Geauxmaha! LSU wins seventh national title


OMAHA — Going into Monday night’s deciding game three of the Men’s College World Series, the big storyline everyone was following was whether Paul Skenes was going to start the game on the mound for LSU, and if not, when he would enter the game. 

When Thatcher Hurd was announced as the starter for the Tigers, Skenes Watch was on, with ESPN even going so far as to have cameras following him in the clubhouse area as he began his preparation. 

That debate was rendered moot when LSU ran away with an 18-4 win over Florida to secure the program’s seventh national title and first since 2009. 

Florida’s Wyatt Langford got the scoring started in the bottom of the first with a two-run blast to left field, but after that point, it was one-way traffic for the Tigers. 

It started with a six-run second inning that came in large part due to control issues for Florida lefthander Jac Caglianone, with runs coming home on a Jordan Thompson RBI single, a bases-loaded hit by pitch for Cade Beloso, a Dylan Crews bases-loaded walk, a Tommy White RBI single, a sacrifice fly for Tre’ Morgan and a Gavin Dugas RBI single.

That big inning sent Caglianone out of the game and hung him with six runs on just two hits in 1.1 innings. 

Then, in the fourth, LSU broke it open for good with a four-run inning made up of a Thompson RBI single, a line-drive two-run home run for Josh Pearson and an RBI single off the bat of Beloso. A run in the seventh, three in the eighth and four in the ninth served as the icing on the cake of a masterful day of offense for the Tigers.

All told, the Tigers finished with 24 hits, the most they’ve had in a game all season. Their 18 runs are tied for the second-most they’ve scored this season, behind only a 26-run outburst against Central Connecticut State on March 4.

Center fielder Dylan Crews, in his last game at LSU, went 4-for-6, and third baseman Tommy White, who projects to return as the centerpiece of the lineup next season, went 4-for-7. Right fielder Brayden Jobert was the third LSU player to enjoy a four-hit day, and his two-run homer in the ninth capped the scoring and sent the majority-LSU crowd into a frenzy once more.

As LSU poured on the runs, Hurd settled in. He finished with six innings pitched, giving up just those two first-inning hits and two first-inning runs with two walks and seven strikeouts. 

After Hurd exited, lefthander Riley Cooper, who wasn’t even in the dugout for Sunday’s game due to a stomach bug, threw an inning, and Gavin Guidry followed by throwing two innings to close out the game.

Last offseason, LSU made waves by bringing in the top-ranked recruiting class and the top-ranked transfer class, headlined by White, Skenes and Hurd.

Since then, the Tigers have been riding that wave all the way to a national title.