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The Possum is Roadkill

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Not a happy ending, but what a great story.

Too many seasons end with this face
Too many seasons end with this face
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Rally Possum died the way he lived, rallying. LSU fell behind in the first inning in Game 2 of the Supers, and then spent the entire game trying to narrow the gap. Chances came and chances went, with LSU eventually squandering several golden opportunities in the final three frames.

But before LSU's unreliable bullpen reliably imploded to let in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, let the record show that LSU did rally to tie the game. Kramer Robertson literally went down swinging.

However, in the end, a team can't leave eight runners on in the final three innings of a one-run game and reasonably expect to win. To be fair, Coastal left the bases loaded as well in the bottom of the eighth, so it's not like clutch hitting abounded last night. Though leaving the bases loaded in consecutive innings, following leaving two on in the seventh, does seem like fulfilling a dare.

That's the thing about a team that relies on late-inning magic... eventually you run out of pixie dust. A good team does not win close games. No, a good team wins by blowout. LSU was not a good enough team to blow anyone out, so it relied on the #RallyPossum as much as it could, turning what seemed to be an anonymously mediocre season into something special.

Yes, special. Not every dream season ends with a dogpile. In fact, most of them don't. This was a team that returned just one starting position player and never found a reliable third starter behind the one two punch of Lange and Poche. Mainieri found a closer in Hunter Newman and had about one more reliever in the pen he trusted to get big outs (Bain).

Somehow, he stirred up this bouillabaisse and cooked up a winning ballclub. Not just that, an exciting team that captured the imagination of an Alex Box crowd used to sustained excellence. This team was not a juggernaut, this was a scrappy underdog that made you dare to believe in magic and mojo.

Rooting for the underdog is fun, but the movie usually ends with the rich kids across the lake winning the day. OK, Coastal isn't exactly the big bullies of college baseball, but despite the seedings and the jerseys, it became clear as the weekend wore on that this was no upset.

Coastal Carolina is simply a better team than LSU this year. This wasn't the series of bullpen mismanagement in the Houston series or the weather altered schedule which so benefited Stony Brook a few years back. There's no bad break to bemoan, nor one boneheaded decision to blame.

No, LSU got beat. And we got beat by a better ballclub.

You can rage at the missed chances on Sunday night, and there certainly were more than a few, but it seems way too entitled to complain about this team not being clutch enough. At the end of the day, being clutch was just about the only bullet in this team's gun. We didn't out-talent teams this past month, we out-worked them or, dare I say it, out-lucked them. Or at least out-magicked them.

This team delivered us a glorious, fun-filled run that lasted a lot longer than it really had any business lasting, particularly in our home park. When the #RallyPossum first showed up, LSU wasn't just losing to Arkansas, this looked like a season that was quickly going nowhere. Instead, we got nearly two months of tense, meaningful baseball. Not to mention a viral meme.

The best part of this season was that LSU fans got to experience college baseball as the scrappy underdogs again. Usually, the expectations around these parts are national title or bust, and rightfully so.  But this team, freed from those expectations, just got to be a fun baseball team that we enjoyed for a few months.

Instead of cursing the baseball gods that this season came to its inglorious end, we should instead be thankful it ever happened at all. This team overachieved, but most importantly, they were a whole hell of a lot of fun.

Sure, the big expectations and the Title or Bust attitude will likely return to the Box next year. This is still LSU baseball and we're not always going to feel good about a team that fails to make it to Omaha. But this team? This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and instead the Tigers delivered a season that captured the imagination. This team delivered.