BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU took advantage of the power in its lineup and some dominant relief pitching to rally against Rice and emerge victorious in the Baton Rouge NCAA Regional.
Next up is the Super Regional, in which LSU hosts Coastal Carolina at Alex Box Stadium. Game one is scheduled for Saturday night, with first pitch set for 9 p.m. ET.
The Tigers, having won 17 of their last 20 contests, took two of three games against Rice to get here. Their opponent, Coastal Carolina, has been equally hot of late, taking 16 of its last 18 games.
Here are three things to watch for as LSU faces Coastal Carolina:
1. Can the Tigers maintain offensive momentum?
Led by slugger Greg Deichmann, LSU’s bats came to life in a monumental way on Tuesday against Rice. Deichmann delivered a monster two-run shot over the center field wall to put the Tigers on top early against the Owls. Then, Mike Papierski’s solo homer and Kramer Robertson’s two-run RBI allowed LSU to extend its lead to 3, which was enough for the bullpen to close out the game. LSU’s offense came through with both power and clutch timing, which if sustained, could be the difference in these late playoff bouts.
2. Poche will need to be Poche
Tigers ace Jared Poche was instrumental in his team’s Regional in wins over both Utah Valley and Rice. Poche threw 161 pitches in five days, earning the win in the opener against Utah Valley and as a reliever against Rice. With the game set for Saturday, Poche will get added rest before facing a dangerous Coastal Carolina lineup. Among the hitters that the LSU pitching staff needs to be wary: Connor Owings, the Big South Player of the Year and younger brother of Arizona Diamondbacks standout Chris Owings, Zach Remillard, who leads the team with 18 homers and 67 RBIs, and G.K. Young, the designated hitter that boasts a .342 batting average and 63 RBIs.
3. Beating Beckwith
Though the LSU offense came through with timely knocks in the championship game against Rice, the lineup will have no easy task against Coastal Carolina ace Andrew Beckwith. The right-hander was named the Big South Player of the Year after pitching to a 12-1 record and 1.82 ERA in 89 innings pitched in a breakout campaign. This season, LSU is 32-16 against right-handed starters and was 3-1 during the Baton Rouge Regional, where it faced four righties in as many games. LSU churned out 22 runs in those games.