LSU needed just a single win this past weekend to lock up a spot in Hoover this coming week's SEC Tournament. The Tigers did it in thrilling fashion on Friday and improved their chances for an NCAA Tournament bid with a win Saturday, but more on that at a later time.
This coming week's SEC Tournament is important for LSU on a number of fronts. First, a win or two would certainly boost their position for a tournament selection even more but more importantly it would continue to build confidence in a young team with aspirations of more postseason baseball.
With a win in game three against the Aggies to clinch the series, LSU also earned the No. 9 seed in the tournament, where it will face No. 8 seed Georgia, a team the Tigers did not meet in the regular season. It's a single elimination matchup on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. that if LSU wins, would secure the team at least two more games in Hoover.
Of course now that LSU is in a tournament setting like this, the immediate question becomes what the pitching situation looks like moving forward. There was some discussion among the staff as to whether Ma'Khail Hilliard should be pulled after a few innings to save him for the Tuesday start against the Bulldogs.
"We just kind of thought this game was too important for an NCAA standpoint, we needed to do everything we could to try and win today," Mainieri said. "I don't think the 13 wins guarantees us a bid but I do think that if we hadn't won 13 games it would've been a long shot."
Landon Marceaux did have a shorter outing than usual and the Tigers did not throw midweek starter Will Hellmers against Texas A&M either. Goal No. 1 should be putting all of the focus into Georgia and pulling out a win to ensure more SEC Tournament games. It's the strategy this team has used all season and will come to the forefront now in a postseason setting with win or go home implications.
Looking ahead to Tuesday's matchup with Georgia, the LSU players feel the play over the last several weeks has dramatically improved and will carry over into Hoover, a place where magic alsways seems to crop up for the purple and gold.
"We just have to come out like we played in this game and hopefully that will ride us deep into the tournament," first baseman Tre Morgan said. "Last night showed just really how tough we are as a team and with how good we can be when we play together. When one guy gets it going it gets everybody else to hop on the train."
Here's a look at the full schedule of games:
Tuesday, May 25
Game 1 (9:30 a.m.) - #6 Florida vs. # 11 Kentucky [SEC Network]
Game 2 (TBD) - #7 South Carolina vs. #10 Alabama [SEC Network]
Game 3 (4:30 p.m.) - #8 Georgia vs. #9 LSU [SEC Network]
Game 4 (TBD) - #5 Ole Miss vs. #12 Auburn [SEC Network]
Wednesday, May 26
Game 5 (9:30 a.m.) - #3 Mississippi State vs. Winner Game 1 [SEC Network]
Game 6 (TBD) - #2 Tennessee vs. Winner Game 2 [SEC Network]
Game 7 (4:30 p.m.) - #1 Arkansas vs. Winner Game 3 [SEC Network]
Game 8 (TBD) - #4 Vanderbilt vs. Winner Game 4 [SEC Network]
Thursday, May 27
Game 9 (9:30 a.m.) - Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6 [SEC Network]
Game 10 (TBD) - Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8 [SEC Network]
Game 11 (4:30 p.m.) - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 [SEC Network]
Game 12 (TBD) - Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 [SEC Network]
Friday, May 28
Game 13 (3:00 p.m.) - Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11 [SEC Network]
Game 14 (TBD) - Winner Game 10 vs. Loser 12 [SEC Network]
Saturday, May 29
Game 15 (Noon) - Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 11 [SEC Network]
Game 16 ( TBD) - Winner Game 14 vs. Winner Game 12 [SEC Network]
Sunday, May 30
Game 17 (2 p.m.) - Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16 [ESPN2]