LSU baseball brings home 7th national championship in style
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!"
- 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💜💛🐅"
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.
- Louisiana attorney Gordon McKernan purchased 8,888 shots on Monday — at $5 apiece that's $44,440 in jiggly alcohol — to push the Tiger total up over 64,000 shots for the series.
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.
- Then Thompson came to the plate and fired up the romance.
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