LSU Baseball: Tigers' NCAA Tournament Hopes Hanging on Thread After Loss

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2012

Photo courtesy of LSUsports.net
Photo courtesy of LSUsports.net

What seemed like a season destined to culminate in an NCAA Championship for the second-ranked LSU Tigers is now in doubt after just one loss. 

After a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in extra innings to No. 21 Mississippi State in the 2012 SEC Tournament, LSU is left waiting for the NCAA Baseball Selection Committee to decide where the Tigers will be in the 64-team field to decide the NCAA Champion. 

LSU came into the conference tournament as favorites after a stellar year which resulted in their first regular-season SEC championship since 2009. 

The Tigers, leading 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, were just three outs away from defeating the Bulldogs before LSU closer Nick Goody gave up two runs to send the contest into extra innings. 

Mississippi State wasted no time eliminating the Tigers as second baseman Matthew Britton notched a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to seal the victory and send the SEC's best team packing.

As the second-best team in the country nationally, it's hard to see a scenario where the Tigers would be left out of the deep, 64-team field.

However, their seeding could take a hit as they were a shoo-in to gain a top seed if they were to win the SEC Tournament this weekend. 

Now, head coach Paul Mainieri and his squad will be left wondering if they squandered an opportunity to win the SEC's fourth-straight national championship, and LSU's second in four years. 

The NCAA will announce the 16 regional sites for the championship tournament on Sunday afternoon. LSU's untimely loss in their conference tournament could force them to earn their way to a College World Series outside of Baton Rouge. 

If you ask Mainieri and the Tigers now, though, they have no doubts that their chances of winning another national championship are still very alive, according to KTBS.com:

"As they have all season, our players competed extremely hard, but we just fell short today. It’s been a tremendous year for our team, and now we have the opportunity to make it a very special season. We’ve got time to regroup and start preparing for the NCAA Tournament.”

Only time will tell. 


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