LSU came up just short of its seventh national title in program history in the 2017 College World Series, losing to SEC rival Florida in two games in a best-of-three series. For head coach Paul Mainieri, being so close to the ultimate prize makes the defeat harder to take.
“It still stings when you are so close to winning it all,” Mainieri told TigerBait.com. “The frustration for not finishing is still prevalent. It is no fun to get to the finals and get beat. But, when I reflect on the season, I feel good on what the kids accomplished.”
While the disappointment will continue for some time, the state of the Tigers program is in excellent shape.
“The program is very healthy,” Mainieri said. “We have good recruits lined up for the next few classes. The players are doing better in the classroom. They are doing a lot of community service work. The players enjoy playing in the program.”
Replacing a slew of talent, including on the mound, will be a key to get the Tigers back to a spot where they are competing for the national title. Ace Alex Lange, Jared Poche, Eric Walker, and Hunter Newman have all moved on.
“We have so many questions, especially with our pitching staff for next year,” Mainieri said. “Our pitching staff is not much different from where we were with our position players two years ago. The most valuable person is (pitching coach Alan Dunn). He must make some serious magic.”
This is LSU, however, and the talent will come. If the right combination comes along, the Tigers will get back to Omaha and try to complete unfinished business.