LSU's dream season ended abruptly Tuesday afternoon as the Tigers' stagnant bats failed to get the job done for the second straight game.
Three of the Purple and Gold's best batters - Alex Bregman, Raph Rhymes, and Christian Ibarra - went a combined 0-for-24 in Omaha.
For Rhymes, his 0-for-9 batting slump marks the end of his time as an LSU Tiger.
It's a tough pill to swallow for the Monroe native and his coach.
"I just feel bad for him... he's going to blame himself and he can't do that," said head coach Paul Mainieri as he choked back tears.
The Tigers now say goodbye to eight seniors in all and likely a few juniors as well, since Ryan Eades and Jacoby Jones are almost surely headed to the MLB after being drafted in the second and third rounds. Juniors Will LaMarche, Nick Rumbelow, and Ty Ross could also be headed to the pros.
The remaining Tigers are left to sort through their emotions and gear up for next year, which won't be easy according to Mainieri: "Initially the hurt and the disappointment is going to be immense but as time goes on, we will reflect on our season. You can't judge a season simply on what we did in two games when we've had such a remarkable year over 66 games. The championship we strive for at LSU is this one, and we came up short and we'll live with that... It's very difficult to put it into words, quite frankly, because right now the sting of knowing that this season has come to an end, a special season, and the finality of it all... Right up until the last pitch, you feel like you're going to find a way to win, and then it doesn't happen."
Here's who definitely will be back in Baton Rouge next season: freshman phenom Alex Bregman and sophomore pitching ace Aaron Nola. Both hauled in numerous awards this season on both the conference and national levels.
Expect Ibarra to be back in the infield with Bregman, since he was only drafted in the 32nd round. Another season will give the junior from California a strong chance at improving his stock.
This is only the 4th time LSU has played in the College World Series and come home empty-handed.
Mainieri is now 6-5 in 3 World Series appearances. He won the whole thing in 2009.
It's not the accolade that mattered most to the Tigers, but their 57 wins this season ties both the LSU and SEC high for victories.
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