LSU baseball players eager to carry over momentum from SEC Tournament

LSU baseball players eager to carry over momentum from SEC Tournament
LSU right fielder Antoine Duplantis (Source: Josh Auzenne)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The five-game losing streak that LSU was sporting on May 11th is a distant memory as the Tigers head into the NCAA tournament. Since dropping their first two contests at Arkansas, Paul Mainieri’s team has won 7 of their last 10 games, including their seventh consecutive run to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.

On the heels of their dramatic walk-off win over Auburn and run-rule demolition of Mississippi State, LSU’s players are eager to get back on the field in the first game of the Baton Rouge Regional against Stony Brook. The following are quotes from the players following Monday’s NCAA Tournament announcement, as transcribed by LSU Sports Information:

LSU right fielder Antoine Duplantis
LSU right fielder Antoine Duplantis (Source: Josh Auzenne)

Senior outfielder Antoine Duplantis

On when the team began building momentum …

“I don’t know exactly. Maybe it was that last Arkansas win (May 11). We kind of hit rock bottom before that. To get that one win, it was almost a sigh of relief. Then we took it into that midweek game and right into the weekend. We played well all three games that weekend (vs. Auburn) and won two of them and then played well in Hoover (at the SEC Tournament). It seems every year that Hoover brings out the best in everybody. It kind of reminds us how fun baseball is. Everything about it—the fans there, the whole Fan Fest they have there, the media coverage—it’s just a fun environment. It’s kind of a little taste of what postseason baseball is like.”

On when the Tigers play their best …

“The biggest thing is to relax. When teams play their best, especially here, there’s a lot of expectations. For everybody to just relax and just be confident in their abilities, play loose and let it rip. That’s when we are at our best."

On watching the 2012 Super Regional versus Stony Brook …

“We are good family friends with (former LSU catcher/first baseman) Tyler Moore. I remember his home run. He tied it up with two outs in the ninth (of Game 1). He tied it up with a home run. I had always watched LSU baseball growing up. I remember Stony Brook.

“You see a name like Stony Brook that not many people from the South have heard of. Then you watch them play. It’s different players now than it was then, but they had a first-rounder or two, a guy that’s in the big leagues now, a bunch of good players. My freshman year we played Coastal Carolina, a team that I never really had heard of until they came here. They won the Super Regional and won the national championship. You can never take anything lightly. You have to expect that they’re going to all be great teams, especially if they made the tournament in the first place.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Junior shortstop Josh Smith

LSU shortstop Josh Smith
LSU shortstop Josh Smith (Source: Josh Auzenne)

On the momentum from the SEC Tournament…

“This week definitely helped us out. To go play in the SEC Tournament and get three wins, it was pretty big for us. It gave us the chance to host. Some momentum is carrying over and everyone is feeling good.”

On playing another weekend at Alex Box Stadium…

“After the last series, I really didn’t know if I would get to play here again this year. To get to come back here, I know for me it is pretty special. Especially for guys like Antoine (Duplantis) and guys like that, it is pretty big for them. I am excited for those guys to get the chance to play here again.”

On playing well later in the season…

“We started winning. We played pretty well against Auburn (during the final regular-season weekend). We ended up losing the last game against them but played well against them and brought that into the SEC Tournament and played well there.”

On the turning point of the season…

“It seems like every year, LSU clicks at the end of the year. Guys get a sense of urgency that we have to turn it on, and we started to do that later in the year. After that Auburn series, it helped us out.”

On going into the postseason…

“You still just play the game. A lot of stress goes into these games. If you win you’re in, if you lose, you’re done. So we just try to play loose and play our game.”

Top-seeded LSU opens Regional play against #4 Stony Brook Friday at 6 PM. They’ll be preceded by #3 Southern Miss vs #2 Arizona State at noon.

Copyright 2019 WVUE. All rights reserved.