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NATIONAL CHAMPS! LSU Defeats Florida for a 7th CWS Title

LSU captured its seventh NCAA baseball championship, and its first since 2009, as the Tigers posted an 18-4 win over Florida Monday night at Charles Schwab Field.

by Kirby Koch and Todd Politz
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NATIONAL CHAMPS! LSU Defeats Florida for a 7th CWS Title

A National Championship Celebration presented by Hancock Whitney will take place at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field on Wednesday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m. CT.
The team will return to Baton Rouge on Tuesday and arrive at Alex Box Stadium at approximately 1:30 p.m. CT.

OMAHA, Neb. — LSU returned to the pinnacle of college baseball on Monday, defeating SEC rival Florida, 18-4, to win its seventh national championship and the 2023 College World Series.

Led by second-year head coach Jay Johnson – who became the first coach to win a title prior to his third season at an institution – LSU (54-17) overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit by scoring six in the second and four in the fourth inning to take a commanding 10-2 lead.

LSU start Thatcher Hurd (8-3) earned his second win in the series, throwing six innings and allowing only two runs on two hits – the first two batters he faced – while striking out seven.

Offensively, the Tigers amassed 24 hits, the most in any CWS game. Eleven Tigers recorded at least one hit in the contest.

The Tigers captured five national titles (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000) under legendary head coach Skip Bertman, and added a sixth when third-year head coach Paul Mainieri won the championship series in 2009 over Texas.

“I really believe this will go down in one of the best teams in college baseball history,” Johnson said. “So consistent in the regular season. I think the SEC Tournament is the only week of the year we had a losing record, if you think about that.

“Eleven wins in the (NCAA) postseason, six of them against SEC teams. And I really believe we played and beat every team, the best team that we could have played along the way throughout the entire tournament. So I love these guys. I’m so proud of them. And they are a very worthy champion.”

Centerfielder Dylan Crews, third baseman Tommy White and rightfielder Brayden Jobert each collected four hits.

White, Jobert and shortstop Jordan Thompson each delivered three RBI, and Jobert and leftfielder Josh Pearson each launched two-run homers in the offensive barrage.

Florida starting pitcher Jac Caglianone (7-4) was charged with the loss, as he allowed six runs on two hits in 1.1 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.

After a 3-2 loss to No. 1 seed Wake Forest last Monday, Johnson’s Tigers came through the loser’s bracket by eliminating Tennessee before earning consecutive win over the Demon Deacons to setup a best-of-three championship series against No. 2-seeded Florida. LSU won game 1 of the series, 4-3 in 11 innings, before Florida drew even with a 24-4 victory Sunday.

LSU, which avenged a 2017 CWS championship series sweep by the Gators, was led throughout the 2023 season by Golden Spikes Award winning centerfielder Dylan Crews and Dick Howser Award-winning and CWS Most Outstanding Player righthand pitcher Paul Skenes. This duo which many project to be the top 2 selections in the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft put forth spectacular performances in the College World Series, as expected.

What many prognosticators didn’t see coming were performances from Skenes and Crews supporting cast, including lefthanded pitcher Riley Cooper, who earned a win in relief and three saves for the Tigers.

Saturday’s LSU starting pitcher Ty Floyd, who set a program postseason record with 17 strikeouts in eight innings of series game 1 extra-inning win over Florida, also stepped up on the game’s brightest stage.

In Monday’s finale, Hurd put his slow start to his first season in Baton Rouge in the rearview mirror with a stellar performance worthy of LSU Baseball championship lore, allowing only two walks and a hit batter to the final 21 batters he faced.

Five different LSU pitchers earned victories in the 2023 CWS, including Skenes, Cooper, Hurd (two wins), first-time starter Nate Ackenhausen and freshman Griffin Herring.

The Tigers won 11 of 13 games in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, sweeping Regional and Super Regional opponents at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

A championship celebration will be held Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CT at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. Details will be announced shortly.

Championship Swag

Florida’s center fielder Wyatt Langford opened the scoring in the championship game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. LSU responded in the top half of the second, striking for six runs.

The busy rally started with a walk by second baseman Gavin Dugas, who reached second base on a wild pitch and scored on a single by shortstop Jordan Thompson. The Tigers loaded the bases following a fielder’s choice and walk by catcher Alex Milazzo. Designated hitter Cade Beloso wore his second pitch of the game and LSU tied it at two.

Golden Spikes Award winning centerfielder Dylan Crews gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead after coaxing a walk. LSU scored three more times on the strength of two RBI singles from third baseman Tommy White and Dugas with first baseman Tre’ Morgan lifting a ball to the outfield for a sac fly. The Tigers led 6-2 after two innings.

The offensive onslaught continued in the fourth inning, anchored by left fielder Josh Pearson’s two-run bomb. The frame featured Thompson’s second hit and RBI of the game and a Beloso RBI single that allowed Milazzo to score from first base. It made the score 10-2.

LSU tacked on its 11th run in the seventh inning with a bases-loaded walk from Hayden Travinski. Florida rightfielder Ty Evans launched his ninth home run of the season and his fifth of the College World Series. Cooper escaped the inning with LSU leading 11-3.

In the top of the eighth, the Tigers struck for three runs to make it 14-3. UF’s Cade Kurland hit his 17th homer in the bottom half to make if 14-4.

The Tigers again answered the Gators’ score with more runs in the top of the ninth, as Crews singled before White and Morgan hit RBI doubles. Brayden Jobert then capped his 4-for-7 performance with a two-run home run for an 18-4 LSU advantage.

Following a ninth-inning strikeout by freshman reliever Gavin Guidry, the championship gold-clap Tigers dogpiled left of the pitcher’s mound. Skenes, who wasn’t called upon to pitch in the best-of-three championship series, carried injured catcher Alex Milazzo on his back from the dugout to the dogpile.

Championship Celebration

The LSU Baseball team will commemorate its 2023 National Championship on Wednesday, June 28, with a celebration at Alex Box Stadium – Skip Bertman Field.

The celebration will start at 7:30 p.m. CT with gates opening at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is free and all non-premium areas (Champions Club & Suites) will be general admission. Food and beverages will be available for purchase inside the stadium.

In addition, LSU’s National Championship gear and merchandise will be available for purchase at Alex Box.

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Postgame Press Conference

All-Tournament Team

RHP – Paul Skenes, LSU (Most Outstanding Player)
C – BT Riopelle, Florida
1B – Tre’ Morgan, LSU
2B – Gavin Dugas, LSU
3B – Tommy White, LSU
SS – Josh Rivera, Florida
OF – Dylan Crews, LSU
OF – Ty Evans, Florida
OF – Wyatt Langford, Florida
DH – Cade Beloso, LSU
RHP – Ty Floyd, LSU

Box Score

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