LSU Tigers baseball
Infobox College baseball team
name = LSU Tigers
founded = 1893
university = Louisiana State University
conference = Southeastern Conference
conference_short = SEC
division = West
city = Baton Rouge
stateabb = LA
state = Louisiana
tenure = 2nd
Alex Box Stadium
capacity = 7,760
nickname = Tigers
color1 = Purple
color2 = Gold
fontcolor = fdd023
hex1 = 461d7c
hex2 = fdd023
national_champion = 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000
cws = 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008
ncaa_tourneys = 1975, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008
conference_tournament = 1986, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2008
conference_champion = 1939, 1943, 1946, 1961, 1975, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2003
The LSU baseball team represents
Louisiana State Universityin NCAA Division I college baseball.
Along with the other LSU athletic teams, the baseball team participates in the West division of the
Southeastern Conference. Since 1986, LSU Baseball has been considered an elite program in college baseball, winning 5 national championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 2000) and making 14 College World Seriesappearances.
The Tigers play their home games on LSU's campus in
Alex Box Stadium, and are currently coached by head coach Paul Mainieri. LSU is currently building a new baseball stadium which will open for the 2009 season.
The Early Years
The first thirty years of LSU baseball saw its fair share of successes and failures, but the one thing the team lacked was a consistent leader. The 1895 squad played a total of four games going 0-3-1, which is not surprising considering the team did not have a head coach. During that time span, LSU had a total of 15 coaches with no coach staying longer than two seasons except C.C. Stroud who remained head coach for 8 seasons. C.C Stroud coached LSU from 1914-1921 with an overall record of 73-58-5, a winning percentage of .595. His teams won at least 10 games during 4 of his 8 seasons as head coach of LSU.
The 1927 season would bring significant change to the LSU baseball program.
Harry Rabenhorsttook over the program that year, and would go on to be the longest tenured coach in LSU's history. During the 1930s, Alex Boxalso played for LSU who would later name their stadium after the courageous soldier who lost his life during WWII.
Harry Rabenhorst Era
Harry Rabenhorst began what would become a very long and successful career at LSU in 1925 as the head coach of the men's basketball team. Two years later, in 1927, he also become the head baseball coach. Along with his successes in basketball, which included a 1935
mythical national championshipand an appearance in the 1953 Final Four, he also won two SEC baseball titles (1939 & 1946) [ [http://www.secsports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=0&url_article_id=1773&change_well_id=2 SEC Baseball Championships] ] . As a reward for his team's success on the baseball diamond, Rabenhorst was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1939 and 1946 [ [http://www.secsports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=0&url_article_id=1783&change_well_id=2 SEC Coach of the Year] ] , as well. Rabenhorst coached the baseball team from 1927 until 1942 when he left to serve in World War II. Upon his return, he again coached the baseball team from 1946 until 1956. He finished his baseball coaching career with a record of 220-226-3. Rabenhorst's legacy at LSU lived on when he became the Athletic Directorin 1967.
Pre Skip Bertman
The Skip Bertman Era
J. Stanley "Skip" Bertman had been around baseball all his life, and played collegiate ball at the
University of Miamifrom 1958-1960 as a catcher and outfielder. After graduating with B.A. in health and physical education from Miami, Bertman went to grad school to obtain a master's degree which he completed in 1964. The next year, Bertman began his coaching career at Miami Beach High Schoolwhere he remained head coach for 11 seasons. Bertman's teams won the state title once and finished runner-up two other times during his tenure as head coach. In 1976, Bertman left Miami Beach High school to join the coaching staff at his Alma Mater as an assistant coach under legendary coach Ron Fraser. In 1982, Bertman helped the Miami Hurricanes claim their first national title, and would leave after the 1983 season to become the twenty-third Head Coach of LSU.
Bertman turned the LSU baseball program around quickly, leading the Tigers to postseason play in his second year for the first time in a decade. During his third year, LSU made their first appearance in the
College World Series, and the Tigers would become a regular in Omaha making 11 appearances during Bertman's 18 year career. LSU made it back to Omaha during the 1987 season, but failed to make the NCAA Division I baseball tournament in 1988 despite finishing the year with a record of 39-21.
Bertman would use the 1989 season to catapult LSU baseball into a dynasty in the 1990s. Bertman's 1989 team made it back the postseason which started a string of 17 consecutive postseason appearances that would finally be snapped in 2006. The 1989 team was able to make it back to Omaha after beating Texas A&M in the 1989 regional. After making it back to Omaha in 1990, LSU failed to make the championship game again, but would finally break through in 1991.
