6/23/09: On a hot humid evening in Omaha, Nebraska two of the Nations all time best baseball programs met with both teams seeking a return to former glory, both unbeaten at Rosenblatt this year and both vying for a national championship that would validate their program as the elite program of modern collegiate baseball. Texas entered the series with six National Titles, with the last one coming in 2005. LSU has five National Championships all under Living Legend Skip Bertman with last one coming in 2000.
The game itself could only be described as an epic clash between two heavy weights. Both starting pitchers are among the nation's best, one was sensational and the other was uncharacteristically off of his game, the defense was great despite a few issues reportedly due to wet baseballs that probably didn't smell pleasant judging from the looks of the umpire's dripping uniform and ball sack. (I know that just doesn't sound right!) And both teams dug their heals in and took their shoots at the plate.
Ryan Shimpf (.341, 22HR - Season) got things started in the top of the first inning with a solo home run and everything seemed to be going according to script. Despite the early home run, both starting pitchers looked sharp through the first three innings. The Longhorn's ten game winner, Chance Ruffin struck out five through three and ten on the night, while Louis Coleman, LSU's Senior Ace and 14 game winner struck out six on the night and look great until the fourth inning when the Longhorns flipped the switch on the Tigers and went yard on Coleman three times (Moldenhauer, Tucker, Keyes) to take a 3 - 1 lead after four.
The Tigers would erase the lead on a Jared Mitchell, two-out two RBI triple in the top of the sixth. Mitchell's blast allowed Blake Dean and Micha Gibbs to score while showing the National Audience on ESPN what world class speed looks like running the base pads.
Texas would strike back instantly in the bottom of the sixth. Coleman would give up two more runs on three hits, which included another Moldenhauer solo home run, and a wild pitch that scored Kevin Keyes.
After DJ LeMahieu cut the lead in half in the top of the seventh with a towering blast to centerfield, Coach Paul Mainieri inexplicably elected to keep Coleman on the mound. He was unable to record an out as the first batter he faced, Conner Rowe took him deep to left center again stretch Texas lead to two runs for the third time in the ball game. Two sport star Chad 'Dredlocks of Doom' Jones came in to put out the fire and face three batters, recording three outs and struck out Brandon Belt swinging.
With both bull pens being used to the full and performing well the Tigers faced a two run deficit headed into the ninth. With two on and two out, DJ Lemahieu erased the lead on a two run double which forced Texas into extra innings after Matty 'Ice' Ott refused to allow the Longhorns to score in the bottom of the ninth or for the rest of the game as it turned out. Ott the Tiger's Freshman Closer pitched three hit-less innings, striking out three, to end the game.
The 6 - 6 score held into the 11th inning when Mikey Mahtook came through with a clutch RBI single to centerfield allowing LeMahieu to score what would prove to be the game winning run.
Both teams played exceptionally well in what was truly a fantastic contest between two great teams but the Longhorn's HAVE to be wondering what it takes to beat these Tigers. They hit them hard and often but in the end the Tigers came up standing tall with a 1 - 0 lead in this best of three.
Stay tuned, this was the first battle but the war is not yet won!
Game 2 will be televised on ESPN-HD and will be aired on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats can be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.lsusports.net. (source: lsusports.net)