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LSU 11 - Texas 4: National Champions!

Ed. Note:  Corrected embarrassing error in the score in the title.  The flogging from management was severe.

Anthony Ranaudo certainly didn't get the great outing we hoped for, but he fought through 5 1/3 innings, giving up 8 hits and 5 walks but only 4 runs, and another outstanding bullpen outing shut the Longhorns down from there.

Offensively, the Fightin' Tigers started out fast, with a 3-run first inning home run by Jared Mitchell, followed by a run in the 2nd on an RBI single by Ryan Schimpf, ultimately chasing Texas starter Cole Green.

Anthony Ranaudo was staked to a 4-0 lead, but he loaded the bases in the first without giving up a run, and then loaded them again in the 3rd, walked in a run, and allowed another one to score on what could have been an inning-inning double play had he not allowed a double steal through his own inattention.

Ranaudo would get through the 4th and then gave up a 2-run homer in the 5th that tied the game at 4-all.  Things started looking pretty sour, as the Tigers had not gotten a hit in 3 innings off of Texas reliever Brandon Workman, and our ace pitcher was apparently all but done. 

The Tiger offense came alive in the top of the 6th.

Jared Mitchell started the inning with a walk, and then advanced on a wild pitch.  Mikie Mahtook laced a double to right center that scored Mitchell.  It would prove to be the game winning RBI, his second game winning RBI of the championship series.  Gibbs reached on a misplayed bunt, and Helenihi hit a sac fly that I thought was going to get out of the yard, but was deep enough at least to score Mahtook.  After a groundout by Nola and after Lemahieu reached, Texas brought in their ace lefty closer Austin Wood to face lefties Ryan Schimpf and Blake Dean.  It would not work out well for Texas.

Wood had problems finding his spot and ended up hitting Ryan Schimpf to load the bases.  Then he hit Blake Dean to score the third run of the inning.  Ochinko went to the plate looking for a fast ball strike from the struggling pitcher and knocked it into left field to score Lemahieu and Schimpf to give LSU a 9-4 lead.  The inning ended on a lineout by Jared Mitchell.

Ranaudo returned to the mound in the 6th to face one batter, and induced a lineout to centerfield.  After that, the bullpen came out and mopped up.

Chad Jones ended the 6th inning by inducing two beautiful strikeouts against left handed batters.  His slider is a monster, and the Texas lefties were completely overmatched by it.  Then he was rewarded with an opportunity to pitch the 7th inning as well.  He got 3 more outs allowing only one baserunner, on a hit by pitch.

The Tigers scored a run in the 8th and a run in the 9th on a majestic bomb by Sean Ochinko, who was outstanding both offensively and defensively all night.

Louis Coleman, on one day's rest, came out to pitch the 8th and then the 9th.  There was no drama.  Texas was a defeated team at that point, and put up no challenge to Coleman despite his rough outing on Monday.  He struck out the side in the 9th inning, finding a perfect spot on the outside corner that the Longhorn hitters couldn't hit but that the umpire called a strike.

In the end, the senior pitcher, who has been so important to this program, got an opportunity to be the center of the celebration shot.  It was a fitting end to a great career by a Tiger who passed up the pros to come back for his senior year and an opportunity to win a national championship.

The offensive stars were Sean Ochinko, who was 4 for 5 with 3 RBI, Jared Mitchell who hit the 3-run home run and started the 6th inning rally, Ryan Schimpf who had 2 RBI, and Mahtook who had the game winning RBI.

Defensively, Derek Helenihi made several outstanding stops at 3rd.  Chad Jones and Louis Coleman pitched 3 2/3 great innings in relief.  Gibbs didn't let runners advance when Ranaudo was really struggling to find the strike zone.

It was a great way to end a great season.  We'll have more, but right now let's just celebrate.