|For current information on this topic, see 2010 LSU Tigers baseball team.|
|University||Louisiana State University|
|Location||Baton Rouge, LA|
|Head Coach||Paul Mainieri (3rd year)|
|Home Stadium||Alex Box Stadium
|Colors||Purple and Gold
|1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2009|
|1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances|
|1975, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009|
|Conference Tournament Champions|
|1986, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2008, 2009|
|1939, 1943, 1946, 1961, 1975, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2009|
Along with the other LSU athletic teams, the baseball team participates in the West division of the Southeastern Conference. Since 1986, LSU Baseball has been considered an elite program in college baseball, making 15 College World Series appearances and winning 6 national championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2009).
The first thirty years of LSU baseball saw its fair share of successes and failures, but the one thing the team lacked was a consistent leader. The 1895 squad played a total of four games going 0-3-1, which is not surprising considering the team did not have a head coach. During that time span, LSU had a total of 15 coaches with no coach staying longer than two seasons except C.C. Stroud who remained head coach for 8 seasons. C.C Stroud coached LSU from 1914-1921 with an overall record of 73-58-5, a winning percentage of .595. His teams won at least 10 games during 4 of his 8 seasons as head coach of LSU.
The 1927 season would bring significant change to the LSU baseball program. Harry Rabenhorst took over the program that year, and would go on to be the longest tenured coach in LSU's history. During the 1930s, Alex Box also played for LSU who would later name their stadium after the courageous soldier who lost his life during WWII.
Harry Rabenhorst began what would become a very long and successful career at LSU in 1925 as the head coach of the men's basketball team. Two years later, in 1927, he also become the head baseball coach. Along with his successes in basketball, which included a 1935 mythical national championship and an appearance in the 1953 Final Four, he also won two SEC baseball titles (1939 & 1946). As a reward for his team's success on the baseball diamond, Rabenhorst was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1939 and 1946, as well. Rabenhorst coached the baseball team from 1927 until 1942 when he left to serve in World War II. Upon his return, he again coached the baseball team from 1946 until 1956. He finished his baseball coaching career with a record of 220-226-3. Rabenhorst's legacy at LSU lived on when he became the Athletic Director in 1967.
J. Stanley "Skip" Bertman had been around baseball all his life, and played collegiate ball at the University of Miami from 1958-1960 as a catcher and outfielder. After graduating with B.A. in health and physical education from Miami, Bertman went to grad school to obtain a master's degree which he completed in 1964. The next year, Bertman began his coaching career at Miami Beach High School where he remained head coach for 11 seasons. Bertman's teams won the state title once and finished runner-up two other times during his tenure as head coach. In 1976, Bertman left Miami Beach High school to join the coaching staff at his Alma Mater as an assistant coach under legendary coach Ron Fraser. In 1982, Bertman helped the Miami Hurricanes claim their first national title, and would leave after the 1983 season to become the twenty-third Head Coach of LSU.
Bertman turned the LSU baseball program around quickly, leading the Tigers to postseason play in his second year for the first time in a decade. During his third year, LSU made their first appearance in the College World Series, and the Tigers would become a regular in Omaha making 11 appearances during Bertman's 18 year career. LSU made it back to Omaha during the 1987 season, but failed to make the NCAA Division I baseball tournament in 1988 despite finishing the year with a record of 39-21.
Bertman would use the 1989 season to catapult LSU baseball into a dynasty in the 1990s. Bertman's 1989 team made it back to the postseason which started a string of 17 consecutive postseason appearances that would finally be snapped in 2006. The 1989 team was able to make it back to Omaha after beating Texas A&M in the 1989 regional. After making it back to Omaha in 1990, LSU failed to make the championship game again, but would finally break through in 1991.
The Tigers entered the NCAA tournament on a 2-game losing streak that included losses to Florida and Kentucky and were eliminated from the 1996 SEC Baseball Tournament. However, based on their regular season performance, LSU was selected as one of the eight regional host sites for the NCAA tournament. The Tigers defeated Austin Peay, UNLV and UNO before finally facing Georgia Tech for the chance to go to the College World Series. LSU defeated Georgia Tech by a score of 29-13 and broke multiple NCAA records, two of which still stand today: 13 hits in an inning and 8 doubles in an inning.
