Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

June 17, 2013

College World Series: LSU to face UCLA in Sunday opener

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

OMAHA — Note: Given the fact that former Bullard High standout Nick Rumbelow is a member of the LSU Tiger baseball team and since no Texas teams were able to qualify for the College World Series, the Daily Progress will be adopting LSU as our “home team” and will be chronicling the Tigers' progress throughout the series. GEAUX TIGERS!

 The Louisiana State University baseball Tigers will be entering the 2013 College World Series (CWS) as the No. 4 seed.

The Tigers (57-9) will open play against UCLA's Bruins at 7 p.m. on Sunday in opening round play in the double elimination event.

Sunday's game will be televised by ESPN2 and online via WatchESPN.

LSU comes into the CWS as one of the hottest team in the tournament, having swept through both Regional and Super Regional play at the Tigers' home diamond to advance to what will be the Purple and Gold's 16th CWS.

UCLA (44-17) has proven to be the power out of the west. The Bruins swept through Regional play before winning the series over nearby California-Fullerton two games to none in Fullerton.

Offensively, LSU is led by Alex Bregman, Mason Katz and Raph Rhymes.

Bregman leads the Tigers in average (.380) and has belted six home runs while driving in 52 runs.

He has accounted for a team-best 18 doubles and has carved out seven triples. He also is always a threat to swipe a sack — Bregman has stolen 16-of-17 this year.

Katz is hitting .366 and leads the Tigers in both home runs (15) and RBI (68). His .630 slugging percentage also ranks as tops on a team that has seven regulars batting at least .297.

Rhymes checks in at .343, and has smacked four balls over the wall and has knocked in 46 runs.

As a team LSU comes into the CWS owning a team batting average of .308, while the Tiger moundsmen have held LSU opponents to a .217 batting average.

Aaron Nola is the Tigers' top starter. Nola sports a perfect 12-0 record for 2013, a season that has seen him strike out 117 batters in 118 innings of duty while walking just 17.

Nola's earned run average (ERA) is a miniscule 1.68.

Cody Glenn (2.41 ERA, 7-2) and Ryan Eades (2.79 ERA, 8-1) also have been highly successful this season in starting roles.

Eades has whiffed 78 opponents in 100 innings of work while issuing 32 bases on balls.

Bullard's Nick Rumbelow has proven to be an effective set-up man coming out of the Tiger bullpen.

The Tiger fireball chunker will bring a 3.41 ERA into the series. He is 1-0 on the year and has struck out 33 batters in 31.2 innings pitched. He has also walked 14.

Rumbelow is a junior who was drafted last week by the New York Yankees organization.

LSU will bring an eight-game winning streak into Sunday's affair. The Tigers have won as many as 15 games in-a-row this season.

In other opening round games Mississippi State will take on No. 3 Oregon State at 2 p.m. today, followed by Indiana vs. Louisville at 7 p.m.

Sunday's matinee affair pits No. 1 North Carolina against rival North Carolina State at 2 p.m.

A LSU loss would send the Tigers to an elimination game at 2 p.m. on Tuesday against the loser of the North Carolina vs. North Carolina State game.

If the Tigers are victorious in their opener, they will meet the winner of the North Carolina vs. North Carolina State tilt at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.