OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nothing LSU encounters in the College World Series championship series will be any more daunting than the task the Tigers had to complete to get there.
The Tigers had to beat an Oregon State team that owned the most formidable record of any team in four decades, and they had to do it twice.
They did in dominating fashion.
Caleb Gilbert held the No. 1 national seed Beavers to two hits in 7 1/3 innings, Michael Papierski homered from both sides of the plate and LSU won 6-1 on Saturday a day after beating them 3-1.
“To lose four games the entire season, and we beat them two days in a row, it’s hard to predict those things to happen, but that’s why you have to play the games,” Tigers coach Paul Mainieri said. “Our kids embraced the challenge.”
The Tigers (52-18) won their third straight elimination game and will play the Florida-TCU winner Saturday night in the best-of-three finals beginning Monday.
The Beavers (56-6) had a pair of 23-game winning streaks and finished the season with a .903 winning percentage — the best since Texas’ mark of .908 in 1982.
“It’s a tough day when you’ve had such a great year,” Beavers coach Pat Casey said. “Now is not the time to really think about that or talk about it, but I know there will be a time when they get to sit back and reflect and realize what they accomplished.”
Gilbert allowed an infield single and walk before Michael Gretler homered in the seventh. He struck out a career-high seven in his longest outing in his two seasons at LSU. Zack Hess allowed one hit the rest of the way.
“It’s a surreal feeling to be able to pitch your team, when…