Did you hear that sound a few minutes ago? It was the collective cry of frustration from dozens of local business owners who just realized that LSU’s stay in Omaha is now over.
No baseball fan base travels like Tiger Nation. The Mardi Gras beads. The Cajun food. The southern drawl.
Sure, a few fans in purple-and-gold will hang around (they’re here even when the Tigers don’t make the CWS). But the majority will presumably head back south now, disappointed with LSU’s short appearance in the 2013 event.
The players are bummed, too. They were all on the top step of the dugout in the ninth to watch third baseman Christian Ibarra, representing the potential tying run, strike out to end their season. Nobody moved for a few seconds after that, too paralyzed by the disappointment.
Here’s a brief summary of what just happened…
CWS results: Lost 2-1 to UCLA on Sunday. Lost 4-2 to North Carolina on Tuesday.
What went right? We’ll start with Aaron Nola, the sophomore who threw eight innings of brilliant baseball in a loss against the Bruins. He did his job. Senior first baseman Mason Katz was locked in, going 3 for 5 with a home run at the plate. He was responsible for LSU’s only two RBIs at the tournament (the other run was scored on a double play ball).
What went wrong? A couple defensive mistakes cost the Tigers in their opener — which was surprising for a team that ranks sixth nationally in fielding percentage. They were better in the field Tuesday. But LSU never quite got its offense in sync, which is ultimately what made the difference. The Tigers left 20 runners on base in two games, managing just six hits in 29 at-bats (.207) in those scenarios when someone reached.
Will they be back next year? There’s a good chance. You know, LSU. It doesn’t really rebuild. Only reloads. Two of its top starters (Nola and Cody Glenn) are sophomores and national freshman of the year Alex Bregman will lead the offensive attack. The draft could drain the Tigers of some experienced pitching depth, but it’s hard to bet against a team that has six national titles (tied for the second-most).