OMAHA, Neb. -- Top-ranked LSU seeks its sixth national championship as the Tigers face the Texas Longhorns at 6 p.m. CT Monday in Game 1 of the College World Series Championship Finals. The winner of the best two-of-three series will claim the CWS title.
Game 2 of the series is set for 6 p.m. CT Tuesday, and Game 3 (if necessary) will also begin at 6 p.m. CT.
The championship series will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM. Live audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. The series will be televised by ESPN in HD.
LSU, the NCAA Tournament No. 3 national seed, enters Monday’s game riding a 13-game win streak. The Tigers opened the CWS with a 9-5 victory over Virginia and defeated Arkansas twice (9-1 and 14-5) to advance to the final series.
LSU is making its first appearance in a CWS championship round since 2000. The Tigers are 5-0 in their previous finals appearances, claiming national titles in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000.
LSU has a 120-44 (.732) all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and owns the highest winning percentage in tournament history.
The Tigers are making their 15th College World Series appearance and their second in a row – LSU is 33-19 (.635) at the CWS with five national titles (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000).
LSU, which won 26 of its final 29 games to close the 2008 season, has a remarkable 80-19 (.808) record since April 22, 2008.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri will send senior right-hander Louis Coleman (14-2, 2.68 ERA) to the mound in Game 1. Texas coach Augie Garrido – who has won five CWS titles, including two at UT -- will counter with sophomore right-hander Chance Ruffin (10-2, 3.27 ERA).
“This is fun, it’s great to be here,” Mainieri said. “When you get the chance to come to the College World Series, it’s a dream come true. To be able to make it to this point is truly a blessing. I’m proud of this team and these guys. It’s remarkable. We’re excited to play Texas. They represent excellence. Augie Garrido is admired and loved in college baseball. I’m a fan of Augie. He’s a wonderful person, a great coach and epitomizes everything good about college athletics. I relish the opportunity to play Texas in the finals. They have great tradition and history. LSU and Texas both represent great things. We’re fired up for this series.
“Our team had a unique year; we were a preseason No. 1 pick this year, and our players handled it with poise. We only lost two games in a row once all year. I think a lot of credit goes to our consistency. We’ve been consistent with pitching and defense. We’ve been up and down with hitting, but we’ve come from behind and won some big games. We have confidence and that’s what has helped us make our way here.”
The Tigers enter Friday’s game hitting .318 as a team with 103 homers and 113 stolen bases. LSU is hitting .368 (43-for-117) in its three College World Series games with nine doubles and nine homers.
Sophomore second baseman DJ LeMahieu is batting .347 on the year with 12 doubles, three triples, four homers and 40 RBI. LeMahieu is batting .467 (7-for-15) in the CWS with one RBI and six runs.
Second-team all-SEC outfielder Ryan Schimpf is hitting .344 with 19 doubles, one triple, 21 homers and 67 RBI. Schimpf is hitting a team-best .545 (6-for-11) in the CWS with two doubles, two homers, four RBI and six runs.
First-team all-SEC designated hitter Blake Dean is batting .335 with 18 doubles, 17 homers and 70 RBI. Dean is batting .364 (4-for-11) in the CWS with two doubles, two homers, five RBI and five runs.
Texas, the Big XII Conference champion, is hitting .289 on the year with 45 homers and 71 stolen bases. The Longhorns are hitting .324 (33-for-102) in their three CWS games with five doubles and six home runs.
The Longhorns are led by junior first baseman Brandon Belt, who is hitting .333 with 17 doubles, three triples, eight homers and 42 RBI. Sophomore outfielder Kevin Keyes is batting .308 with 17 doubles, one triple, seven homers and 43 RBI, and sophomore catcher Cameron Rupp is hitting .293 with 12 doubles, 11 homers and 45 RBI.
#5 Texas Longhorns (49-14-1) vs. #1 LSU Fighting Tigers (54-16)
Monday, June 22 -- 6 p.m. CT
Tuesday, June 23 – 6 p.m. CT
Wednesday, June 24 – 6 p.m. CT (if necessary)
Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.
LSU - No. 1 by Baseball America; No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 1 by NCBWA
Texas – No. 4 by Baseball America; No. 5 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 5 by NCBWA
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM
www.LSUsports.net – live audio and stats
The CWS Championship Finals will be televised by ESPN
Texas leads the series with LSU, 20-8-1; the series began in 1899. The last meeting between the clubs occurred in the 2000 College World Series, when LSU defeated UT, 13-5, en route to its fifth national championship. The only other meeting between LSU and Texas in Omaha took place in 1989, when the Longhorns eliminated the Tigers from the CWS, 12-7. From 1989-2000, the teams met a total of 11 times, with Texas holding a 7-4 edge in those contests.
GAME 1 PITCHING MATCHUP
LSU – Sr. RHP Louis Coleman (14-2, 2.68 ERA, 121.0 IP, 22 BB, 132 SO)
UT – So. RHP Chance Ruffin (10-2, 3.27 ERA, 118.1 IP, 24 BB, 104 SO)