If anyone can slow down Oregon State, it's probably LSU

OMAHA, Neb. -- It's premature to suggest that the survivor of Monday night's matchup between Oregon State and LSU will win this College World Series.

One of them, though, is soon to rank as the favorite.

The No. 1-seeded Beavers (55-4 and riding a 22-game winning streak) face the No. 4 Tigers (49-17 and winners of 17 straight) in a game (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) that just about everyone in college baseball has wanted to see since the 64-team tournament bracket was unveiled on Memorial Day.

Everyone, perhaps surprisingly, including the Tigers.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said he was glad to see that Oregon State came from four runs down to beat Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.

"Twenty-two in a row?" Mainieri said. "Something's gotta give. So we'll see."

Oregon State is the story of this season so far, with a chance statistically to rank among the greatest teams in the history of the sport. Its 1.86 earned-run average leads the second-place team nationally by almost a full run. Another victory would match the school record for consecutive wins -- set this year from Feb. 25 through April 9 -- and allow the Beavers to rest until Friday, in control of Bracket 1.

If there's a program positioned to take the Beavers down, it's probably LSU, which owns a winning percentage of .720 (149-58) that ranks as the highest in NCAA postseason history.

"We'll be ready to go," LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson said. "We're not going to be intimidated by anyone. We're LSU."

Robertson followed that comment with a healthy dose of respect.

"Obviously, they're a great team," he said. "That seems like an impossible record to have, but they've done it. They know how to win." The Tigers aren't bad at racking up victories either, last losing on May 9 to South Alabama. They followed with three-game sweeps of Auburn and Mississippi State and a perfect run through the SEC tournament and an NCAA regional, before sweeping the league-rival Bulldogs again in the Baton Rouge super regional.

As Robertson said, at LSU, "you make your own luck."

The Tigers were ultra-aggressive Saturday night in coming from behind to beat Florida State 5-4: LSU scored runs from first base on a strikeout (aided by a wild pitch) and on a single to right field (with help from three errors by the Seminoles).

Oregon State similarly showed no fear in a 6-5 victory. Both teams won in final-inning at-bats, the third time in CWS history that the first two games were settled in that fashion -- and the third time the first two games were decided by one run apiece.

The Beavers are 14-1 in one-run games.

"They're doing the little things," LSU second baseman Cole Freeman said. "They've done it consistently all year."

Freeman and Robertson said the Tigers paid some attention to Oregon State's season despite the geographical challenges.

Same thing in Corvallis, said Michael Gretler, the Beavers' third baseman. But Gretler claimed he had no idea that LSU carried a winning streak to Omaha nearly as long as the Oregon State run.

"It definitely catches your attention," he said. "That's real impressive, but we can't worry about that stuff.

"From here on out, every team is going to be good. We worry about ourselves every day in practice. We know if we take care of business, it doesn't matter who we play."

Freshman Eric Walker (8-1, 3.46 ERA) will pitch for LSU on Monday against sophomore Bryce Fehmel (5-2, 3.80) for Oregon State.