LSU to start lefty Zac Person against TCU Thursday
OMAHA, NE - LSU (54-11) seeks to win a second College World Series elimination game at 7 p.m. Thursday when the Tigers face TCU (50-14) at TD Ameritrade Park.
Thursday's game will be televised by ESPN, and it may be viewed at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
The game will be carried on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, including WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Live audio and stats may be accessed at www.LSUsports.net.
LSU dropped a 10-3 decision to TCU on Sunday afternoon in its CWS opener before winning an elimination game over Cal State Fullerton, 5-3, on Tuesday. Freshman right-hander Alex Lange fired a complete game and junior shortstop Alex Bregman, batting in the lead-off position for just third time in his career, was 4-for-4 at the plate to lead the Tigers to victory.
The winner of Thursday's LSU-TCU game will play Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. Friday. Thursday's winner must defeat Vanderbilt twice to the advance to the CWS championship series.
The Tigers are playing in their 17th College World Series, and all 17 appearances have come since 1986. LSU is tied with Texas for the second-highest number of CWS championships with six. Southern California has the most NCAA baseball titles with 12.
The Tigers practiced for two hours Wednesday afternoon at Creighton University in preparation for Thursday's contest.
"Obviously, TCU is a very tough team, they beat us the other day, and they're going to be throwing a very talented pitcher," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We've got the challenge of a lifetime with our backs against the wall, but I know our players are excited about the opportunity to advance in this tournament."
Mainieri said that senior left-hander Zac Person (2-0) will be the Tigers' starting pitcher on Thursday. Person will make his third career start and his second this season. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle will counter with sophomore right-hander Mitchell Traver (9-2).
"Zac is a talented, veteran pitcher who displays a lot of poise and composure on the mound, and we feel like he can get us off to a good start," said Mainieri. "He was a starting pitcher in junior college at LSU-Eunice, so this is not a completely unfamiliar position for him to be in. He's had a great two years in our program, and we're very confident that he can pitch effectively in this environment."
Senior catcher Kade Scivicque, a second-team All-American, is hitting .352 this season with 21 doubles, six homers, and 47 RBI, and he has thrown out 19 runners attempting to steal. Junior centerfielder Andrew Stevenson, a third-team All-American, is batting .350 with 12 doubles, five triples, one homer, 23 RBI, 53 runs and 26 stolen bases.
Junior first baseman Chris Chinea, a third-team All-American, is batting .348 with 17 doubles, 11 homers, 58 RBI and 42 runs.
TCU is batting .286 on the year with 27 home runs and 119 steals in 162 attempts. The Horned Frogs' pitching staff has the nation's second-best ERA at 2.37.
TCU is led at the plate by senior outfielder Cody Jones, who is hitting .362 with 14 doubles, one triple, five homers and 34 RBI. Junior infielder Derek Odell is batting .300 with 10 doubles, three homers and 41 RBI, and freshman catcher Evan Skoug is hitting .286 with team-highs of seven homers and 44 RBI.
LSU leads the all-time series with TCU, 6-2, and Sunday's game marked the first NCAA Tournament matchup between the squads. All of the other meetings between the schools have occurred in Baton Rouge. LSU swept three games from the Horned Frogs in 1994 by scores of 13-6, 15-10 and 16-8. LSU also split two games with TCU in 1967, and the Tigers won two straight over the Frogs in 1989.