LSU finally used up its nine lives tonight as Tar Heel Tim Federowicz put an end to the Tigers season with a clutch ninth-inning, two-out grand slam. There is plenty to be said about tonight's game and the season, and I'm sure myself, Richard Pittman and, in particular, Poseur will have many thoughts on both in the coming days. But for right now, I'm only going to make a couple comments because I feel like I've been punched in the gut.
First off, tonight's game. Jared Bradford and Louis Coleman pitched outstandingly (Webster, add this word if you haven't already). Coleman made one mistake that was exponentially magnified by two intentional walks. The duo matched arguably the nation's best pitching staff pitch-for-pitch, out-for-out, inning-for-inning. My hat (if I were wearing one) goes off to them. They both gave everything they had this series, Bradford throwing almost seven innings Tuesday then almost six today on two days rest, and Coleman pitching in all three games. That said, North Carolina's pitching staff was clearly up to the task tonight. They shut down a very potent line up for the second time in a week. And, when you're playing a team that's better than you (UNC was the better team), you have to take advantage of your opportunities if you're going to win (see Inning, Eighth).
Second, what a ride. It's cliche, but who would have thunk it three months ago that we'd be sweating wins and losses in Omaha via our TeeVees. This team has been on a magical ride trip has totally restored LSU baseball to its former self. I think I speak for Tiger fans everywhere when I thank Paul Mainieri, Blake Dean, Matt Clark, Michael Hollander, Ryan Verdugo, Blake Martin, Louis Coleman, Jared Bradford and all the rest of the Tigers for an unbelievable ride. You gave us something special and, hopefully, we gave you our shoulders to ride upon during your amazing journey.
Good luck to North Carolina the rest of the way. Beat Fresno. I can't in good conscience want them to beat Georgia after that because I have to root for the conference, but I'm sure they'll represent as "the team that knocked out LSU" well.