Kramer Robertson posted a picture to his Twitter account Wednesday night, a St. Louis Cardinals hat fixed on his still-blond head and a smile on his face.
In front of him was a piece of paper with his signature. The LSU standout was officially embarking on his professional baseball career.
“Fulfilled a childhood dream tonight and signed my first professional contract,” he tweeted. “Excited for the next chapter in my career.”
Fulfilled a childhood dream tonight and signed my first professional contract. Excited for the next chapter in my career. pic.twitter.com/WQ4ESJqfhU— Kramer Robertson (@KramerR3) June 29, 2017
Pitcher Jared Poché did not tweet a picture of a contract but did disseminate a thank you to those who watched him play for four years. He closed that message with, “When one door closes, another one opens. I’m excited to further my career with the Oakland Athletics.”
Geaux Tigers!!! pic.twitter.com/UuGTm90EHw— Jared Poche (@Jared_Poche) June 28, 2017
Robertson and Poché are the first of many LSU players expected to officially begin their pro career shortly. Like Robertson and Poché, second baseman Cole Freeman is out of eligibility and will certainly sign a deal shortly with the Washington Nationals. Although they still have a year of eligibility remaining, pitcher Alex Lange (Chicago Cubs), outfielder Greg Deichmann (Athletics) and catcher Michael Papierski (Houston Astros) are also expected to sign professionally.
With LSU playing in the championship series, ESPN enjoyed excellent ratings for this year’s College World Series.
The live broadcasts of the two championship series games averaged nearly 2 million viewers, up 72 percent from last year’s finals between Coastal Carolina and Arizona, ESPN said. The TV-only audience maxed out at 2.62 million viewers.
The New Orleans market was particularly strong: Its 20.1 rating for Game 2 of the championship series was the second-best rating for a major market ever, trailing only LSU’s 2009 title-clinching game against Texas.
LSU, as the CWS runner-up, finished No. 2 in each of the major rankings released at the end of the season.
It was a good season for the Southeastern Conference beyond having two teams in the championship series. The SEC had eight teams in Baseball America’s final top 25, and it had seven teams in the D1Baseball.com, USA Today and National Collegiate Baseball Writers final rankings.
Numbers to know
The Tigers tied the school record by posting a .980 fielding percentage, matching their figures from 2013 and 2014.
Robertson’s 85 runs led the NCAA and tied for the third-most in school history. It was the most runs scored by an LSU player since Mike Fontenot had 93 in 2000.
Lange became the eighth player in school history to record 150 strikeouts in a season, and the first since Anthony Ranaudo in 2009. He finished three behind Scott Schultz’s career record of 409.
Coach Paul Mainieri’s updated record at LSU, through 11 seasons, is 512-202-3, putting his winning percentage at .717. He and LSU icon Skip Bertman are the only baseball coaches in school history with a winning percentage greater than .660.
If LSU’s championship series against Florida had gone to a decisive Game 3, the expectation was that it would feature a matchup of Lange and Florida right-hander Jackson Kowar.
But Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan made a somewhat risky move: He used Kowar, who had a 12-1 record, to close Game 2.
“The biggest factor is I didn’t want to see Alex Lange (in Game 3),” O’Sullivan said.
Kowar recorded the final five outs to preserve the win, and Lange did not get to throw in the championship series.