BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - For the 17th time in school history and fourth time under Paul Mainieri, the LSU Tigers will continue their quest for a national championship in Omaha at the College World Series. LSU has six national titles, second most behind USC's 12.
"I grew up a fan of LSU, I watched all the national championship teams, I watched pretty much every game that we played in Omaha," senior pitcher Zac Person said. "It's cool, it's a dream come true, but at the same time, there are seven other teams who are quality opponents, and if we show up with a happy to be here mentality, we'll get knocked off real quick."
LSU's first opponent is TCU. The Horned Frogs beat Texas A&M 5-4 in 16 innings late Monday night to advance to the College World Series for the second straight season.
"Obviously they have a great pitching staff, a very athletic team, and this is what you expect in Omaha. You expect to play the best teams in the country not named LSU," coach Paul Mainieri said. "If you want to win the national championship you have to play the other best teams, so it's going to be a lot of fun. We're excited about it."
In the Tigers' last trip to Omaha in 2013, LSU lost both of its games in disappointing fashion. Veterans like Alex Bregman and Andrew Stevenson were just freshmen that season and now expect a much different outcome in 2015.
"[We're] definitely going in a bunch of butterflies as a freshman going into Omaha, the Mecca of college baseball, but now I think we're going in with a lot more confidence, going knowing what to expect and not that unknown feeling," junior centerfielder Andrew Stevenson said.
LSU is the highest remaining seed of the eight teams in Omaha, and the Tigers are considered favorites along with the SEC tournament champion Florida Gators. Tiger coach Paul Mainieri expects a strong showing from his ballclub.
"We have speed, we play defense," Mainieri said. "Our pitchers are going to throw strikes. We're not going to live and die by the home run obviously. I think those are the teams that struggle the most, those that don't play good defense and live and die by the home run."
LSU and TCU square off Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at TD Ameritrade Park.