Okay, before I go on any further, I have to lay everything out there. LSU was losing Sunday to the UC-Irvine Ant Eaters 7-2 in the fifth inning. I had a softball game at 5:30. Based on how the Tigers were playing on Sunday, coupled with getting shelled 11-5 in game 1 of their Super Regional matchup with the Ant Eaters on Saturday, I had given up hope.
It was really hard to leave to play softball at a time like that, but the weekend's events made it a bit easier. Of course I still wanted LSU to win. And even while warming up for our softball game, I was still pacing back and forth curious to the know the score.
Then something happened that I have seen before.
LSU, trailing now 7-4 in the top of the ninth made their move. A walk and couple of base hits later, it is 7-5...NOBODY OUT! No way this is happening.
Meanwhile, our softball team is in the midst of giving up about run nine in what would become a 14 run inning for the opposing team. I didn't really care.
Then, another update from the stands. Tie game!!!! Are you kidding me?
An hour ago, this team was dead. The Ant Eaters starting pitching was too good. Their hitting was clutch. LSU's previous 23 game winning streak didn't mean squat to them.
A couple more base hits...9-7 lead for the Tigers. We now move to the bottom of the ninth.
Our mighty softball team is now losing 14-4...in the second inning. Still no worries. A minute or two passes. One out. We take the field for the bottom of the second. Two outs. We somehow manage not to give up any runs in the second after getting pasted for 14 in the previous one. Three outs. GAME OVER! See you for game 3 tomorrow night at The Box!!!
Paul Mainieri and his LSU Tigers' continue to defy baseball logic. Just two weeks ago, they were losing 4-0 to South Carolina in the ninth inning in the first game of the SEC tournament. They scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth and would eventually win 5-4 in extra innings on a Blake Dean walk off home run.
On Sunday, with their season on the line, they do it again. Five runs in the top of the ninth to score a 9-7 victory against UC-Irvine.
Now the pressure switches to the Ant Eaters. They had LSU beat. They were outplaying LSU in all phases of the game. Pitching, hitting, base running, fielding, crotch grabbing...it didn't matter. And the guys at ESPN (HEY WILL KIMMEY!) made sure you knew about it.
Without question the key for LSU tomorrow is first getting a strong effort from starting pitcher Blake Martin. Next, they have to get to UC-Irvine's starter early and often.
Thanks to the wonderful world of Digital Video Recording, I was able to come home from our eventual 21-8 defeat on the softball diamond and watch the last three innings of Sunday's game two. What I saw was Ant Eater relievers who looked nervous in the moment. Their starters were phenomenal—their relievers, not so much.
LSU has been on the brink of elimination before. Skip's great teams of the 90's staved off many elimination games and went on to win multiple national championships. I could go on and on about them, but this isn't about those teams.
This 2008 LSU Tiger baseball team deserves tons of credit. In many people's eyes, they have already achieved more than anyone thought they would.
But, in my opinion, this team is special. They don't have high profle guys, but they have a group of guys who all have one thing in common—they don't want to go home. They'd rather GEAUX BACK HOME TO OMAHA!!!