The Southeastern Conference will bring home its 11th College World Series championship this week as 2017 SEC co-champions LSU and Florida meet in a best-of-three series at TD Ameritrade Park to determine the best team in college baseball this season.
The series begins tonight at 6 p.m. (CT). The second game of the series will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. (CT). A third game, if necessary will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. (CT). All three games will be televised by ESPN.
LSU (52-18) is seeking its seventh CWS championship. The Tigers have won national championships in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2009. LSU’s first five national championships were one game, winner-take-all championship games under legendary coach Skip Bertman. LSU defeated Texas in a best-of-three series in 2009 under head coach Paul Mainieri.
LSU has won four of five games at the 2017 CWS to reach the championship series. The Tigers have been outscored 23-21 while in Omaha. LSU opened with a thrilling 5-4 comeback win over Florida in its CWS opener. The Tigers were then bounced into the loser’s bracket after a 13-1 beat down by No. 1 Oregon State last Monday. LSU remained alive with a 7-4 win over Florida State. The Tigers, behind the stellar pitching of Alex Lange and Caleb Gilbert, shut down the mighty OSU Beavers with 3-1 and 6-1 wins to advance to the finals.
Florida (50-19) is in the CWS finals for the third time and seeks its first CWS Championship. Florida lost in the best-of-three finals to Texas in 2005 and SEC Eastern Division rival South Carolina in 2011.
Florida opened the CWS 2-0 record after wins over TCU (3-0) and Louisville (5-1). After a 9-2 loss to TCU on Friday, the Gators rebounded with a 3-0 win over TCU to reach the CWS finals. The Gators starting pitchers have 42 strikeouts in four CWS starts. Alex Faedo had 22 total strikeouts in both 3-0 wins over TCU on June 18 and June 24. Brady Singer recorded nine strikeouts in the 5-1 win over Louisville on June 20. Jackson Kowar had 11 strikeouts in the loss to TCU on June 23.
SEC SUCCESS IN OMAHA
The SEC has 10 College World Series championships. The SEC is seeking its 11th CWS title this week. The SEC has played for the national championship 14 times since the 1996 season. The SEC had a team in the CWS Finals for eight straight years from 2008-15. LSU leads the way with six national titles. South Carolina won back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. Georgia won its lone national championship in 1990. Vanderbilt won the CWS in 2014.
SEC Teams to Win College World Series
2010 South Carolina
2011 South Carolina
LSU and Florida marks the third All-SEC final in College World Series history. LSU defeated Alabama 13-6 in the first All-SEC final in 1997. South Carolina defeated Florida 2-1 (11) and 5-2 in the best-of-three All-SEC final in 2011. This is the ninth CWS Championship between teams from the same conference. USC and Arizona State have met in the CWS finals four times.
CWS FINALS BETWEEN TEAMS FROM SAME CONFERENCE:
1963 USC 5, Arizona 2
1972 USC 1, Arizona State 0
1973 USC 4, Arizona State 3
1978 USC 10, Arizona State 3
1988 Stanford 9, Arizona State 4
1997 LSU 13, Alabama 6
1998 USC 21, Arizona State 14
2011 South Carolina 2, Florida 1 (11)
South Carolina 5, Florida 2
FLORIDA-LSU REGULAR SEASON SERIES:
Florida won the regular season series from LSU on March 24-26 in Gainesville. Alex Faedo out-dueled Alex Lange 1-0 in the series opener. Deacon Liput had three hits and scored the game’s only run in the sixth inning. The Gators scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings as Brady Singer out-pitched Alex Faedo in the Gators 8-1 series-clinching win. LSU rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the series finale for a 10-6 win on March 26. Cole Freeman, Josh Smith and Beau Jordan all had 2-run home runs in the Tigers 6-run eighth inning.
Florida 1, LSU 0
Alex Faedo silences LSU bats in opener
Faedo (7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K) improves to 4-1 on the season
LSU averaged 11.3 runs per game in previous week vs. Georgia
JJ Schwarz sac fly scores Deacon Liput with lone run in sixth inning
Deacon Liput 3-for-4, 2B; scored winning run in sixth inning
Florida 8, LSU 1
Brady Singer (9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) fires complete game
Florida pitching has held LSU offense to 1 run and 13 hits (.200 series average)
UF 4-5-6 Hitters: 7-for-10, 5 R, 3 2B, 5 RBIs, 5 BB
Antoine Duplantis (1-for-4) scored LSU’s lone run in fourth inning
LSU 10, Florida 6
Florida wins series, 2-1
LSU trailed 5-0 after five innings
LSU largest comeback win since 2012
The Tigers hit 3 two-run home runs in 6-run eighth inning
Josh Smith, Beau Jordan and Cole Freeman all homered in 8th inning
JJ Schwarz and Jonathan India 2 RBIs each