BATON ROUGE, LA From NOLA .com (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING: SPORTS 1am 6-10-08 The LSU baseball Tigers proved their worth in a big way, scoring early, and scoring often, with their 21-7 rout of University of California Irvine. With a 2-1 series victory, the Tigers are now Omaha bound, for the College World Series.
Oh, by the way, Monday night's game was the last one ever to be played at historic Alex Box Stadium. The crowd seemed to electrified with the Tigers win.
Now comes the BIG QUESTION: Are the LSU Tigers a team of destiny tobe the 2008 College World Series Champions?
As Mary Foster of the Associated Press wrote, shortly after the Tigers victory: Blake Dean went 5-for-5 and drove in 3 runs and Ryan Schimpf went 4-for-5 and drove in five as LSU beat UC Irvine 21-7 Monday night in the 2008 NCAA super regional to earn a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
After losing the first super regional game to snap a 23-game nation's best winning streak, LSU won the next two in the best of three series.
Dean and Schimpf were part of a 24-hit, 7-home run attack for the Tigers.
LSU scored in all but two innings and did not need to take the field in the ninth. The Tigers had six runs in the first inning on five hits and seven runs in the fifth on five hits.
Anteaters' starting pitcher Bryce Stowell (8-3) left the game with two outs and one on in the first inning. By that time he had faced nine batters, walked one, allowed one to advance on a wild pitch, given up three home runs and LSU was up 6-0.
LSU third baseman Michael Hollander led off the bottom of the first with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and went to third on Jared Mitchell's single. Then Stowell tried to pick Mitchell off, but the first base umpire ruled that he balked, sending Mitchell to second and Hollander home to put the Tigers up 1-0.
Then LSU went to the long ball.
Dean blasted a 2-run homer, and Matt Clark and Micah Gibbs batting in the next two spots each knocked one out -- all clearing the left field wall.
The Tigers sent 11 men to the plate in the fifth inning -- the second time in the game LSU batted around, scoring 7 runs on 5 hits. The Anteaters' struggling pitchers also walked two and hit a batter.
Schimpf drove in three of the seven runs in the inning with two hits, beginning with a leadoff home run.
Buzzy Haydell knocked one out for LSU in the eighth to make it 20-7.
UC Irvine used seven pitchers in an unsuccessful effort to slow down the LSU bats.
The Tigers (48-17-1), who saw their 23-game winning streak come to an end with Saturday's loss to the Anteaters, appeared baffled by UC Irvine's pitching until a ninth-inning rally on Sunday.
Johnny Dishon and Schimpf both homered in the seventh for LSU. Schimpf had a two-run homer.
Eric Deragisch homered for UC Irvine (42-18) in the top of the third. Dillon Bell added another home run for the Anteaters in the seventh inning. UC Irvine picked up two more runs in the eighth.
Left-hander Blake Martin started for the Tigers, giving up five hits and two runs. He left in the fifth, with two out and runners at second and third. Jordan Brown (5-0) came in to get the final out and the victory since Martin only went 4 2/3 innings.
The best-of-three series between LSU and UC Irvine was the last event at Alex Box Stadium, a 70-year-old ballpark that closed for good at the end of the super regional, the fourth one held there. The actual attendance for the game was 8,173 -- the largest in stadium history.
UC Irvine was trying to get to the College World Series for a second consecutive season. This will be LSU's 14th trip to Omaha, the last in 2004. The last of the Tigers' five national championships was in 2000