BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - A series loss at Ole Miss to end April turned the doubters' whispers into screams. LSU sat only a game above .500 in the SEC, and their head coach went on the defensive against all the cynics.
"I'm telling you anything is possible. Nobody on our staff, nobody in our program has given up on these boys and given up on this team," said LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on May 2.
Mainieri's bold statement appeared to fall on deaf ears five days later after trailing Arkansas, but then fate intervened.
A possum somehow made it over the outfield wall, and walked himself into Alex Box folklore. With an assist from the rally possum, the Tigers would mount their biggest comeback since 1986, winning in ten innings 10-9, after trailing by eight runs.
"This is the first time I've ever seen that, but I mean hey it work and it worked for us tonight," said LSU outfielder Jake Fraley.
The rally possum ignited a 10-game winning streak, giving him cult-like status in Baton Rouge. The players carry around a stuffed possum named Daniel to keep the mojo going.
You're the holder of the rally possum - is that correct?
"Yes. He likes hanging around me, so I take care of him," said pitcher Hunter Newman.
Where does Daniel sleep at night?
"Oh he's got a little bed in the locker room," Newman added.
Other more intimidating animals might be a better choice for a rallying cry, but don't judge this marsupial by his presence alone.
"Possums are typically pretty quiet animals that are reclusive. If you walk out of your back door, and there's one standing your back yard, it'll turn around around and run in the bushes, and disappear. If you corner them, they can scare you, hiss, bare their teeth," said Loyola Professor and Naturalist Bob Thomas.
LSU set up a twitter page to capitalize on the teeth-bearing phenom, and rally possum gear is a hot seller at "The Box."
"You can't beat it. They've obviously taken to the rally possum. The possum has obviously meant a lot to this team, and hopefully carries on to Omaha, and on through to another national championship," said LSU fan Chris Fox.
The players and fans are convinced this will help win a title. During the Florida series, one of the Duck Dynasty guys discovered the "power of the possum."
"We had Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty in our dugout. He was telling me after the game when we were behind they handed it to him in the dugout and we got a rally going. In '08 it was the gold jerseys that inspired us. Maybe in '16 it'll be the rally possum. Whatever it takes, I'm all for it," said Mainieri.
LSU's win streak finally ended this past Saturday against top-ranked Florida, but the Tigers still won the series. So the possum is going nowhere.
"Me, personally, I'm very superstitious. Having him around, and we're doing very good, I'll keep him around a lot - whole year," said Newman.
When the Tigers hit the road this postseason Daniel will go with them. He'll stay in Hunter Newman's room for regionals, super regionals, all the way to Omaha.