The Tigers entered the College World Series now on a four game winning streak. They defeated their first opponent, Wichita State, by a score of 9-8. LSU then faced the same Florida team that beat them 3 times in the regular season and once in the SEC Tournament. It seemed that Florida had their number, however, the Tigers won by a score of 9-4. Florida rebounded, however, and came back through the losers bracket to face LSU again. This time the Tigers won it 2-1 to move onto the championship game to face Miami (FL).
In what is called one of the most memorable games in College World Series history, LSU defeated Miami (FL) by a score of 9-8. In the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs and a runner on third base LSU only needed a base hit or a wild pitch to tie the game. An unlikely hero emerged from the LSU dugout in Warren Morris, who had been hurt most of the year. He stepped to the plate and faced pitcher Robbie Morrison. Morris swung on Morrison's first pitch and lined the ball just barely over the right field fence for a 2 out, game winning walk off home run. This was his first home run of the season.
LSU came into the 1997 season looking to become the first team to win consecutive CWS championships since Stanford won two consecutive championships in 1987 and 1988. The Tigers began the season with 19 consecutive victories, giving them 27 straight dating back to the 1996 regional.
The Tigers' powerful lineup was led by shortstop Brandon Larson, a junior college transfer who set the LSU and SEC single-season record for home runs with 40, one short of the national leader, Rice's Lance Berkman. LSU finished the season with 188 home runs, shattering the old record of 161 set by Brigham Young in 1988.
LSU's season nearly came unraveled in the next-to-last regular season game. The Tigers, fighting to hold on to their lead in the SEC, lost 28-2 to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the worst loss in the 104-year history of the program. The Tigers recovered the next day to win 6-4, giving LSU the title by one game over the Crimson Tide. Alabama got a measure of revenge in the SEC Tournament, winning the championship game 12-2.
In the South I Regional, LSU lost the winner's bracket final to South Alabama, forcing the Tigers to win three games in the space of 24 hours in order to return to Omaha. The Tigers survived a grueling five-hour marathon with Long Beach State, winning 14-7 in 11 innings, despite Bertman's ejection in the eighth inning for arguing a balk call. On a 95-degree Memorial Day, LSU defeated South Alabama 14-4 and 15-4 to advance to the CWS.
The Tigers received a scare from Rice, but Larson's monster home run in the bottom of the seventh propelled LSU to a 5-4 victory. It would be the only time the Tigers were challenged in Omaha, defeating Stanford 10-5 and 13-9 before ousting Alabama 13-6 in the championship game.
In 1998, LSU continued its torrid home run pace, hitting 161 round-trippers. Eddy Furniss won the Dick Howser Award as the nation's outstanding player, and finished as the LSU and SEC all-time leader in home runs (80), RBI (308), hits (352), doubles (87) and total bases (689). Brad Cresse and Trey McClure also earned All-America honors by hitting 29 and 27 home runs.
The Tigers steamrolled through the South II Regional to reach the CWS, looking to become the first team to win three consecutive championships since USC's dynasty. LSU hit eight home runs in its first game in Omaha, defeating the Trojans 12-10, then hit six more in a 10-8 victory over SEC rival Mississippi State. However, a dramatic wind shift hampered LSU in the final two games, and the Tigers lost 5-4 and 7-3 to USC, which went on to win the championship with a 21-14 victory over Arizona State.
After losing in the Super Regional round to Alabama in 1999, LSU failed to reach the College World Series for only the third time in a decade. LSU rolled through the 2000 regular season with a record of 39-17, and started the postseason 4-0 after sweeping through the SEC Tournament which earned the Tigers a #2 National seed in the 2000 Division I Baseball playoffs. LSU won the Baton Rouge regional in 3 games by a total score of 45-4, and waited for UCLA to come to Baton Rouge for the Super Regional round. LSU won the first two games 8-2 and 14-8 respectively, meaning the Tigers were heading back in Omaha looking to claim their fifth title in 10 years.
LSU began play in Omaha with a convincing win over Texas, 13-5. In game 2, LSU was matched up against USC who beat #6 national seed Florida St. 6-4, and won handily 10-4 keeping LSU in the winners bracket. LSU was in the drivers seat and had to be beat twice in the bracket final in order to not move onto the championship game. Florida St. was able to beat USC 3-2 in an elimination game to move on to play LSU. In a close game, LSU won 6-3 and moved on to the championship game to face Stanford.
