OMAHA, NE (WVUE) - The LSU Tigers are well-aware of what's at stake Monday night, and they know the challenge that's ahead of them.
Oregon State is one of the few teams whose numbers are more impressive than LSU's.
"To go 55-4 is almost incomprehensible," said LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri. "But then it made me think back to a year we came out here when we were 57-9, and we didn't have a lot of good fortune."
If there's any game where truly anything can happen, it's baseball.
"Hey, they've lost four games," jokes Mainieri. "That tells you they're beatable, right? So you're saying we have a chance."
While Mainieri jokes with the media, rest assured that the minds of his players are in the right place. His tough, raw truth coaching has been the talk around several players like Kramer Robertson and Greg Deichmann.
They're both wildly successful now and enjoying the peaks of their college careers, but their beginnings in purple and gold weren't easy as they dealt with injuries and a lack of playing time.
All that to say: these Tigers are tough. They're taught from day one that it's the one-run, close games that define a season, and the way they've performed in their tighter games over their 17-game winning streak is proof that the teaching sunk in.
"My dad always told me to be the best, you've got to beat the best," said Eric Walker, who is slated to start Monday night. "You come out here, and you compete all your life. You train all summer. You train all fall. Why wouldn't you want to pitch in this game?"
Walker said he thrives in the big games, and he's backed it up with wins in Starkville to clinch a regular season title, in Hoover, Ala. to win the SEC Tournament, and in the Tigers' regional championship two weeks ago.
According to Robertson, Walker even threw six hitless innings in a simulated game in practice last week since he didn't pitch in the super regional.
This team says they have all the faith in the world in their freshman on Monday night against the Beavers.