OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Bregman’s LSU career wasn’t supposed to end like this.
He stood in the on-deck circle Thursday as he watched Jared Foster strike out to seal LSU’s 8-4 loss to TCU. He might’ve had a chance to tie it had he made it into the batter’s box once more.
But he watched, helpless, as the season came to an end.
He arrived at LSU with one goal, and one goal only — to win a national championship. He had an opportunity in 2013, but the Tigers went two-and-out, with one heartbreaking loss in particular coming after his costly error.
He brought the team back two years later. A group of Tigers that won an SEC title and spent most of the year ranked No. 1 in the country. He was a key cog in one of the nation’s best offenses, and with a veteran lineup, this seemed to be the year it may actually happen.
It was not to be though. Paul Mainieri mentioned Bregman in his opening statement of the postgame press conference. After expressing the pain in seeing this team come up short, he made special note of just how hard it was to see Bregman not achieve the thing he cherished most dearly.
“I just don't even want to think about life without Alex Bregman,” Mainieri said. “We thought we'd win at least one national championship together.”
It’s difficult to imagine not seeing No. 8 at shortstop every time the Tigers take the field. He occupied that spot from the moment he stepped foot on campus almost three years ago.
He won’t be easy to replace. There’s a group of younger guys and incoming newcomers with a chance to do it, but they’ll never fill his shoes.
Bregman will leave LSU as one of the more decorated players in LSU history and is still a finalist for the highest honor in college baseball. He’ll soon sign a contract worth millions after being selected as the No. 2 overall player in the MLB Draft.
None of that means anything to him right now though, the pain evident as he nervously gnawed on the cup of water given to him on the postgame podium.
He left a parting message to the next generation though — a call to action for them to do what he couldn’t.
“The road to Omaha starts with the guys that are coming back next year,” he said. “They’re going to fight their way back here. They’re going to dream about winning a national championship.”
Bregman did too. His just never came true.
Alex Bregman's career ends without a title
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