1991 National Championship
1993 National Championship
1996 National Championship
The Tigers entered the NCAA tournament on a 2-game losing streak that included losses to Florida and Kentucky and were eliminated from the
1996 SEC Baseball Tournament. However, based on their regular season performance, LSU was selected as one of the eight regional host sites for the NCAA tournament. The Tigers defeated Austin Peay, UNLV and UNO before finally facing Georgia Tech for the chance to go to the College World Series. LSU defeated Georgia Tech by a score of 29-13 and broke multiple NCAA records, two of which still stand today: 13 hits in an inning and 8 doubles in an inning.
The Tigers entered the College World Series now on a four game winning streak. They defeated their first opponent, Wichita State, by a score of 9-8. LSU then faced the same Florida team that beat them 3 times in the regular season and once in the SEC Tournament. It seemed that Florida had their number, however, the Tigers won by a score of 9-4. Florida rebounded, however, and came back through the losers bracket to face LSU again. This time the Tigers won it 2-1 to move onto the championship game to face Miami (FL).
In what is called one of the most memorable games in College World Series history, LSU defeated Miami (FL) by a score of 9-8. In the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs and a runner on third base LSU only needed a base hit or a
wild pitchto tie the game. An unlikely hero emerged from the LSU dugout in Warren Morris, who had been hurt most of the year. He stepped to the plate and faced pitcher Robbie Morrison. Morris swung on Morrison's first pitch and lined the ball just barely over the right field fence for a 2 out, game winning walk off home run. This was his first home run of the season.
LSU won its 3rd national championship in dramatic fashion. Morris' home run would later win an
ESPYaward for "Showstopper of the Year." [ [http://espn.go.com/espy2005/s/pastwinners.html ESPY Past Winners] ]
1997 National Championship
2000 National Championship
After losing in the Super Regional round to Alabama in 1999, LSU failed to reach the College World Series for only the third time in a decade. LSU rolled through the 2000 regular season with a record of 41-17, and started the postseason 4-0 after sweeping through the SEC Tournament which earned the Tigers a #2 National seed in the 2000 Division I Baseball playoffs. LSU won the Baton Rouge regional in 3 games by a total score of 45-4, and waited for UCLA to come to Baton Rouge for the Super Regional round. LSU won the first two games 8-2 and 14-8 respectively, meaning the Tigers were heading back in Omaha looking to claim their fifth title in 10 years.
LSU began play in Omaha with a convincing win over Texas, 13-5. In game 2, LSU was matched up against USC who beat #6 national seed Florida St. 6-4, and won handily 10-4 keeping LSU in the winners bracket. LSU was in the drivers seat and had to be beat twice in the bracket final in order to not move onto the championship game. Florida St. was able to beat USC 3-2 in an elimination game to move on to play LSU. In a close game, LSU won 6-3 and moved on to the championship game to face Stanford.
On a gloomy June 17th, LSU and Stanford squared off for the chance to be crowned 2000 NCAA College Baseball Champions. The Cardinal jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the game. LSU rallied to score 3 runs in the eight inning off of two home runs, setting up for a dramatic 9th inning. Trey Hodges was able to get through the 9th inning without allowing a run, giving him 4 scoreless innings on the day. In the bottom of the 9th, LSU lead the inning off with a single and a walk bringing
Brad Cresseto the plate. Creese who was 1-12 in the CWS prior to this a bat, hit a linedrive single into left field scoring Ryan Theriotfrom second to give LSU it's 5th CWS title in 10 years. LSU had 5 players named to the All Tournament team, Blair Barbier, Mike Fontenot, Brad Hawpe, Trey Hodges, and Ryan Theriot. Hodges was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after finishing the CWS with a 2-0 record and recording a save.
LSU finished the 2000 postseason with a 9-0 record and moved to 5-0 all time in College World Series Championship games. [ [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/baseball/college/2000/college_world_series/news/2000/06/17/stanford_lsu_ap/ Roaring Back] ]
Retirement and Legacy
Skip Bertman led the Tigers to a 44-22-1 mark during his final season as head coach in 2001. In all, Bertman won 870 games while leading LSU to 7 SEC titles and 11 CWS appearances. His teams averaged 48 wins per year and only failed to make the postseason twice during his 18 year career.
His jersey, number 15, is one of 4 baseball jerseys retired by LSU. LSU also renamed a part of South Stadium Drive, between Nicholson and River Road, Skip Bertman Drive in his honor.
In a "Baseball America" poll published in
1999, Bertman was voted the second greatest college baseball coach of the 20th century, trailing Rod Dedeauxof Southern California.
In June 2002, Bertman was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January 2003, and, in 2006, Skip Bertman was inducted into the inaugural class of the
College Baseball Hall of Famein Lubbock, TX.
