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OMAHA, Nebraska – And to the winners, the shots.
LSU followed its Jell-O Shot Challenge national title with a much more significant and healthier one Monday night at the College World Series. The Tigers beat Florida, 18-4, to win the national championship in front of a CWS record 24,878 at Charles Schwab Field.
Neither was even close.
LSU also now holds the record for most hits in a single game at the CWS, which started in 1947, at 24. And total attendance for all 16 games set a CWS record at 392,946 as did the per-game average mark at 24,559.
Tigers’ fans really do not need any more Jell-O shots at Rocco’s Pizza & Cantina across the street from the Schwab. And LSU did not need to use ace right-hander Paul Skenes (13-2, 1.69 ERA).
Skenes last threw on Thursday night with 120 pitches against No. 1 Wake Forest and would have been pitching on three days rest. That would have been his shortest rest in between games all season.
College World Series Title No. 7 For LSU
LSU coach Jay Johnson entered the game thinking he may use Skenes in short relief if needed. He was not needed. It was a touchy subject as Skenes is expected to be the first or second player taken in the Major League Baseball Draft on July 9.
The Tigers trailed 2-0 in the first inning on a two-run home run by Wyatt Langford off Thatcher Hurd, but they took over the game with six in the second. LSU added four in the fourth, including a two-run home run by Josh Pearson, for a 10-2 lead. And it was over.
LSU catcher Alex Milazzo broke his left foot by landing hard and awkwardly on the plate for that 10th run. Teammates helped him off, and he later wore a boot on his left foot with crutches. Skenes carried him to the postgame dogpile, so Skenes was needed.
The Tigers (54-17) won their seventh national championship to pass Texas into second place in all-time titles behind USC, which has 12. LSU won its first national crown since 2009.
Florida (54-17) lost in the national championship best-of-three series for the third time since 2005. LSU avenged its loss to the Gators in the 2017 national title series.
LSU Just Lost To Florida By 20 On Sunday
Just a day ago, Florida scored the most runs in College World Series history in a 24-4 win over LSU to even the series, 1-1, on Sunday. The Tigers won the opener, 4-3, in 11 innings on Saturday night.
LSU star center fielder Dylan Crews helped lead the offensive onslaught. He went 4-for-6 with a triple and three runs scored. This was a day after winning the Golden Spikes Award that goes to college baseball’s best player. Crews is expected to be the first or second player taken in the MLB Draft.
The Tigers became the fourth consecutive SEC program to win the national title in baseball. Ole Miss won it last year, Mississippi State in 2021 and Vanderbilt in 2019. SEC schools have won nine national crowns in the last 15 years – LSU in 2009, South Carolina in 2010 and ’11, Vanderbilt in 2014 and Florida in 2017 along with the above four.
Tigers’ National Championship Chain Growing
As the SEC continues to trend in baseball, LSU athletic director Scott Woodward’s 2021 hires are trending titles.
It was the second LSU national championship in less than three months as this one follows the women’s basketball crown in April.
Woodward hired women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey from Baylor and Johnson from Arizona consecutively less than three months apart in 2021. Mulkey came in April and Johnson in June. Each won national titles in their second season at LSU. Mulkey attended Monday’s title game.
Woodward lured his third established winning coach from a major brand program in 2021 five months after Johnson. That was football coach Brian Kelly from Notre Dame.
So, according to form, Kelly and the Tigers should win the 2023 College Football Playoff next January, right?
Kelly is on the right track. He has one of the best returning starting quarterbacks in the nation in Jayden Daniels and will likely be a preseason favorite to win the SEC West.
Plus, Kelly had a Jell-O shot at Rocco’s on Sunday.