The LSU Tigers opened the College World Series with a win on Saturday night. However, the team’s glaring weakness showed up and made things interesting.
The LSU Tigers evaded a late-game rally from the Tennessee Volunteers to win their first College World Series game 6-3 on Saturday. Bayou ace Paul Skenes was nothing short of phenomenal, giving up only five hits, one earned run, and 12 strikeouts. We noted that LSU requires elite pitching to win the College World Series and Skenes delivered in his first appearance.
Skenes exited the game in the 8th inning after throwing 123 pitches including 75 strikes. Such point is where the game became interesting.
Freshman Gavin Guidry was summoned from the LSU bullpen and hung his first pitch over the middle of the zone. Tennessee’s Hunter Ensley did not miss, sending the ball over the left field wall for a two-run homer. Vols fans from Peyton Manning to Coach Duggs were giddy as the score moved to 6-3.
Riley Cooper took the mound after Guidry’s one pitch and (thankfully) ended the inning.
Tennessee had momentum on their side until Brayden Jobert led off the 8th inning with a solo home run. The homer was the Redshirt Junior’s 12th of the season and bumped LSU’s lead to 6-3. Cooper was back on the mound in the 9th inning and (an infield error aside) closed the game out for the Tigers.
Ultimately, concerns about the LSU Tigers offense were laid to rest on Saturday. However, bullpen worries are alive and well. The Tigers will not get 7.2 innings from every starter during their CWS run. As such, the bullpen arms must be better than hanging beach balls in the middle zone upon entry in Omaha.
Saturday’s win means the LSU Tigers will play the tournament’s top seed, Wake Forest, on Monday. As for Tennessee, an elimination game awaits against Stanford awaits.