's pitching staffs comes into focus. LSU will throw freshman Alden Cartwright (1-1, 1.87 era). Cartwright has
started six games this season, including the SEC Tournament Championship victory over Florida and confidently said that the Tigers will win tonight's game. Houston has not yet named a starter.
“We could throw ‘Johnny Wholestaff’," Houston coach Todd Whitting said. "You know it might be one of those, but we still got some bullets in there. There are some guys that haven’t pitched yet that will get an opportunity. Like
I said, we’ve got some guys we can recycle back through.”
Houston will play its fifth game in four days, while LSU will play its fourth after beginning the Regional 2-0. Since the current NCAA format began in 1999, LSU has never lost a Regional after beginning the tournament 2-0. Only one other time did the Tigers
play a decisive winner-take-all game, and that was in 2001, when they beat VCU.