LSU's stay over at CWS

OMAHA, Neb. -- When the LSU Tigers qualified for the their first College World Series appearance in three years, many felt the season of destiny would end in a dramatic run to the program's sixth national title.<br><br>A season dedicated to fallen team captain Wally Pontiff, many felt supernatural forces would propel the Tigers to a glorious finale.

No one could have imagined these Tigers would record the school's second ever two-and-out showing in the College World Series. But Sunday afternoon, that is exactly what transpired at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Looking like a team running on fumes, LSU (45-22-1) finally ran out of gas when South Carolina rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to eliminate the Tigers from the NCAA Tournament, 11-10, in their elimination game.

LSU fans sat stunned as the Gamecocks (45-21) celebrated the come-from-behind victory. A stadium packed with Tiger supporters were visibly disappointed after Smoke Laval's team went down in defeat. A favorite of the local College World Series fans, the Nebraska/LSU following left dejected as their favorite team had to pack their bags earlier than they wanted.

"It was a pretty emotional trip for us," junior shortstop Aaron Hill said. "The outcome wasn't exactly what we wanted. It is not satisfying just to make it here. This was a business trip. We came here to win, but that didn't happen."

A one-run loss was not exactly what was expected after the first inning. Battling a blistered middle finger on his throwing hand, LSU starter Bo Pettit gave up six runs on six hits after recording just two outs in the first inning.

"I am really frustrated with it," Pettit said. "It was not the way I wanted to go out. To get two out and not the third one…it's tough."

However, LSU did not go away.

Sophomore first baseman Clay Harris riled up the crowd when he took Steve Bondurant's first offering over the left field wall. Jon Zeringue singled two batters later and LSU closed the gap to 6-3 when designated hitter Quinn Stewart blasted a two-run homer into the left field bleachers.

South Carolina's Justin Harris lifted a solo home run in the bottom of the second making the score 7-3. LSU redshirt freshman hurler Jason Determann escaped a huge jam later that inning when Blake Gill fielded a ground ball and Hill turned an inning-ending double play.

Ryan Patterson led off the LSU third with a single to centerfield. Hill followed with another single and Harris drew a walk. A sac fly by Gill scored Patterson and Zeringue was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Stewart received a bases loaded walk scoring Hill, but the Gamecocks got out of the inning when Ivan Naccarata popped out ending the inning.

"My hat goes off to our hitters and how they got us back into the game," Pettit said.

Things got worse for South Carolina when the Tigers plated four runs in the fourth frame. J.C. Holt singled up the middle to open the inning. Patterson followed up with a double to center scoring Holt. Hill moved Patterson over with a sac bunt and he scored when Harris singled through the left side. Gill then singled up the middle and Harris scored on an RBI base hit by Zeringue. Stewart popped out to center scoring Gill.

By the time the dust had settled, the Tigers, who had once been down 6-0, held a 9-7 advantage.

"They put up six runs in the first, but we are one of the top eight teams in the country and we were confident we could come back and we did," Hill said.

LSU added another run in the fifth when catcher Matt Liuzza doubled down the right field line and scored when Hill reached on an error two batters later.

South Carolina looked down for the count as LSU had not only taken the lead but took the wind out of the Cocks' sails, seizing a 10-7 advantage.

The sixth and seventh innings went quietly before South Carolina began their final move to ensure its victory. Determann was near flawless after coming in the game in the first. But when Kevin Melillo launched a solo bomb in the bottom of the seventh, an uneasy feeling grew among the Tiger faithful.

Determann struggled to open the eighth giving up a base hit to Steve Tolleson then issuing a walk to Jon Coutlangus. Harris moved the runners to second and third with a sac bunt prompting Laval to bring on reliever Billy Sadler.

Sadler was rocked from the onset as Brian Buscher laced a single through the right side scoring Tolleson. Coutlangus went on to score when Zeringue misplayed the ball leaving Busher at first.

Taking advantage of a perfect hit-and-run situation, Landon Powell doubled to left and Buscher came across for the go-ahead-run scoring from first.

Looking like deer in the headlights, LSU went quietly in the ninth with Zeringue and Stewart grounding out and Naccarata ending the game going down on strikes.

"We came up here to try and win a couple of games and you want to win them all," Laval said. "We are disappointed."

In the end, LSU did not perform like a Tiger team is expected to at the College World Series. But with a team returning virtually every starter on the team except Hill, many expect this team to be back in the CWS next season.

"I feel good about this team's chances next year," Hill said. "I am looking forward to seeing them here next year."

And was this a good experience for this team serving as a building block for the future?

"We won't know until we come back," Laval said.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories