Sometimes less is more. While it’s hard to get anything better than a great World Series run of seven games, the boys who haven’t made the show, and probably never will, can put up some awfully exciting games. Last night the College World Series hit the mark with one of the best games in years.
A showdown betwen LSU and Texas turned out to be one of the best games in years, going 11 innings. For most of 2009 the Texas Longhorns have been the epitome of small ball, using the bunt and strategic hitting to overcome opponents. The LSU Tigers sent out their ace pitcher, Louis Coleman, a guy who hasn’t given up much all year. In a shocking display of power Texas whipped 5 solo home runs off Coleman, propelling Texas to the lead for most of the game. In fact I can only remember twice when the Longhorns used the bunt effectively. Meanwhile, LSU was playing catchup all night long. And catch up they did. With Texas leading 6-4 heading into the 9th inning, the Tigers looked like they were would be preparing for a must win Game 2.
But you can’t count on anything except great baseball in a World Series. LSU’s rally in frame 9 began with a single and a walk, lived through a K, and flamed up with a two run double. The Bayou Boys were back in it. The top of the 11th saw LSU draw a walk from the Longhorns fifth pitcher. Two outs later, Mikie Mahtook, who was 0-4 at the time, singled up the middle to bring in the winning run. From there it was a fine pitching job by the LSU reliever and some solid but routine defense that put the LSU Tigers one win away from a World Series win.
But make no mistakes, the Texasonghorns are a dangerous team. LSU can ill afford to let the Longhorns run up another power hitting contest. That’s LSU’s domain. For Texas to come back in Game 2, they’ll have to hold down the Tigers hitters and get back to small ball and the gutsy, do what has to be done style of play that got them to the World Series to beging with. I think it’s going to be another good game.