Jun 26, 2023 - Sports

LSU baseball brings home 7th national championship in style

The LSU Tigers celebrate after defeating Florida for the national title Monday night. Photo: Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Louisiana is the college baseball capital of America, once again.

Driving the news: LSU beat Florida 18-4 Monday night to cap a wild and wonderful College World Series. The win marks the school's seventh baseball national championship, second-most all-time behind only Southern California.

Why it matters: "How can you not be romantic about baseball?" this Tigers' team seemed to ask over and over during their marvelous CWS run. Four times they faced a lose-and-go-home game; four times they won.

Take this example: The Tigers suffered an embarrassing 24-4 loss to the very same Florida team in Game 2 of the final series Sunday. Maybe the most maligned LSU player was shortstop Jordan Thompson, who had two errors in that game and had struggled to just 1 hit in 30 CWS at-bats.

  • On Monday night, LSU was losing 2-0 when Thompson came to the plate and ripped a single to left to bring home the first LSU run and start a six-run rally. He added another RBI single two innings later.
  • By the fifth inning, LSU was up 10-2 and fans broke out in a chant: "Jor-dan Thomp-son! Jor-dan Thomp-son!"
LSU's Jordan Thompson in gold celebrates with teammates
Dylan Crews hugs Jordan Thompson. Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The big picture: This always felt bigger than baseball. The College World Series was about joy and Jell-O, memories and mustaches, history-making home runs and hometown New Orleans pride.

  • Women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey was in the stands, and her star player Angel Reese was delighting every time a baseball player pointed at their ring finger.
  • LSU fans overwhelmed other fan bases in the stadium, even Florida's, as ESPN's Ryan McGee noted.
  • Back home, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook ahead of Sunday's Florida game: "PSA: If you have a Florida plate and you are weaving in and out of traffic down Hwy. 190 and not using your blinky blink, a warning is not likely in the cards for you today 😎. #GeauxTigers💜💛🐅"
LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey raises her arms to celebrate the LSU men's baseball team
Speaking of championships: Kim Mulkey was in attendance for the baseball victory, just a few months after her LSU women's basketball team won the national title. Photo: C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Zoom in: Maybe the most famous measurement of LSU's passion was on a dry erase board at Rocco's Pizza and Cantina. The restaurant across the street from the stadium in Omaha sells Jell-O shots for charity and keeps a running tally of how many shots each team's fan base purchases.

  • The Tigers' faithful set a new record for number of shots taken in a single College World Series — and they did it with about a week to spare.
  • Proceeds from the shots support food banks in Omaha and the eight communities surrounding the schools represented at the CWS.
Photo: Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

On the field, the Tigers snagged the attention of casual baseball fans around the country in their opening CWS game June 17, when pitcher Paul Skenes — who may be superhuman and who definitely will be a top pick in next month's MLB draft — threw 46 pitches at 100-plus mph and struck out 12 batters in a win over Tennessee.

  • Then, after a loss to Wake Forest, the Tigers rolled through the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament and exacted revenge on the same Wake team on consecutive nights.
  • LSU then won the first game of the best-of-three Florida series in thrilling fashion, 4-3 in 11 innings on Saturday, with New Orleans native Cade Belolso delivering the heroics.
  • Then everything went wrong in a historic 24-4 loss on Sunday, raising the question: How does a team recover from a whooping like that?

That question only grew when Florida homered in the first to open a 2-0 lead on Monday night.


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