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Saturday, May 18, 2024

L.S.U. Dominates Florida, Securing Resounding 18-4 Victory for Baseball National Championship

After Florida scored the most runs in tournament history in Game 2 of the College World Series, forcing a winner-take-all Game 3, the Gators seized a 2-0 lead against Louisiana State in the first inning of Monday’s Game 3 and seemed prepared to earn the title.

On Monday in Omaha, the Tigers beat the Gators 18-4 thanks to scoring surges of six and four runs, respectively. It was the culmination of a high-scoring, surprising College World Series and L.S.U.’s eighth national title, but first since 2009.

The championship series between LSU and Florida began with an extra-innings 4-3 victory for LSU. However, the Gators’ historic hitting in Game 2 resulted in a 24-4 victory for Florida. On Monday, however, the Tigers evened the score, thanks in large part to the stellar hitting of star outfielder Dylan Crews (.400).

Florida’s pitching staff struggled just when it was needed the most, after averaging just under four runs allowed per game in the Gators’ first five games at this C.W.S. Gators’ top home run hitter and starting pitcher Jac Caglianone was pulled after 1.1 innings due to allowing 6 runs (5 earned). Even worse, the bullpen surrendered 12 further runs.

L.S.U. and Florida have met earlier in the C.W.S. finals. The Gators defeated the Tigers 3-0 in 2017. L.S.U. is second only to Southern California in C.W.S. championships with seven.

Crews, fellow LSU pitcher Paul Skenes, and Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford, who is widely projected to be the first overall pick in this summer’s MLB draughts, squared up in this set.

On Sunday, Crews was announced as the winner of the Golden Spikes Award, given to the best amateur baseball player in the United States. With a single in the eighth inning and a pair of spectacular catches in the third inning, he showed why he’s so highly regarded on Monday. One of his catches in the third inning forced him to dash to the left-field wall and jump to snag a deep fly by Florida second baseman Kade Curland.

While the Tigers extended their advantage to eight runs in the fourth inning, sealing the victory, they paid a heavy price when catcher Alex Milazzo was injured while scoring from third after leaping over Gators catcher B.T. Riopelle. The score at that point was 10-2.

L.S.U. shortstop Jordan Thompson redeemed himself in Game 3 after making two mistakes and having trouble finding his groove in Game 2. After being hitless through the first nine innings of the championship series, Thompson went 3-for-5 with three RBI and many defensive assists on Monday. In the top of the fifth inning, the crowd was already cheering for him by the time he went up to the plate.

The Tigers’ pitching staff also found their footing following a disastrous outing in Game 2. Thatcher Hurd, a right-hander, gave up a home run in the first inning but then dominated the rest of the game, allowing no runs over the next five innings while striking out seven Gators batters with his nasty breaking ball.

Last year, when Johnson took over as Tigers manager, he instituted a new tradition: shooting a team portrait after every victory, no matter how inconsequential the game may have been.

The Tigers of L.S.U., who had gone 14 years without a national championship, sprang into a dogpile on Monday night, and the cameras went crazy.

Dan O'Brien
Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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