EUGENE, Ore. — Gonzaga starts their run in the NCAA Baseball Championship on Friday night against one of the most storied programs in college baseball LSU.
The Zags are the two seed in the regional and LSU is the three seed. Oregon, the reginal host, is the one seed and Central Connecticut State is the four seed.
The Bulldogs come into this one looking to get back on track. Their season ended with two blowout losses to San Diego by a combined run total of 19-2.
They will have their ace on the mound Spokane native Alek Jacob on Friday. Jacob has had a very solid year with a 7-1 record, an ERA of 2.82 and 103 strikeouts. His efforts this season, which included throwing the first no hitter for the program in 31 years, earned him Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American honors and West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year honors.
"I'm so excited to be here," Jacob said. "It's been our goal all year to play playoff baseball."
LSU also has a pitcher starting with quite a bit of game in Landon Marceaux. He had a 6-5 record, but also has a 2.26 ERA and 107 strikeouts. Jacob said he's excited to have a pitcher duel.
"It's like me versus you, who can outduel the other guy," he said. "It's competition, it's a good time."
On the offensive side of things for the Zags. as mentioned earlier, the bats slumped a little bit to close the season. They'll look to turn that around against Marceaux.
"We have a great chance and a lot of good hitters in our lineup," Collegiate Baseball Third Team All-American and Gonzaga third baseman Brett Harris said. "We hope to get his pitch count up early in the game and get him out of there as early as we can."
Harris, who also was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year, said the team is not trying to overhype this matchup with a storied program like LSU. They don't want it to take away from their game, but the Zags are confident heading into the matchup.
"I think we've had a really good week of practice this week and we're fully prepared to give LSU our best shot," Harris said. "I think it's going to be a big game for our program in general playing against a big time SEC school like LSU from small town Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington. I think it's going to be a great matchup, I think we're the better team and I think we should win the game."
First pitch between the Zags and Tigers is at 7 p.m. at PK Park on the University of Oregon's campus. The game will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN3.