HOOVER, Ala. — LSU knew they needed to go deep in the Southeastern Conference Tournament if they wanted a shot to play another weekend in Alex Box Stadium.
Despite an above average conference record (17-13), LSU had stumbles in non-conference games and fell behind the pace late in the season with multiple extended losing streaks.
However, they bounced back, winning six of their last nine games against conference opponents. The Tigers boosted their RPI up to 16 in the nation and overwhelmingly considered to be a favorite for one of the last host spots even after a 13-4 loss to Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the tournament.
“We came in not really knowing if we were going to host or not, and if you would’ve told me coming in here we would have won three games and had a chance to host after watching the selection show this Monday, I would have been completely fine with that,” said junior shortstop Josh Smith. “I think we came here and did what we needed to do, and hopefully we get a host and get to play in Alex Box again, but that’s something we don’t control so we’ll see where it goes.”
“I think just looking at those wins and looking at how hard we fought, even in that game we lost against Mississippi State, we were inches away of winning that game too,” said senior outfielder Antoine Duplantis. “I think it sets us up for a lot of positive momentum heading into the postseason.”
LSU will find out part of its fate on Sunday when the NCAA reveals the host sites at 7:30 p.m. Currently, D1baseball.com has LSU listed as a host with Miami, Southeastern Louisiana and Southern venturing to the Box. The full bracket will be released at 11 a.m. on Monday.
“As far as the hosting thing, I’ll leave that to all the prognosticators,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “There’s a lot of people who are predicting those kinds of things. I’ve said this many times, I’ve been in the game so long and dealt with the results of the selection committee.
“Sometimes it’s been positive for, sometimes it’s been negative. They have a tough job and there’s a lot of things for them to consider. Personally, I feel like we did what we could do, the best we could do, and if that’s not good enough because somebody else around the country did better then we’ll accept their decision. I hope that we host, I really do.”
Under Mainieri, LSU has hosted a regional in eight of his 12 previous seasons with the lone exceptions being in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2018.
“We won a few games this week, hopefully did what we needed to do and if not that’s all right too,” Duplantis said. “Either way, I think this team is ready for a postseason run.”