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Lsu Tigers Look Like A Dynasty

Sun., June 8, 1997, midnight

College World Series

Even after winning the College World Series last year, Louisiana State thought it had something to prove.

“We were the SEC conference champions this year, not Alabama,” Tigers coach Skip Bertman said. “We showed them that we’re No. 1.”

LSU won its second straight NCAA baseball title, beating the Tide 13-6 Saturday in the CWS championship as Danny Higgins hit a solo homer and two-run single in a six-run first.

“I was too anxious,” Higgins said. “So I said: ‘Hey, relax and have fun. I went out and hit the ball and had a great time.’ “

LSU (57-13) tied the record for the most runs in a CWS championship game, set by Oklahoma in 1994. The Tigers won the title for the fourth time in seven seasons, following championships in 1991, 1993 and last year.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Brandon Larson, voted the outstanding player of the CWS after going 7-for-18 (.389) with six runs scored, three homers and eight RBIs. “LSU is going to be here for years to come. We’re a dynasty!”

Higgins led off the first with his 11th homer, a drive off Michael Daniel (5-1). Tom Berhardt hit a two-run double, Mike Koerner’s RBI single made it 4-0 and Higgins’ single stretched the lead to six.

“We were talking about needing to score first,” Higgins said. “I really wasn’t trying to hit a home run, just to get on base.”

After second baseman Joe Caruso misplayed a grounder for an error in the second, Wes Davis hit a three-run double for a 9-0 lead.

Despite the big lead, Tigers starter Patrick Coogan failed to get the win, giving up four runs and six hits in 4-1/3 innings. Doug Thompson (12-4) relieved with the bases loaded and LSU ahead 9-4, then struck out two.

“My job is to hold the damage down,” Coogan said. “This was the third time I’ve faced Alabama this year. They knew what I had. It was just a matter of confidence.”

The Tide beat Coogan 6-4 on May 9 in his last loss of the season.

Daniel lasted just two-thirds of an inning for Alabama (56-14), allowing five runs - four earned - and five hits.

Alabama, seeking its first title, started to come back in the all-SEC final with Joe Caruso’s two-run homer in the third and Robbie Tucker’s two-run single in the fourth.

Larson hit a two-run single in the sixth off Heath Henderson and Tom Bernhardt hit his 17th homer in the seventh for a 12-4 lead.

“I wanted to beat Alabama with all of the hoopla going on about how they beat us 28-2,” Larson said, referring to a May 10 game that turned into the Tigers’ worst loss ever.

Caruso had a two-run double in the eighth, giving him four RBIs in the game and a record 14 hits in the CWS.

Larson added an RBI grounder in the bottom half of the inning.

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