‘It’s very painful right now’ LSU baseball’s season comes to an end with loss in Regional Championship

'It's very painful right now' LSU baseball's season comes to an end with loss in Regional Championship

After a regional for the ages, LSU baseball’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion, losing to Southern Miss 8-7 in the Regional Championship.

“It was a great college baseball game. Congratulations to coach Berry and their program. They have an elite pitching staff and we just couldn’t hang with them in that regard,” LSU Head Coach Jay Johnson said. “It’s very painful right now, so I don’t know what to say.”

In what was another back-and-forth, thrilling contest, it seemed like LSU just didn’t have enough magic left to complete another comeback win. Like in previous games this past weekend, LSU got a lead early, but lost it during the middle innings and faced a sizable deficit. The Tigers trailed 7-4 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but they rallied scoring two runs in the frame and another one in the eighth to tie the game at seven heading into the ninth. 

“That’s all we did in this tournament – show fight. I’m proud of our team for that. It’s a simple game honestly. They’re infinitely better on the mound than we are,” said Johnson.

Pitching was an issue for LSU all weekend, and it once again hurt the Tigers when it mattered most. Johnson used seven different pitchers in this game, but down the stretch LSU struggled to throw strikes and get the key outs. Those struggles are what delivered the final punch to LSU in the top of the ninth inning when consecutive hits led to Southern Miss scoring the eventual winning run on a sacrifice fly.

Pitching and defense were issues that plagued LSU at many points during the season, making it almost fitting that those issues are what cost the Tigers in the end. Though those weaknesses were apparent throughout the weekend, one thing that was also evident was the fight within the team.

From a 10-run eighth inning against Kennesaw State, to a bottom of the ninth rally in game one against Southern Miss, this team showed again and again that it would not go down without a fight. Even the rally that came up short in the championship game brought the Tigers to the doorstep, capped off by a home run off the bat of fifth-year senior Gavin Dugas. The player who wore the prestigious No. 8 jersey and was a driving force of the program for multiple seasons now once again represented the fight within this team, but it just was not enough.

“This is the worst time of the year watching your season come to an end,” Dugas said.  “I’m proud of what we did with this team with what we had. I know that I’m going to have those guys’ back for the rest of my life. I wish we could have went further and I truly believe that we could have. I’m just proud of this team, proud of how we played today.” 

This now brings year one of the Jay Johnson era to a close. Going from 12 SEC wins to 17 SEC wins was the biggest improvement, and leads many to believe the program is headed in the right direction despite the heartbreaking end to the season. LSU now heads into the offseason with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country coming into next season, with a host of players from this year’s team returning. Top producers like Dylan Crews, Tre’ Morgan, Josh Pearson and Brayden Jobert will all return to the lineup next season along with many of LSU’s top arms.

That gives Johnson and LSU a good start on the development and revamp of the team for next year that will undoubtedly start on the mound. The return of Javen Coleman, Blake Money and Sam Dutton among others gives the Tigers some young starters to work with. That development will be crucial as pitching is what in the end takes teams from making a regional to getting to Omaha. This season, LSU faltered in that department and that was the difference between the Tigers and Golden Eagles this weekend.

“We’ve got to pitch better, end of story,” Johnson said. “That’s the story of this tournament, that’s the story of the SEC Tournament, that’s the story of the last regular season game at Vanderbilt. There’s nothing about competitiveness, there’s nothing about heart. These guys don’t need more motivation.”


About Marc Lemoine 4957 Articles
Marc is an Economist and a well experienced weightlifter who has won many championships. He intends to build a bright career in the media industry as well. He is a sports freak who loves to cover the latest news on sports, finance and economy.

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