BATON ROUGE (AP) — Anyone who saw the LSU baseball team play in the Baton Rouge Regional two weekends ago saw little evidence of just how good a defensive team it is.
The Tigers ran into each other, misplayed grounders and made errant throws. Though they swept through the regional in three games, they made things tougher than they needed to be with uncharacteristic self-inflicted wounds.
But that was clearly an aberration as LSU returned to its stellar defensive play while sweeping Oklahoma in the Baton Rouge Super Regional last weekend. The
Tigers head to the College World Series with the fifth-highest fielding percentage in the country (.980).
Make no mistake about it, the Tigers' ability to field could be a difference-maker in the CWS. UCLA, has the same fielding percentage as LSU but ranks sixth when the percentages are rounded.
The rest of the teams headed to Omaha, Neb., seem to be at a decided disadvantage defensively. North Carolina (.975) ranks 28th, Oregon State (.973) ranks 47th, Mississippi State (.972) ranks 66th, Louisville (.971) ranks 71st, North Carolina State (.970) ranks 86th and Indiana (.965) ranks 159th.
LSU's fielding percentage is higher than that of all but one of the last 10 College World Series champions.