After Alabama fell behind LSU by nine runs Saturday, Joe Caruso tried to start a comeback.
First, he hit a two-run homer in the third. Then, he hit a two-run single in the eighth.
It wasn’t enough.
“Joe did as he always has done all season. He always seems to get some big hits for us,” Crimson Tide coach Jim Wells said after Alabama lost to Louisiana State 13-6 in the championship of the College World Series.
Alabama, seeking its first NCAA baseball title, advanced to the final for the first time since 1983.
“It’s a pretty tough way to go out,” Wells said. “We had a chance to get back in this game. It hurt, but you never give in. We needed one big hit but it just didn’t happen today.”
Caruso was silent after the game. Even though he had a CWS-record 14 hits during the series, he had little to celebrate.
“We came here to win the tournament and we did not do that,” said Matt Frick, who struck out three times. “We did not play well, which makes it hurt a little more.”
Alabama had used all of its pitchers at least once during the previous two days to defeat Miami twice and advance to the final.
Robert Vaz also sat out the series with a broken foot, leaving Wells with one less arm to choose from.
Season may end later
The boys of spring may soon be playing in the summer.
A proposal by NCAA Division I baseball coaches would push the end of the college baseball season back at least three weeks, affecting the dates of the College World Series. The championship series normally is held in early June.
It’s a move, many coaches say, that has been a long time coming.
“It’s got to be done for baseball to grow for schools that are in cold-weather climates,” said Wichita State’s Gene Stephenson, who first wrote a change-of-season proposal in 1976 as an assistant coach at Oklahoma.
The coaches feel starting the season or ending it at a later date will enhance the game in northern parts of the country.
All in the coaching family
Louisiana State coach Skip Bertman knew a little bit about his opponent Saturday: Alabama coach Jim Wells used to be one of his assistant coaches.
The matchup turns the tables for Bertman, who was a Miami assistant coach before arriving at LSU. He faced his old boss at Miami, Ron Fraser, in the CWS three times - losing two of those meetings.