June 16, 2008
LSU held in check for second loss in past
By Ben Trittipoe
OMAHA, Neb. – The LSU
baseball team entered the 2008 College World Series as the
hottest team in the nation.
The Tigers had won 25 of their
last 26 games prior to arriving at Rosenblatt Stadium, including
23 in a row before an opening-game loss to UC Irvine in the
Baton Rouge Super Regional June 7. Over that 26-game stretch,
LSU had batted .332 with 51 home runs, 227 runs batted in and
That offensive juggernaut ran
into an unmovable force Sunday in Game 4 of the CWS. Sophomore
Alex White and the rest of the North Carolina pitching staff
slowed down the Tigers enough, limiting them to eight hits en
route to an 8-4 victory.
The UNC pitching staff came into
the CWS leading the nation in earned run average (2.83),
strikeouts (640) and opponent batting average (.227). White, the
Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, pitched seven
solid innings Sunday against the Tigers, allowing two solo home
runs along with just two other hits to slow down LSU’s possible
march to a sixth national championship.
“Their kid [White] was really
good, really outstanding,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said.
“He set the tone for the game and we dug ourselves too deep of a
hole to dig out.”
White allowed a leadoff home run
to LSU’s Michael Hollander (left, photo courtesy of LSU Media
Relations Office), but he retired the next three
batters. North Carolina came back with three runs in the bottom
of the first inning before Tiger Matt Clark blasted another solo
homer, his 27th of the year to take over the national lead, but
that was as close as LSU would get.
The Tar Heels proceeded to knock
out 17 hits against six LSU pitchers and carried an 8-2 lead
into the eighth inning. The Tigers rallied against the UNC
bullpen to score two runs and had the bases loaded in the
eighth, but Rob Wooten came on to get a double play and he got
out of a two-on, two-out jam in the ninth to give the Tar Heels
“It was a very frustrating game
for us,” Mainieri said. “There were a series of just really
tough breaks for us. I feel like they swung the bats well
against us, but we helped them some, too.”
Mainieri is sure, though, the
Tigers will be ready to face Rice in an elimination game
“This is an awesome tournament,”
Mainieri said. “There are eight great teams; everybody is good.
Someone has to lose, and we came up a little short today. The
teams that have lost have to pick themselves up and be ready for
Monday and Tuesday.
“Rice is a great ballclub, and we
have to get the job done or it’s over. You can’t win the
tournament in one game; you have to take it one game at a time.
We have one game under our belt now, and I feel the kids will
come out and play well on Tuesday.”