LSU responds with Game 3 rout of Florida to win 7th MCWS title

A day after it gave up the most runs ever in a Men's College World Series game,

LSU cranked up its offense and won its first national title since 2009 with an 18-4 victory over Florida on Monday night in the third and deciding game of the finals.

LSU (54-17) staved off elimination three times in bracket play and bounced back from the humiliating 24-4 loss in Game 2 to claim its seventh championship, second in Division I history to USC's 12.

"Right people, right place, right time," Tigers coach Jay Johnson said. "This is the way it was supposed to go."

The Tigers wiped out an early 2-0 deficit with a six-run second inning against Jac Caglianone (7-4).

The runs kept coming until they finished with the most in a title game since USC's 21-14 win over Arizona State in 1998.

The 14-run margin was the largest ever in a final. Their 24 hits were most in a MCWS game.

"It wasn't our day, all the way around," Gators catcher BT Riopelle said.

Thatcher Hurd (8-3) gave up Wyatt Langford's two-run homer in the first and then allowed no hits or runs while retiring 18 of the next 21 batters.

Riley Cooper took over to start the seventh and gave up Ty Evans' MCWS-record fifth homer, and Gavin Guidry finished the combined five-hitter.

There was speculation after Sunday's blowout loss about the Tigers bringing back ace Paul Skenes for a third start in Omaha.

He threw a combined 243 pitches over 15⅔ innings in two spectacular appearances, and he would have been working on three days' rest.

It turned out Skenes was able to watch from the dugout in the comfort of his sneakers while LSU poured on the runs and Hatcher kept dealing.

Skenes headed to the bullpen to do some stretching in the seventh inning,

but he went back to the dugout after the eighth and stayed there until he and teammates rushed the mound when Guidry struck out Cade Kurland to end it.

Skenes was named the Most Outstanding Player of the CWS.

The overwhelmingly partisan LSU crowd included Kim Mulkey, coach of the national champion women's basketball team and the mother of Kramer Robertson,

who played shortstop on the 2017 team that lost to Florida in the MCWS finals.

LSU became the first Division I school to win a baseball and basketball (men's or women's) national championship in the same year.


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