After the end of the 2001 season, Bertman took over as
Athletics Directorfor LSU. During his tenure as Athletics Director, LSU won 6 national championships and 2 football BCS National Titles. Bertman served as AD until June 2008, and will serve as Athletic Director Emeritus until June 2010.
Post Skip Bertman
In anticipation of Skip Bertman's retirement, Laval was brought on as an administrative assistant for the LSU baseball team in 2001. Raymond "Smoke" Laval would later become Skip Bertman's hand picked successor to lead the LSU Baseball team. Laval was returning to LSU where he served as an assistant coach under Bertman from 1984-1993. In 1993, Laval left LSU for his first head coaching job at the
University of Louisiana-Monroe. While at ULM, Laval posted a record of 241-159, a winning pecentage of .603, and led the Indians (Now Warhawks) to 3 NCAA regional appearances.
The Smoke Laval Era
Everyone knew the expectations were lofty for Laval when he accepted the job as head coach at LSU. Replacing a legend is never easy, but Laval appeared to be up for the challenge. In his first year, Laval led the Tigers to a 44-22 record overall. The Tigers hosted a regional in Baton Rouge, which they won, and moved on to the Houston Super-Regional to face Rice, where their season ended. His first year at the helm raised expectations even more after he experienced great success.
In 2003 and 2004, Laval would lead the Tigers to 45-22-1 and 46-19 overall record respectively. LSU would earn the #2 national seed in the 2003 tournament, and would host a super regional both years, meaning the road to Omaha went through Baton Rouge. LSU was able to get Omaha both years, but disappointed both years posting an 0-2 each year. The Tigers were not used to losing in Omaha, so questions about Laval's leadership and ability to continue the success of program began to arise. Laval would have to prove himself the following year.
In 2005, LSU struggled during the regular season despite the fact they finished with a 40-22 record overall. The Tigers lost 12 Southeastern Conference games, as well as, losing to Southern for only the second time in 41 tries. Rice would go on to defeat the Tigers in the Baton Rouge Regional Finals. The 2006 season would put even more pressure on Laval, and would eventually be his last.
In his last year, LSU would post a 35-24 mark overall, their worst since 1988, and would miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 18 years. Laval officially resigned on June 4, 2006.
The Paul Mainieri Era
June 28, 2006, Paul Mainieri was named the twenty-fifth head coach of LSU Baseball. Mainieri was finally back in Baton Rouge where he began his baseball career 30 years earlier earning a letter in baseball as a freshman at LSU in 1976. Mainieri finished his collegiate career at The University of New Orleans. Prior to his arrival at LSU, Mainieri coached St. Thomas Universityin Florida, Air Force, and Notre Dame, forging each into winning programs. Mainieri left Notre Dame to coach LSU, where he has stated he will remain until he retires.
In his first season at LSU, the Tigers posted a mark of 29-26-1. The season was full of ups and downs, with the Tigers winning four SEC series against Top 25 opponents, but struggling in non-conference play. After the season, Mainieri realized changes had to be made and informed certain players that they should consider other options [cite web |url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/theadvocate/access/1275968621.html?dids=1275968621:1275968621&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=May+23%2C+2007&author=CARL+DUBOIS&pub=Advocate&edition=&startpage=1&desc=Mainieri%27s+roster+cuts+surprise+players |title=Cuts Surprise Some] , as well as making some changes to his current staff. [cite web |url=http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=27865&SPID=2173&DB_OEM_ID=5200&ATCLID=1065541 |title=Baseball Staff Changes] Mainieri was able to put together a tremendous recruiting class following the
2007season, which was later ranked #1 by "Baseball News". [cite web |url=http://www.baseballnews.com/recruiting/recruiting_results.htm |title=2007 Recruiting Class]
In his second year, LSU was predicted to finish fifth in the SEC Western division by the SEC baseball coaches before the year started. [cite web | url=http://secsports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=5&url_article_id=10443&change_well_id=2 | title=Coaches Pick Vandy to Win Baseball Championship] . Following an amazing turnaround, Coach Mainieri led LSU to the SEC Western Division championship [cite web | url=http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=27865&SPID=2173&ATCLID=1471362&DB_OEM_ID=5200 | title=The West is Won!] with a conference record of 18-11-1, and the #2 seed in the 2008
SEC Baseball Tournament. [cite web | url=http://secsports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=5&url_article_id=11121&url_subchannel_id=&change_well_id=2 | title=2008 SEC Baseball Tournament Bracket Announced] The Tigers finished the regular season record at 39-16-1. [cite web | url=http://www.lsusports.net/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5200&KEY=&SPID=2173&SPSID=27866 | title=2008 Schedule/Results] The team won the 2008 SEC Tournament (held May 20-25 in Hoover, Alabama). With the win, LSU won 20 consecutive games, breaking the previous school record of 19 consecutive wins during the 1997season and tying the SEC's second-longest streak of wins. [cite web |url=http://www.thestate.com/sports/story/415795.html |title=LSU roars to school record, SEC title|accessdate=2008-06-18 |date=2008-05-26] Fourteen of those wins were come-from-behind wins, while the last fifteen were made wearing the distinctive gold jerseys.
