It's the little things that doomed the LSU Tigers against Florida Gators in games one and two of the College World Series.
Some of them were out of their control, such as the wind that went from steadily gusting out of the ballpark to blowing directly in on Tuesday night. It made the park that was "playing fair," as LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri put it, to playing like the hitter's graveyard it's been in previous years.
However, it's not like Florida was playing in a different stadium.
"We were hitting too many balls in the air," said LSU right fielder Greg Deichmann. "With the wind blowing in, that wasn't going to help anybody. If you go back and look at Florida, they had 10 hits through the infield, whether it was a ground ball or a low line drive. They executed, and we didn't."
But it wasn't just a lack of execution at the plate. One of the sharpest defenses all year had a rare, error-plagued few innings to start the game, and it cost them. Both of the runs charged to starter Jared Poche were unearned because of errors at first base.
"We just put a little too much pressure on ourselves," said freshman third baseman Josh Smith.
"Obviously, we pride ourselves on defense," said senior second baseman Cole Freeman. "When you that and you give the other team some extra chances at getting runs, usually they capitalize. Give credit to Florida. They were able to capitalize on them."
The back-breaker is that the Tigers had runners on first and third with no outs in the seventh and eighth innings and weren't able to push the tying run across.
"I felt like if we ever tied it or took the lead, we'd take the momentum and run," said shortstop Kramer Robertson. "The flood gates would open. We just were never able to quite to do that, whether it was unfortunate luck, they made a great play or whatever the reason. It's hard to swallow."
And unfortunately, it now leaves a 52-win LSU team with five championships to their name with a sour feeling.
"It's tough knowing that your college career could potentially be over," said junior pitcher Alex Lange, who was selected in the first round by the Chicago Cubs. "That's the most difficult part knowing everything this university's given to me. I hurt for the guys in this locker room because it's not just me that put the time in, it's everybody here. It's extremely difficult to see everyone hurt the way we do."
"It almost all seems for nothing when you're not able to take care of business the last two games," said Freeman. "Obviously, it hurts right now. It will continue to hurt. But the bottom line is we had an unbelievable season."
"Honestly, it has nothing to do with the championships we've won," said Smith. "All the guys, the seniors, the guys leaving this year, they've had an impact on my life this year and the rest of the younger classes' lives forever. We couldn't thank them enough because those guys are what makes this program go."
Making it go now will those alongside Smith in his freshman class. Zack Hess, Zach Watson, Jake Slaughter and Eric Walker broke out in the second half of the season, some of them already etching their names in history. They will, without a doubt, be making an impact wearing purple and gold for years to come.
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