Louisiana State University is undoubtedly home to one of the greatest college baseball programs in the country. LSU’s six national championships are tied for second-most all-time with Texas behind only the USC Trojans, who’ve won 12.
Skip Bertman solidified himself as a legend in Baton Rouge for winning five of those before Paul Mainieri came along and won one. The head coach was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame because, well, his teams kicked ass.
Maybe none were more special than the 2000 Tigers that won it all in spectacular fashion in Omaha, Nebraska.
LSU’s 2000 National Championship Team
Let’s start with that vaunted roster.
At the top of the order were the pesky Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot. Theriot compiled 256 hits over his LSU career and Fontenot clubbed 31 home runs in two seasons. Both played in MLB and won World Series titles.
More talent, like Brad Hawpe, Brian Tallet, Trey Hodges, Shane Youman and Ryan Jorgensen filled out the rest of that team.
But the star of that season by far? Brad Cresse. As a senior, the three-time All-American hit a ridiculous .388. He led the NCAA in home runs (30) and RBIs (106). No wonder he nearly won the Golden Spikes Award.
Brad Cresse’s legacy will always be remembered by one swing.
Brad Cresse’s World Series Walk-Off
Before we get to the hit, let’s give props to the guys who tied the game at 5-5 in the eighth inning.
After starting the eighth inning down 5-2 with slim odds, Blair Barbier and Jeremy Witten both hit home runs off Stanford pitcher Justin Wayne in the College World Series championship game. By then, LSU had all the momentum it needed.
In the ninth, Theriot singled and Fontenot walked. That set up the miraculous stage for Brad Cresse, the senior catch who could cap his incredible final season by winning a national title.
Cresse roped a single to left and Theriot slid in safely. Ballgame. Theriot threw his helmet as far as he could. LSU players went crazy. It’s one of those finishes that LSU fans will never forget as long as they live.
“You always want to go out winning the national championship, and it came true,” Cresse told the Associated Press afterward. “Last night, I dreamt about being up at the plate with winning run on base. I dreamt of a home run, but I’ll take a single.”Advertisement
Dreams do come true, and this moment belongs right next to Warren Morris’ walk-off home run to win the 1996 title just four years prior.
Cresse was drafted in the fifth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2000 MLB Draft but never made it to the major leagues.
Still, he’ll always be an icon in LSU baseball history.