By winning the SEC Tournament, LSU earned a 7th national seed in the NCAA tournament and extended the life of the old
Alex Box Stadiumas Baton Rouge hosted a regional bracket of the NCAA tournament. LSU swept the series, defeating Texas Southern (12-1) and Southern Miss (twice, 13-4 and 11-4) to win the regional bracket. With the sweep of the Regional series, LSU extended their winning streak to a SEC-record 23 straight games. [cite news |url=http://www.thestate.com/sports/story/422830.html |title=Baseball: LSU's confidence grows with win streak |accessdate=2008-06-18 | date=2008-06-03]
As a result of the Regional, LSU and
Baton Rougeearned a spot in the Super-Regional series, hosting UC-Irvinein the last three games to be played in the old Alex Box Stadium. LSU lost the first game, 11-5, ending their streak of wins at 23. [cite web | url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/19637194.html | title=Hidden-ball controversy ends Tiger rally | date=2008-06-08] [cite web | url=http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=27865&SPID=2173&DB_OEM_ID=5200&ATCLID=1478645 | title=UC Irvine Takes Game 1 of NCAA Super Regional, 11-5 |accessdate=2008-06-18 | date=2008-06-07] LSU recovered in the second game of the series, scoring six runs in the top of the ninth inning to force a third game with a dramatic come-from-behind win, 9-7. [cite news | url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/19650184.html | title=LSU unwraps win in Box | date=2008-06-09] On Monday, June 9, 2008, in the final game to be played at the Alex Box Stadium, with a record-setting crowd of 8,173 watching, LSU dominated UC-Irvine with a 21-7 win to move to the 2008 College World Series. [cite news | url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/19704199.html | title=Emotions run high in victory | date=2008-06-10] [cite news | url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/columnists/dubois/19703479.html | title=Dubois: Box's finish a true blast | date=2008-06-10]
In the 2008 College World Series, #7 LSU faced the #2
North Carolina Tarheelsin the first round, losing 8-4. [cite web | url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/19966429.html | title=Veteran ump Cox makes controversial call | accessdate=2008-06-16 |date=2008-06-16] The Tigers, facing elimination in a game against the Rice Owls, won in dramatic fashion, 6-5, continuing their string of come-from-behind victories. [cite web |url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/featured/20223609.html |title=Another LSU thriller |accessdate=2008-06-18 |date=2008-06-18] On June 20, 2008after a rain delay of nearly 24 hours, UNC and LSU resumed their elimination game matchup, resulting in a 7-3 loss for LSU. The team was defeated after giving up the only grand slam in the 2008 CWS in the top of the ninth inning. During the 2008 regular and post-regulation baseball season, LSU's games have continuously featured both dramatic victories and controversial calls. [cite web |url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/19966429.html |title=Veteran ump Cox makes controversial call |accessdate=2008-06-16 |date=2008-06-16] [cite web |url=http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/featured/20223609.html |title=Another LSU thriller |accessdate=2008-06-18 |date=2008-06-18]
Alex Box Stadium
Alex Box Stadium is a
baseball stadiumin Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is the home field of the Louisiana State University Tigers college baseball team. It is most notable for "The Intimidator", a large billboard behind the right-field fence featuring the five years in which LSU has won the College World Series. The park is also notable for giving up many home runs due to the high humidity of Louisiana, the prevailing winds out of the south which push balls hit to left field out of the park, and the short fences (the dimensions are believed to be anywhere from 7-10 feet shorter than what is posted on the fences). [ [http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5200&KEY=&ATCLID=177194] LSU Baseball Facilities]
The stadium was named for Simeon Alex Box, an LSU letterman (1938) who was killed in North Africa during
World War II.
A new Alex Box Stadium is currently under construction. It will be primarily used for
baseballand will be the new home of the LSU Tigers baseballteam. It will replace the current Alex Box Stadium. The ballpark will have a capacity of 8,822 people and open in 2009. [ [http://www.lsusports.net/pdf3/114443.pdf?ATCLID=1404671&SPSID=27865&SPID=2173&DB_OEM_ID=5200] Seating Information Guide, FAQ's, and Important Deadlines]
*"Records are through the end of the 2008 Season"
1996 LSU Tigers baseball team
2008 LSU Tigers baseball team
2009 LSU Tigers baseball team
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