OMAHA, Neb. — This score just in from LSU baseball practice Thursday:
Wild Hairstyles 1, Fuddy Duddies 0.
Coach Paul Mainieri at first wasn’t too thrilled to see senior shortstop Kramer Robertson had dyed his hair Tuesday night before the Tigers’ elimination game the following evening against Florida State. He said afterward that he was going to make Robertson change back to his natural black hair color.
That was until Mainieri got back to the team hotel after LSU’s 7-4 win over the Seminoles.
“My wife, my brother-in-law, my sister, my son, his girlfriend, they’re all in there talking about the hair,” Mainieri said. “I said, ‘Well, I put the kibosh on the hair.’ They were so mad at me. They were like, ‘You’re serious? You’re such an old fuddy-duddy!’ I had to cave in.
“So I sent a text message to the team about midnight saying, ‘All right, my wife gave me a hard time. You can wear your hair however the hell you want to.’ ”
Sure enough, Robertson showed up for practice still sporting the platinum look that got got him social media comparisons to characters from “Game of Thrones,” “Shrek” and of course his mother, Kim Mulkey. About 10 other players also did something to their hair, including a diamond cut look on the back of reliever Zack Hess’ head that looks like the character Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn's hairdo from the movie “Major League.”
“It’s not my best look, but it’s just for fun,” Robertson said. “It’s not permanent. I can look brutal for the next few days. I guess I’m not going to be able to find my wife here, but maybe it can help us win a national championship. That’s the goal.”
Mainieri said his ban on facial hair still stands, however.
“Yeah,” he said. “I can’t cave in that much.”
The ESPN broadcast caught a shirtless 2-year-old Cruz Couture napping during the second inning of LSU’s 7-4 win against Florida State, but he wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Jake Slaughter clubbed a three-run home run to left field, causing the LSU fans in attendance to roar in approval — including Cruz’s mother, Ana Couture. Cruz woke up looking confused with the cameras watching.
In the dugout, Cruz’s dad, LSU baseball athletic trainer Cory Couture, had no idea what was going on. His phone kept going off, but he didn’t learn until after the game that his son had his moment in the spotlight.
“It was so funny,” Cory Couture said. “Ana told me she was going to try to get him on TV, so she had the plan to go shirtless and draw on his belly.”
The in-game snooze was brought on by a disrupted schedule, Cory Couture said.
“His schedule is totally screwed up, just from being here in the hotel,” Cory Couture said. “He slept in late yesterday, didn’t get his nap, so he started to nap at the game and obviously got woken up.”
Speaking of TV ...
ESPN said the LSU-Florida State game drew a rating of 14.6 in New Orleans, the highest for any market for the CWS since 2009.
LSU's first game Saturday against Florida State drew a 14.4 rating in New Orleans, followed by a 14.0 rating for Monday's LSU-Oregon State game. Those were higher than ratings for any LSU CWS games in 2013 or 2015.
After a light practice at Bellevue East high school, the LSU baseball team made a trip to Nebraska Medicine to visit pediatric patients.
Among the patients was 11-year-old Kylie Bush, a Pineville, Louisiana, native who has been recovering from her second multi-organ transplant at Nebraska Medicine for the past seven months.
Bush’s sister, Karli Walleser, has been an LSU bat girl for the past three seasons.
LSU signed autographs and took photos with the children and even played some catch and tossed batting practice in the large room where they visited.
LSU’s win over Florida State means a CWS “final four” of top eight national seeds: No. 1 Oregon State, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 LSU and No. 6 TCU or No. 7 Louisville. The latter two played Thursday night in an elimination game.
That will insure that for the first time since South Carolina in 2011 a national seed will be the NCAA champion.
The past five national champions were all unseeded: Arizona in 2012, UCLA in 2013, Vanderbilt in 2014, Virginia in 2015 and Coastal Carolina, which won here last year after beating LSU in the super regional.
LSU will be the visiting team in Friday’s game. … Pat Burrell, who played for Miami (Fla.) against LSU in the 1996 CWS, and Southern California’s Fred Lynn will be inducted July 1 into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, it was announced Thursday. LSU’s Todd Walker (1992-94) has already been enshrined. … Friday’s game will be LSU’s 65th in the College World Series, tying Cal State Fullerton for ninth all time. LSU is 38-26 overall.