It will be known to LSU baseball fans for years to come as the “interference call.”
After premium chances to tie the game in both the seventh and eighth innings, LSU fell 6-1 to Florida in a decisive Game 2 of the 2017 College World Series.
Entering the inning down 2-0, it looked like LSU had tied the game in the top of the seventh at 2-2, but Jake Slaughter was called for runner interference as he tried to break up a double play on a ground ball hit by Michael Papierski. The ruling resulted in the tying run being sent back to third base. Beau Jordan lined out to center field to end the Tigers’ chance at a big inning.
That was an incredibly frustrating inning for LSU players and fans alike. One that is likely to be talked about for months to come. But that wasn’t the Tigers’ only chance, and things didn’t get any easier as the late-inning action continued.
The Tigers had another crack at tying the game in the top of the eighth with runners on the corners and no one out. But the Tigers again failed to score after a strikeout and a solid defensive play by Florida’s JJ Schwarz that ended with LSU’s Kramer Robertson being thrown out at home on a tag that was applied just milliseconds before he touched the plate.
JJ Schwarz with a HUGE play!!
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 28, 2017
Fueled by the adrenaline from narrowly avoiding danger in back-to-back innings, the Florida offense busted out for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to push the lead to 6-1, ultimately securing the program’s first national title.
The Gators jumped on Jared Poche’ early, hitting three straight singles to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, with Schwarz driving in Deacon Liput. Poche’ responded, getting out of the inning with only the one run given up with help from a great catch by right fielder Greg Deichmann.
Florida struck again in the second inning as Liput singled to score Nick Horvath to make the margin, 2-0.
The Tigers threatened in the fifth with pinch-hitter Slaughter walking and then advancing to second on a fielder’s choice, but two straight groundouts killed the potential rally.
Poche’ found a groove in the middle of the game, retiring eight batters in a row before a leadoff single by Mike Rivera in the bottom of the sixth.
SEC Country’s Brian Stultz contributed to this report.