On a gloomy June 17, LSU and Stanford squared off for the chance to be crowned 2000 NCAA College Baseball Champions. The Cardinal jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the game. LSU rallied to score 3 runs in the eight inning off of two home runs, setting up for a dramatic 9th inning. Trey Hodges was able to get through the 9th inning without allowing a run, giving him 4 scoreless innings on the day. In the bottom of the 9th, LSU lead the inning off with a single and a walk bringing Brad Cresse to the plate. Creese who was 1-12 in the CWS prior to this a bat, hit a linedrive single into left field scoring Ryan Theriot from second to give LSU its 5th CWS title in 10 years. LSU had 5 players named to the All Tournament team, Blair Barbier, Mike Fontenot, Brad Hawpe, Trey Hodges, and Ryan Theriot. Hodges was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after finishing the CWS with a 2-0 record and recording a save.
LSU finished the 2000 postseason with a 13-0 record and moved to 5-0 all time in College World Series Championship games.
Skip Bertman led the Tigers to a 44-22-1 mark during his final season as head coach in 2001. In all, Bertman won 870 games while leading LSU to 7 SEC titles and 11 CWS appearances. His teams averaged 48 wins per year and only failed to make the postseason twice during his 18 year career.
His jersey, number 15, is one of 4 baseball jerseys retired by LSU. LSU also renamed a part of South Stadium Drive, between Nicholson and River Road, Skip Bertman Drive in his honor.
In June 2002, Bertman was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January 2003, and, in 2006, Skip Bertman was inducted into the inaugural class of the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, TX.
After the end of the 2001 season, Bertman took over as Athletics Director for LSU. During his tenure as Athletics Director, LSU won 6 national championships and 2 football BCS National Titles. Bertman served as AD until June 2008, and will serve as Athletic Director Emeritus until June 2010.
In anticipation of Skip Bertman's retirement, Laval was brought on as an administrative assistant for the LSU baseball team in 2001. Raymond "Smoke" Laval would later become Skip Bertman's hand picked successor to lead the LSU Baseball team. Laval was returning to LSU where he served as an assistant coach under Bertman from 1984-1993. In 1993, Laval left LSU for his first head coaching job at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. While at ULM, Laval posted a record of 241-159, a winning pecentage of .603, and led the Indians (Now Warhawks) to 3 NCAA regional appearances.
The expectations were lofty for Laval when he accepted the job as head coach at LSU. In his first year, Laval led the Tigers to a 44-22 record overall. The Tigers hosted a regional in Baton Rouge, which they won, and moved on to the Houston Super-Regional to face Rice, where their season ended. His first year at the helm raised expectations even more after he experienced great success.
In 2003 and 2004, Laval would lead the Tigers to 45-22-1 and 46-19 overall record respectively. LSU would earn the #2 national seed in the 2003 tournament, and would host a super regional both years, meaning the road to Omaha went through Baton Rouge. LSU was able to get Omaha both years, but disappointed both years posting an 0-2 each year. The Tigers were not used to losing in Omaha, so questions about Laval's leadership and ability to continue the success of program began to arise. Laval would have to prove himself the following year.
In 2005, LSU struggled during the regular season despite the fact they finished with a 40-22 record overall. The Tigers lost 12 Southeastern Conference games, as well as, losing to Southern for only the second time in 41 tries. Rice would go on to defeat the Tigers in the Baton Rouge Regional Finals. The 2006 season would put even more pressure on Laval, and would eventually be his last.
In his last year, LSU would post a 35-24 mark overall, their worst since 1988, and would miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 18 years. Laval officially resigned on June 4, 2006.
On June 28, 2006, Paul Mainieri was named the twenty-fifth head coach of LSU Baseball. Mainieri was finally back in Baton Rouge where he began his baseball career 30 years earlier earning a letter in baseball as a freshman at LSU in 1976. Mainieri finished his collegiate career at The University of New Orleans. Prior to his arrival at LSU, Mainieri coached St. Thomas University in Florida, Air Force, and Notre Dame, forging each into winning programs. Mainieri left Notre Dame to coach LSU, where he has stated he will remain until he retires.
