OMAHA, N eb . — LSU’s roster changes every time it visits the College World Series. Even the coaches and ballparks have changed. But the voice on LSU’s radio network has remained steady. The Tigers have never played an inning here without Jim Hawthorne making the call. Seventeen appearances, 57 games, one “Voice of the Tigers.” This will be Hawthorne’s last CWS on radio, but before he watches the Tigers from his recliner in their next CWS trip, he reflected on five of his most memorable moments here:
WARREN MORRIS, 1996
J.C. Politz had Billy Cannon’s punt return. Hawthorne has Morris’ game-winning two-run homer against Miami. “I never thought about winning the game,” Hawthorne said. “I thought about getting a run in and tying the game. That’s all that ever crossed my mind, (not) that we might win.”
BRAD CRESSE, 2000
“All of the final outs of the championship games were big thrills,” Hawthorne said, but only two of LSU’s titles ended on game-winning hits. In 2000, LSU trailed Stanford 5-2 in the eighth before homers by Blair Barbier and Jeremy Witten set up Cresse’s RBI single.
LYLE MOUTON, 1991
Hawthorne has called plenty of home runs in Omaha, but perhaps none flew as far as one Mouton hit in an 8-1 opening victory over Florida. Mouton hit two in the game — the first traveling an estimated 500 feet over the center-field fence and off the top of the scoreboard. Mouton hit two more homers in the CWS and batted .429.
LSU’S FIRST COLLEGE WORLD SERIES, 1986
“I was aware it (the College World Series) was an event, but just vaguely. It wasn’t a big deal back then to a lot of people. The interviews after the game were on the roof of the grandstand. I have a picture of Skip (Bertman) and you can see downtown Omaha, because he was literally standing on the roof of the grandstand.”
LSU’S FIRST NATIONAL TITLE, 1991
“More than the actual game itself, we had to play the season and the SEC tournament and the regional. After the (final) game we went down and sat on the grass in left field. It went through my mind, ‘Who else do we have to beat?’ Then, ‘That’s it, we don’t have to beat anyone else. We’ve really won the national championship.’ ”