For the second time in nine days, LSU was batting in the ninth inning down multiple runs with their season on the line. For the second time in nine days, LSU worked final inning magic to live to see another day.

With Rice leading LSU 5-2 and one of the most dominant closers in the country on the hill, LSU rallied for four ninth inning runs, capped by a three-run walk-off double by Blake Dean, advancing LSU to its first College World Series win since 2000.

The Tigers got off to a poor start (AGAIN) Tuesday, falling behind the 8-ball 5-0 through six innings. LSU starter Jared Bradford gave up 5 runs in six and two-thirds innings for LSU, but the Tigers’ real problem was Rice starter Chris Kelley who threw five and two-thirds innings of shutout baseball before giving way to All World closer Cole St. Clair.

LSU rallied for a run in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Tigers also wasted several opportunities on the base paths being picked off, caught stealing and gunned out at home plate throughout the game.

Louis Coleman got the win for LSU after two innings of shutout baseball. Coleman can throw upwards of 85-90 pitches as he proved in the SEC Tournament and it really is beyond me at this point as to why he is not a starting pitcher for LSU, but nonetheless, the Mississippi native notched his eighth win of the season for LSU.

The Tigers next meet North Carolina on Thursday after the Tar Heels were beaten 5-3 by Fresno State. The Tar Heels loss is a huge blessing in disguise for LSU’s chances to win the CWS. Instead of beating possibly the nation’s most complete team two times, the Tigers now just play them in a winner-take-all game. That’s a big plus for Paul Mainieri’s squad.

The rest of the way, LSU needs to find a way to play nine full innings of baseball. Black magic can only take someone so far and eventually the ball will not bounce LSU’s way if they continuously fall behind by four and five runs. But the one plus LSU has over the rest of the field is that this team will never panic under any situation. LSU was left for dead midway through the season, so they know how to play in “must-win” game and they know what it is like to reel off several wins in a row, something that this team will need to do in the coming days to extend its season.

Regardless of what happens, this season has been an amazing one filled with many ups and downs and pound-for-pound, this may go down as the most dramatic season in LSU baseball history if this team continues its season through next week at the CWS.

Much more on the LSU/UNC game tomorrow and what LSU needs to do better this time around in order to eliminate the Tar Heels.

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I told you all about this yesterday, so I will kick it off today. For the next 10 days, I will count down my list of the 10 greatest athletes of all-time. There is no limitation to who can be in the list. Males or females covering any sport, active or retired, anyone is included. And like I said yesterday, I encourage you all to play along at home.

Today’s athlete and No. 10 on my All-Time list is:

10. Barry Sanders:

Sanders was the premier back of all premier backs during his prime in the mid-90s, but a premature retirement forces Sanders a little lower on my list than perhaps he could have been. In his 10-year career, Sanders rushed for 15,269 total yards and 109 touchdowns with a less than stellar passing attack and offensive line.

Barry was the ultimate home-run hitting running back of my time, averaging more than five yards per carry throughout his career and snapping the ankles of several opposing linebackers and safeties in pursuit with his out-of-control slippery moves. Sanders retired on top of his game in 1998 just a year removed from a 2,000 yard season. How many yards Sanders could have possibly gotten is unknown, but Barry in many’s eyes will forever be the greatest to ever play.

Why he could be higher?
-He dominated his sport
-Arguably the best of all-time at his position

Why he could be lower?
-Lack of success. Sanders’ Lions never made it to the NFL’s highest stage

Stay tuned for No. 9 tomorrow.

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Well, the NBA season ended with a bang, or a thump, as the Lakers fell helpless to a 131-92 loss last night at the hands of the NBA champion Celtics.

The Lakers started the game well off hot shooting from Kobe Bryant, but as Bryant’s success ended, so did the Lakers who turned over the ball 19 times and were outrebounded 48-29 by the hustling Celtics.

The Celtics big three of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett was dominant as usual, but the MVP of Game Six was guard Rajon Rondo who gave the Lakers fits to the tune of 21 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and six steals.

On the Lakers side, Kobe Bryant led the Lake-Show with 22 points, but for the third game in a row, Bryant faded after a quick start.

Its going to be a challenging off season for the Lakers. They have to approach it like they are signing a big-time free agent in that big-money center Andrew Bynum will be returning next season. But even with Bynum, I do not know that this series would have turned out a heck of a lot differently. So the Lakers have to decide if their roster as-is will be good enough to beat the Celtics next year, while also handling up and comers in the West like the Hornets, Jazz and Blazers (don’t laugh, the Blazers will have major game next year and historically own the Lakers).

For the Celtics, they will have to retool their bench and get younger on the pine, but their entire starting five will return for next season, leaving them as again the preseason team to beat.

I won’t give player of the game or goat of the game honors, because this one wasn’t even a contest. It was an old-fashioned, behind the barn belt-buckle beating. 39 point loss in the NBA Finals? Get real.

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Headlines:

Mets fire Randolph after disappointing start to season– Not a surprise. The Mets are a mess. They’re old and washed up at several positions and I don’t see it being all Willie’s fault, but he hasn’t helped with his “It’s only ‘cuz I’m black” attitude. Bon voyage.

Owens misses minicamp with family problem– The bigger issue here is Terry Glenn who is about to be released from the team. News out of Dallas says the Boys will make a run at Joe Horn who is not expected to make Atlanta’s roster.

Beasley works out with Bulls– Seriously, this one is a no brainer for me. All due respect to Memphis’s Rose, but how can the dude be the next Chris Paul when he only averaged 4 assists per game in college playing subpar competition. Beasley is the best in this draft hands-down.

That’s all for me, folks. What a day.

Have a fabulous Wednesday,

Casey

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