Pregame notes: LSU-Arkansas

June, 19, 2009
Arkansas faces elimination Friday, as the Razorbacks take on 2-0 LSU in a rematch of Monday's 9-1 Tigers win. If Arkansas wins, it will have to beat LSU again Saturday to advance to the championship series -- no easy task.

Here's what to know heading into Friday's game (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN360):

LSUArkansas LSU (53-16) vs ARKANSAS (41-23)
2 pm. ET | ESPN2,
Elimination game for Arkansas

Series history: LSU leads 48-22 and has won three of four meetings this season. Monday's game was the second time the teams have met in the College World Series. The Tigers also won the first meeting 5-3 on June 3, 1987.

SEC reigns supreme
With LSU and Arkansas squaring off in Bracket One, the SEC will place a team in the championship game/series for the fifth time this decade. LSU won its fifth national title in 2000, while South Carolina (2002), Florida (2005) and Georgia (2008) have finished second during that time.

This is the fourth time two SEC teams will square off twice in the same College World Series. Each of the previous three instances, the result was the same in both games (LSU defeated Florida twice in 1991 and 1996; Alabama defeated Mississippi twice in 1997).

And the mighty might (finally) prevail
Unless Arkansas crashes the party, a national seed will win the national championship for the first time since 2003. Top overall seed Texas has a chance to be the first No. 1 seed to win the title since Miami in 1999. And LSU has the chance to be the first team from east of the Mississippi (by less than a mile) to win the crown since Miami in 2001.

Third (or fourth) time's a charm
LSU coach Paul Mainieri and Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn both had been to Omaha before, but hadn't met with much success. Van Horn was winless in three trips (two with Nebraska, one with Arkansas), while Mainieri had led two squads on 1-2 trips (Notre Dame in 2002, LSU in 2008). One will be leading his team into the CWS finals for the first time; on the other side of the bracket, Augie Garrido (five titles) and Pat Murphy have each coached in the championship game.

Game notes

• This is the seventh time LSU has played for a chance to reach the championship game/series coming from the winners' bracket. The Tigers have prevailed in five of the six previous instances, and they went on to win the national title each time. They have been pushed to two games just twice and eliminated once (by USC in 1998).

LSU in CWS winners' bracket final

  Opponent Result Games
'00 Florida State Won << 1
'98 USC Lost 2
'97 Stanford Won << 1
'96 Florida Won << 1
'93 Long Beach State Won << 2
'91 Florida Won << 1
<< Went on to win the national title

• LSU won five national titles from 1991 to 2000 but has struggled in the tournament since then (relatively speaking). The Tigers are in Omaha for consecutive seasons for the first time since 2003-04.

• After coming out swinging in Omaha (11 runs in the first 10 innings), Arkansas' bats went ice-cold for 14 innings before waking up late in Wednesday's game against Virginia (four runs in the past six innings).

• Arkansas' 3-4-5 hitters drove in all 10 of the Razorbacks' runs Saturday against Cal State Fullerton. But the heart of the lineup is just 5-27 since, with one RBI.



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