Jun 23, 2008

One Pitch

One pitch. That's all it took to end LSU's baseball season. The Tigers loss Friday night 7-3 to North Carolina at the College World Series. The game was one of the most exciting ones of the entire CWS...and that's saying a lot after the LSU-Rice 9th inning.

With a couple of rain delays, the anticipation for this game was great. After the first rain delay, the game restarted Friday with the bases loaded and one out for UNC. LSU's Jared Bradford force UNC into an inning ending double play to get out of the mess that Blake Martin had created the night before. Bradford shut down the Tar Heels for most of the game, allowing only one run until giving way to Louis Coleman in the 7th inning.

LSU struggled to hit the UNC pitchers, but Matt Clark hit a bomb in the bottom of the 6th inning that may have just landed to extend his national HR lead and tie the game at 3-3. Coleman was electrifying for LSU. He showed lots of emotion and seemed to cross up a number of UNC batters until the top of the 9th. With the bases loaded, Coleman threw one that he'd definately like to have back. LSU had chosen to walk Tim Fedroff, who had gone 4-4 in the game, and pitch to Tim Federowicz. Coleman threw one up and Federowicz deposited it in the left field bleachers. LSU was down 7-3 with only three outs left.

No more miracles for the LSU "Rally Cats." LSU wouldn't score again and would be sent home. While Coleman gave up the game-winning grand slam, LSU really loss the game in the bottom of the 8th. LSU had bases loaded with one out and failed to score a run. DJ LeMahieu popped out and Leon Landry grounded out to end the Tigers rally. If LSU had scored there, the 9th inning would have been a different story. LSU would have had the momentum and Coleman could have pitched that inning with a chance to win rather than trying not to give up the lead.

All-in-all it was a great season for the Tigers. This young team came from nowhere to make the CWS and the future looks bright for Paul Mainieri's group.

The CWS final series now features the Georgia Bulldogs vs. the Fresno State Bulldogs. Fresno State has been the Cinderella team all tournament, being the only 4-seed to ever make the CWS. What happened to them this year and how'd they get so hot in the NCAA Tournament? Georgia has yet to lose in the CWS, and I look for that to continue with a two-game sweep of Fresno, who had to play an extra game over the weekend to put away UNC.

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