In his first season at LSU, the Tigers posted a mark of 29-26-1. The season was full of ups and downs, with the Tigers winning four SEC series against Top 25 opponents, but struggling in non-conference play. After the season, Mainieri realized changes had to be made and informed certain players that they should consider other options, as well as making some changes to his current staff. Mainieri was able to put together a tremendous recruiting class following the 2007 season, which was later ranked #1 by Baseball News.
In his second year, LSU was predicted to finish fifth in the SEC Western division by the SEC baseball coaches before the year started.. Following an amazing turnaround, Coach Mainieri led LSU to the SEC Western Division championship with a conference record of 18-11-1, and the #2 seed in the 2008 SEC Baseball Tournament. The Tigers finished the regular season record at 39-16-1. The team won the 2008 SEC Tournament (held May 20-25 in Hoover, Alabama). With the win, LSU won 20 consecutive games, breaking the previous school record of 19 consecutive wins during the 1997 season and tying the SEC's second-longest streak of wins. Fourteen of those wins were come-from-behind wins, while the last fifteen were made wearing the distinctive gold jerseys.
By winning the SEC Tournament, LSU earned a 7th national seed in the NCAA tournament and extended the life of the old Alex Box Stadium as Baton Rouge hosted a regional bracket of the NCAA tournament. LSU swept the series, defeating Texas Southern (12-1) and Southern Miss (twice, 13-4 and 11-4) to win the regional bracket. With the sweep of the Regional series, LSU extended their winning streak to a SEC-record 23 straight games.
As a result of the Regional, LSU and Baton Rouge earned a spot in the Super-Regional series, hosting UC-Irvine in the last three games to be played in the old Alex Box Stadium. LSU lost the first game, 11-5, ending their streak of wins at 23. LSU recovered in the second game of the series, scoring six runs in the top of the ninth inning to force a third game with a dramatic come-from-behind win, 9-7. On Monday, June 9, 2008, in the final game to be played at the Alex Box Stadium, with a record-setting crowd of 8,173 watching, LSU dominated UC-Irvine with a 21-7 win to move to the 2008 College World Series.
In the 2008 College World Series, #7 LSU faced the #2 North Carolina Tarheels in the first round, losing 8-4. The Tigers, facing elimination in a game against the Rice Owls, won in dramatic fashion, 6-5, continuing their string of come-from-behind victories. On June 20, 2008 after a rain delay of nearly 24 hours, UNC and LSU resumed their elimination game matchup, resulting in a 7-3 loss for LSU. The team was defeated after giving up the only grand slam in the 2008 CWS in the top of the ninth inning. During the 2008 regular and post-regulation baseball season, LSU's games have continuously featured both dramatic victories and controversial calls.
LSU traveled to Omaha after sweeping Southern University, Baylor University and the University of Minnesota in the regionals and Rice University in the super regionals. They started play at the College World Series and faced the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round, winning 9-5. In the winner's bracket game, LSU played the Arkansas Razorbacks and won by a score of 9-1. In a rematch, the Tigers beat the Razorbacks again by a score of 14-5, advancing to the CWS finals for the first time since 2000. They played against the Texas Longhorns in a best-of-three series for the title, and won game one 8-7 in a dramatic comeback win in 11 innings. The Longhorns beat the Tigers in game two 5-1, to force a third and final game. The Tigers out-slugged the Longhorns 11-4 to win their 6th National Championship and first since 2000. The series MVP was outfielder Jared Mitchell.
Alex Box Stadium is a baseball stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is the home field of the Louisiana State University Tigers college baseball team. It is most notable for The Intimidator, a large billboard behind the right-field fence featuring the six years in which LSU has won the College World Series. The park is also notable for giving up many home runs due to the high humidity of Louisiana, the prevailing winds out of the south which push balls hit to left field out of the park, and the short fences (the dimensions are believed to be anywhere from 7–10 feet shorter than what is posted on the fences).
The stadium was named for Simeon Alex Box, an LSU letterman (1938) who was killed in North Africa during World War II.
LSU completed construction on a new Alex Box Stadium prior to the start of the 2009 season. It is primarily used for baseball and is the new home of the LSU Tigers baseball team. The ballpark has a capacity of 9,200 people. The Tigers opened the new stadium hosting the Wildcats of Villanova on February 20, 2009, with the opening pitch thrown at 7:15 pm..
*Through the end of the 2008