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30 Greatest Tigers of the Decade: #22 Brad Cresse

#22 Brad Cresse
#22 Brad Cresse

The box score doesn't really do it justice:

LSU 9th - Theriot singled. Fontenot walked; Theriot advanced to second.  Cresse singled, RBI; Fontenot advanced to second; Theriot scored. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

Outside of the Warren Morris home run, it is the defining play of the LSU baseball dynasty.   When he stepped to the plate, Brad Cresse may have been acknowledged as our best player, but he was mired in a 1-12 slump in Omaha.  Cresse was choking in Omaha, and let's face it, LSU baseball players are defined by what they do in Rosenblatt.  And the next thing we know, Theriot is tossing his helmet in the air and Cresse is pointing to the sky.  Victory for LSU.

Brad Cresse put up video game numbers in his senior year.  He hit 388/490/795 in 2000 and hit 30 home runs, drove in 106 RBI, and scored 73 runs.  As a team, LSU scored 652 runs, meaning Cresse either scored or drove in a quarter of them.  He won the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top catcher, made the All-American team, and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award.  It is, arguably, the greatest season a hitter has ever had at LSU. 

Cresse was just an amazing hitter.  He only came back for his senior year because of a disappointing junior year.  And thank goodness for that because his 2000 season was dominating.  Without Cresse's incredible season, LSU maybe doesn't make it to Omaha and then doesn't beat a great Stanford team on the last at bat. 

Brad Cresse was great.  He had a terrific, even legendary year.  But that's not why he makes the list.  He makes the list because of that last at bat on June 17, 2000.