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FSU baseball College World Series opponent preview: LSU

The ‘Noles take on the LSU Tigers in game one of the College World Series.

College World Series Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Florida State begins its 2017 College World Series on Saturday with an unfamiliar opponent, LSU. The ‘Noles last faced the Tigers in the 2010 College World Series with LSU winning 3-1. All-time, the teams have faced 19 times with the Seminoles owning a 13-6 series lead.

The Tigers (48-17, 21-9) earned the No. 4 national seed heading into the postseason and swept Mississippi State in its Super Regional. The last time LSU made the College World Series was in 2015. Overall, this is LSU’s 18th trip to Omaha, winning the National Championship six times.

First round draft pick Alex Lange will more than likely be on the mound for the Tigers on Saturday. The second-team All-American and first-team all-SEC member pitched to the tune of a 2.92 ERA in 111 innings pitched, striking out 134 batters. The junior threw four complete games and two shutouts in 2017, both career highs. Lange has been a consistent ace throughout his career at LSU with an ERA of 2.88 in 51 starts. The one area where Lange falters is his command. He allowed 40 walks this season and a total of 3.24 BB/9 which would be a career low. Pitch recognition and patience will be Florida State’s best chance to produce runs off the future Chicago Cub.

Offensively, LSU is loaded with men who can hit for average and power. In fact, the Tigers have five starters with a batting average of at least .313. Atop that list is second baseman Cole Freeman, a 2017 fourth round MLB Draft selection, who is hitting .327 on the year with an on-base-percentage of .431 which also leads the team. He is accompanied by centerfielder Antoine Duplantis who has hit .322 thus far in 2017. Freeman and Duplantis are a major threat on the base paths as each have stolen 18 bases on the season. As a team, LSU has 72 stolen bases.

The biggest power threat from either team will be in an LSU uniform. Right Fielder Greg Deichmann is hitting .320 on the season with 19 home runs and 72 RBI. His .606 slugging percentage is the highest on either team. He was selected 43rd overall in the 2017 MLB Draft.

The last two men hitting above .300, shortstop Kramer Robertson (.319) and infielder/outfielder Zach Watson (.313) both have eight home runs on the year, tied for second on the team. Robertson was selected No. 120 overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. The trio have combined for 35 of LSU’s 61 total home runs on the season.

As you can see, LSU had many talented players selected early in the 2017 MLB Draft with a total of eight players being picked.

LSU closer Hunter Newman has been lights out this season, recording 10 saves in 24 appearances. Newman only allowed three earned runs in 25 1/3 innings pitched while striking out 25 hitters and walking 14. LSU’s team ERA of 3.54 ranks No. 21 in the country and its 8.9 K/9 is good for 29th nationally.

The biggest advantage that LSU has over Florida State is its ability to field the baseball. The Tigers boast a .980 fielding percentage which is 10th best in the nation. On the other side, Florida State has a fielding percentage of only .971, 114th in the country.

Florida State will face LSU on Saturday at 8 PM EST in both teams first game of the 2017 College World Series. The winner will go on to face the victor of the Oregon State vs. Cal State Fullerton matchup with the losers subsequently playing each other.