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Story Archives: Nothing easy for LSU
|Nothing easy for LSU|
After watching LSU's baseball team make an unbelievable run to the World Series last year in a series of comeback wins, you would have thought it would have been a little easier this year.
Last year, LSU won 30 times during the season after facing a deficit, including nine wins in its final at-bat. The Tigers rallied to overcome a deficit in 19 of their 26 victories from April 22 to June 17.
LSU played three games at the College World Series last year, falling to North Carolina, getting a dramatic comeback win over Rice before falling to North Carolina.
Although more talented and entering the season as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, getting to where they are now was certainly not a walk in Alex Box Park.
LSU returns 24 players that made significant contributions last year, including seven everyday starters in the batting order and nine pitchers.
Actually, it hasn't been as nail-biting as last year. But there were certainly times when LSU could have blown some games open but had base-running errors or mental errors in the field that kept the other team in the game.
Since the loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament, LSU has won 10 straight. But only four of those have been by more than three runs.
Certainly getting to Omaha is a bigger deal now. Just look at where Florida, Ole Miss and Georgia are now. And who would have figured on Arkansas in Omaha earlier. And how about them Golden Eagles from Southern Miss?
And wouldn't you know it. This is the first year since 2002 there is no one from Vidalia on the team.
But Jarrett and Josh Hoffpauir and Barry Bowden are still making their marks on the diamond.
This LSU team is certainly capable of going all the way.
The return of Louis Coleman has certainly been a big boost for the Tigers. Coleman is majoring in agricultural business and has been mowing down batters most of the season.
And how about the human highlight at second base in DJ LeMahieu. Mainieri moved LeMahieu from shortstop to second base and two line drives this 6-foot-4 Michigan product snagged during the Super Regional would have been base hits against most other teams.
Speaking of highlights, Mikie Mahtook has been exceptional in center field. Mahtook's father, the late Mike Mahtook, and his uncle, Robbie Mahtook, both played football at LSU.
Another uncle, Ronnie Mahtook, played football at UL-Lafayette.
Freshman closer Matty Ott has been a gem. Ott said he chose LSU "because the coaches were honest and made me feel wanted."
Even more now, Matty, even more now.
Sophomore Anthony Ranaudo's interests are fishing and paintball. He's done a great job of painting the corners this season.
Mainieri has certainly made some bold moves and some classic moves. He loves rolling the dice with an aggressive style and most of the time it comes up a winner.
Reeling in David Grewe as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator was quite a catch. Grewe left Michigan State where he was head coach for the last three years.
Is another national title coming back to Baton Rouge?
It certainly won't be easy. The Tigers will have to hit left-handers a lot better and not make many unforced errors, to use a tennis term. Then again, that would be too easy. Hang on to your fingernails.