OMAHA, Nebraska — To paraphrase a famous Yogi — the legendary baseball player and not the famed cartoon bear — it was “Deja Vu all over again ” for the LSU Tigers at Charles Schwab Field.
Two nights after winning an elimination game with a walkoff home run in the 11th inning, LSU claimed yet another anxiety-inducing contest at the College World Series.
The latest heart-pounding victory took place Saturday night.
Like the instant classic that took place back on Thursday evening, this game between LSU and Florida also featured a decisive home run in the 11th inning, a historic pitching performance and Tommy White living up to his nickname “Tommy Tanks.”
The only difference was that LSU prevailed 4-3 as the visiting team, and of course the Tigers are now one win away from claiming a seven national title, their first since 2009.
Where does one begin?
Let us start with a storyline involving the game-winning home run blast — this time courtesy of Cade Beloso, who lifted a pitch over the right field wall for the go-ahead solo home run.
The former LSWA Mr. Baseball didn’t have any guarantee that he would see significant playing time this season, but Beloso opted to return for his fifth season for LSU as a graduate student.
The once-promising career has been slowed down first due to inconsistency at the plate (hitting .226 with only three homers) in 2021, and then a knee injury wiping out his 2022 season.
Yet, Beloso stuck with it and became a reliable designated hitter for Jay Johnson this season — a hitter who has played his best baseball this postseason.
Through this NCAA Tournament, Beloso is batting .333 (14-for-42) with five home runs, nine RBI and now a game-winner in Omaha.
There is the storyline of Ty Floyd, who despite going undefeated this season, has been in the very large shadow of fellow Tiger hurler Paul Skenes.
There was no shadow — not even those pesky ones inside the park early in 6 o’clock games that make left fielders fearful shagging a fly ball — bigger on Saturday night as Floyd’s.
LSU’s other ace struck out 17 Florida hitters, which tied the CWS record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game.There was also White hitting another key home run — this time in the eighth inning. A walkoff game-winner on Thursday and then another late-inning blast, tying the contest and leading to extra innings, on Saturday. Not too shabby.
There is of course the final storyline that could be written this afternoon — one of redemption and of hoisting another national championship.
With one more victory, LSU will win its seventh national championship and avenge the championship series loss to Florida back in 2017.
Will the Tigers write that chapter? We will have to wait to find out and I am sure the Gators will cite another Yogi phrase, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
No matter what the outcome might be today – LSU dogpiling on the infield, or Florida forcing Game 3 Monday evening — it will surely be done in dramatic fashion. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait.
Contact Raymond at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RPIII_Sports