LSU prepares to take on Florida in championship series
OMAHA, Neb. - LSU will begin a quest for its seventh national championship Monday afternoon when the Tigers face Florida in game one of the College World Series Finals.
Monday's game is set for a 6 p.m. start at TD Ameritrade Park. Game two of the best two-of-three championship series is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday. Game three, if necessary, will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
LSU and Florida shared the 2017 Southeastern Conference regular-season title with 21-9 league records. The Gators won two of three games over the Tigers during the regular-season on their home turf.
LSU has a 4-0 all-time mark against Florida in College World Series games. the Tigers won two straight games over the Gators in Omaha in both 1991 and 1996 on their way to national championships.
Mainieri said that senior right-hander Russell Reynolds will start Monday's game for the Tigers. Reynolds, a Baton Rouge native, pitched a scoreless inning in LSU's CWS game versus Oregon State on Monday night, recording one strikeout. He has worked 1.2 scoreless innings over his last three relief appearances, allowing one hit with one strikeout.
LSU is hitting .291 as a team this season with 68 homers and 76 steals in 105 attempts. Freshman centerfielder Zach Watson is batting a team-high .322 with nine doubles, three triples, nine homers and 37 RBI. Watson is batting .421 (8-for-19) in the CWS with one double, one homer, two RBI and three runs.
Junior rightfielder Greg Deichmann is batting .309 and leads the Tigers in homers (19) and RBI (73), while sophomore leftfielder Antoine Duplantis has driven in 60 runs and collected a team-high 88 base hits.
Junior catcher Michael Papierski has team-highs of three homers and five RBI in LSU's five CWS games. LSU has launched seven home runs in the College World Series, the most by any team since the CWS moved to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011.
Florida is hitting .259 as a team with 53 home runs, and the Gators have 83 steals in 112 attempts.
Outfielder Nelson Maldonado is batting .303 for Florida with nine doubles, six homers and 32 RBI. First baseman/DH JJ Schwarz has team-highs of 12 homers and 54 RBI. Schwarz shares the team lead in base hits (66) with shortstop Dalton Guthrie, who has nine doubles, four homers and 11 steals.
The series will air on ESPN.