In the end, it was a laugher.
LSU took all of the pressure of this season, this month, this fortnight, and even this weekend... and tossed it all in the garbage can like it was nothing. The 2023 LSU baseball team answered the bell, and they are now the national champions.
Before we talk about the game, let’s first appreciate the weight of expectations which this team labored under all year. They were the preseason #1 of every publication and they lived up to the ranking right away, only to briefly swoon for two or three weekends... and out came the knives.
This is the best collection of talent in LSU’s legendary baseball history, and anything less than a title was going to feel like a disappointment. Instead of running from it, this team embraced it.
And they have just completed one of the most epic weeks in the history of Omaha. After losing to Wake in the marble game, LSU fought its way to the final series through the loser’s bracket. Due to a scheduling quirk, the Tigers played seven games in eight games, an unheard of level of stress in recent history.
They walked into Game 3 with all of the swagger of past LSU champs... and promptly laid an egg in the first inning. Florida followed it up in the bottom of the first with a two-run blast of Thatcher Hurd, and now it looked like LSU was a great team that simply ran out of gas. Hey, sometimes life is unfair.
But a funny thing happened on the way to oblivion. LSU loaded the bases, AGAIN, against Florida in the top of the second, and instead of failing to take advantage of the bevvy of baserunners, as has been the story this championship series, the Tiger bats came alive with a series of walks, HBP’s, and singles. By the time the dust settled, LSU was up 6-2.
Instead of resting on their laurels or worse, giving the lead right back, Hurd went out there and pitched a clean 1-2-3 inning. It’s hard to point to a critical moment in a 14-run blowout, but that was it. It set the tone. LSU was going for the jugular.
That’s exactly what this was. A ruthless curbstomping of a bitter rival, and never letting up for a moment. There were no gimmes. LSU took the lead early, and closed it out late, scoring runs in each of the final three innings, and putting up a crooked number in the ninth.
Every single starter got at least one hit. Every starter scored at least once. Every starter had an RBI save Milazzo, who left the game with an injury, but Travinski batted one in from the nine hole, just to be sure.
The stars carried the load, as usual, as Dylan Crews went 4-6 with 3 runs scored, Tommy Tanks went 4-7 with 3 RBI, and Brayden Jobert finished 4-7 with 3 runs scored, 3 RBI, and a home run.
But let’s take a moment for the redemption of Jordan Thompson. After a miserable Game 2 in this series, capping off a brutal two weeks at the plate in Omaha, Thompson kicked off of the rally in the second inning, and tied for the team lead with three RBI. It was a team win, no one player did this. They all did.
That’s what champions do. Seven times now.
I appreciate the lack of drama this time. Geaux Tigers. Champions, again,