LSU looks to end recent slide

Published 1:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Before defending national champion LSU can think about winning another College World Series, the Tigers have to finish their regular season well enough just to qualify for the Southeastern Conference tournament.

LSU (34-15, 12-12 in the SEC) is coming off its third straight SEC series loss this past weekend after Vanderbilt won in Baton Rouge on Sunday to take the final two games of a three game series.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri says it’s time for the Tigers to ‘‘re-evaluate goals’’ with seven regular season games left.

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‘‘I think it takes 15 (SEC) wins to get to Hoover and we’ve got six games left — six tough games,’’ he said. ‘‘We need to take it one step at a time. Let’s get ourselves qualified to get to the conference tournament. That seemed inevitable a little while ago, but we’ve had three tough weekends in a row. So, you just have to say, ‘Let’s take care of first things first. Let’s win enough games to get ourselves to the SEC tournament, and now once we look like we can do that, let’s try to get the highest seed possible.’’’

LSU’s next three games will be at Kentucky, followed by a non-conference road game against Tulane before concluding its SEC slate at home against Mississippi State May 20-22.

Unless LSU finishes with a major flourish and dominates the SEC tournament, the idea of LSU hosting a regional round of the NCAA tournament could be a stretch.

‘‘Obviously, we’re going to be at the mercy of a selection committee now as to whether or not we can host,’’ Mainieri said.

The last time LSU played in the NCAA tournament and didn’t host a regional was 1989, when it traveled to College Station, Texas. Since that year, LSU has been a host 18 times.

Generally, the selection committee looks upon LSU favorably because of the team’s history of filling its stadium.

Last season, LSU’s first in the new Alex Box Stadium, the Tigers set a school attendance record with 403,056 fans watching 42 games, an average of 9,596 per game.

LSU has led the nation in baseball attendance in each of the past 14 seasons (1996-2009).