The LSU Tigers are going to get one more crack at the Oregon State Beavers. The No. 1 team in the land dominated when these two teams met on Sunday night, and if they can figure out how to topple the Bayou Bengals once again on Friday, they'll be off to the championship series.
This College World Series duel will go down Friday, June 23, 2017, at 3 p.m. ET at TD Ameritrade Stadium in Omaha. The game will be televised live on ESPN.
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Oregon State was only a -150 favorite when these teams met on Sunday, but this is a far different situation. The Beavers will have to decide if they want to burn their best arm remaining, that of Jake Thompson on Friday, or if they're going to try to save him for either Saturday if necessary or Game 1 of the championship series. If Thompson pitches, the Beavers will be significantly greater favorites than they would be if they look to turn to another option.
Either way, LSU is facing a real uphill battle. Not only do the Tigers have to win this matchup on Friday, but they'll have to turn around and beat a team that has only been beaten four times all season long on Saturday as well to stay alive.
If we had to guess, it isn't going to be Thompson on Friday afternoon for the Beavers. It would be regular rest for him to come back and pitch on Friday after throwing on Saturday last weekend against Cal State Fullerton, but if he threw in this game, he'd be limited to just one appearance in all likelihood in the championship series. Oregon State has the game to burn if it has to, so the team might turn to Drew Rasmussen instead.
Rasmussen pitched an inning against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday and would be a logical choice to start this one off. He threw four innings and gave up one run against Yale in the final game of the regional. If Rasmussen throws in this one, expect to see Jake Mulholland, who pitched 4.1 innings of shutout ball against the Titans to kick off the CWS, throwing multiple innings in relief.
LSU had to burn eight pitchers against Oregon State just to finish off that game on Wednesday, but it turned around and took care of business against Florida State 7-4 in an elimination game. The ball will clearly be in the hands of Alex Lange in this one.
Lange started against FSU on Saturday. He wasn't fantastic, conceding four runs in six innings, including walking an uncharacteristically high four batters. His 3.08 ERA is as good as it gets on this staff, and he figures to be the best man for the job when it comes to quieting these powerful Oregon State bats.
Free ATS Pick
If there was ever a game where Oregon State would truly miss the presence of Luke Heimlich, this would be it. Not only can the Beavers not turn to the best pitcher in America, but they also wouldn't be forced to effectively think four-deep in their starting rotation.
The Beavs might not be setup for this, but they definitely have the capability to power their way through any problems they might have. If Lange struggled against the Seminoles, we can't imagine he's going to fare any better against a lineup that has scored 63 runs in seven games in the NCAA Tournament and has plated at least six runs each time out.
College World Series Odds: Oregon State 9, LSU 4
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