OMAHA, Neb. — This is the place Kramer Robertson wanted to be on June 27. This was the reason he came back: to end his college baseball career by playing for a title.
But the vision he and teammates Jared Poché, Cole Freeman and Greg Deichmann soaked up in real time Tuesday night was the alternate ending to the dream they shared when they spurned professional contracts to return for another year at LSU.
Get to Omaha? Check.
Play for a championship? Check.
Win a championship? …
It doesn’t matter if that last and most important item remains unchecked. Baseball does not have a clock, but eligibility does. They now go their separate ways.
“This is the hardest part of what I have to do, to say goodbye to kids,” coach Paul Mainieri said. “These next 48, 72 hours are the worst two or three days of the season.”
This group was agonizingly close to accomplishing its mission. But it was suddenly saddled with the realization that its time has ended.
OMAHA, Neb. — For those tens of thousands of LSU baseball fans who turned the seats at TD Am…
“It’s a special team,” Robertson said. “It’s tough. You don’t get to play with them again. I think that’s the hardest thing.”
LSU’s Fab Four, dubbed so by Mainieri when the season began in February, did their part getting LSU to this point. They did their best to get LSU past this point, too. The difference between first and second place can be as much as a booted ground ball or a timely tag.
Poché ended his career with more wins (39) than anybody else to wear an LSU uniform. His best season may have been his last.
He threw a seven-inning no-hitter on opening day, the first individual no-no by an LSU pitcher since 1979. He carried a 0.25 ERA into the start of Southeastern Conference play and won a career-high 12 games.
Two of those wins came in the College World Series — one in relief, one in a start, both against Florida State. He was not able to get a critical third win Tuesday night to keep LSU alive, leaving him to write his college career epitaph.
“It’s definitely been one of the more special teams I’ve been on in my four years,” Poché said after giving up two unearned runs in 5.2 innings Tuesday.
Robertson, Freeman and Deichmann were the foundation of a lineup that finished the season hitting .289, the second-best mark in the SEC. LSU surged at the end of the season when Freeman and Robertson elevated their games, setting the table for Deichmann, who hit more home runs (19) and drove in more runs (73) than any other LSU player since 2010 and 2008, respectively.
It was a great season, but it didn’t end particularly well. Each of the three offensive members of the Fab Four hit exactly .200 in CWS play.
Those three likely won't forget their final at-bats in an LSU uniform. They paralleled the so-close-yet-so-far-away nature of their championship loss.
OMAHA, Neb. — Dr. Jerry Poché and Jimmy Roy, whose sons are part of the LSU baseball program…
Robertson led the country in runs, crossing the plate 85 times — most by an LSU player since Mike Fontenot scored 93 times in 2000. He was so close to adding one more, and who knows what happens if LSU ties the score against Florida in the eighth inning Tuesday?
LSU trailed 2-1 entering that pivotal inning. Robertson led off with a single, took second base on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Freeman’s bunt single.
With Deichmann at the plate, Robertson was 90 feet from doing what he had done more than anybody in the country. He broke for the plate on Deichmann’s smash to first base, but a clean pick and a perfect throw were enough to beat Robertson’s outstretched arm by inches for an out at the plate.
LSU never tied the score, and Florida broke it open in the bottom of the inning.
Robertson’s ultimate dream was not realized. He would have to settle for a partial return on his investment.
In the immediacy of the loss, devastated though he was, he sounded OK with that.
“You always think you’re going to win it,” he said. “And the finality of it all is tough. But I’m at peace with my career. … I gave everything I had to this university and to this team.
“It’s tough to think it over, but I’m at peace with everything.”