OMAHA, Neb. — LSU will be the home team Tuesday when the Tigers face No. 1 seed North Carolina in an elimination game.
The Tigers won a coin flip for the right, but after falling into the loser’s bracket with a 2-1 loss to UCLA, head coach Paul Mainieri still wasn’t sure his starting pitcher for the second game will be.
His options are No. 2 starter Ryan Eades, who has had control issues in his last two starts, or No. 3 man Cody Glenn, who hasn’t pitched since the SEC tournament after he was suspended for the regional and his spot in the rotation didn’t come up in a two-game sweep of Oklahoma in the super regional.
• ALL BETTER: LSU second baseman JaCoby Jones was in lineup Sunday night after missing all of Friday’s practice and doing on limited work on Saturday with flu-like symptoms.
• NOLA’S TOUGH LUCK: LSU starter Aaron Nola had pitched 20 2/3 scoreless innings before UCLA got an unearned run in the sixth. He still has not allowed an earned run since May 23 in the SEC Tournament against Arkansas when he gave up just one.
• DOUBLE TAKE: There were two pinch-hitters in the game, both of whom got hits — and both of whom were named Tyler Moore., UCLA’s Tyler Moore singled in the eighth and LSU’s Tyler Moore singled in the bottom of the ninth.
• SPELL CHECK: The long signs on top of the dugouts passed muster Sunday, back to reading “College World Series.” The day before the signs read “Colllege World Series.”
• LONG OUTS: The big ballpark at TD Ameritrade didn’t take long to work against LSU. Third baseman Christian Ibarra hit a bomb in the bottom of the second that was caught midway on the warning track. It would have been well into the leftfield bleachers back at Alex Box Stadium. Ibarra hit one about three steps even closer to the leftfield fence in his second at-bat.
“I thought I jammed him just enough that the ballpark was going to hold them,” UCLA pitcher Adam Plutko said.
Later, light-hitting Andrew Stevenson hit one into right field about as hard as he can but found only the warning track.
• LONG GONE: Mason Katz measured it off just right. He became the first Tiger to hit a home run in the three-year-old ball park with a solo blast that easily reached the bullpen beyond the left-field fence. Four games in, it was the first home run by anybody in this year’s CWS, and it took 30.1 innings.
It was Katz’ team-leading 17th home run of the season.
“I just hit to the right part of the park,” said Katz. “Pulled it all the way down the line where I knew if I hit it good it might go out.
“But his park is big. And it’s unfortunate that’s the way it plays. Ibarra’s, I thought for sure were gone, Stevenson’s had a chance.
“It’s a huge park, but everybody’s playing in it.”
• DUCKS IN A ROW: Duck Dynasty star Jase Robertson was in attendance and interviewed on the stadium’s big screen in the middle of the fourth inning. He said something about Geaux Tigers, which met with great approval from the partisan crowd.
Early in the season Robertson, a big LSU fan, donated a “can of corn” that the Tigers shake in crucial situations for good luck. It must have worked. Shortly after Robertson was interviewed, Mason Katz hit the first home run of the CWS to give LSU a 1-0 lead.