Did you know the Long Beach State Dirtbags were two outs away from the 1993 College World Series championship game?
Watching all these College World Series baseball games on ESPN got me thinking…how close have we gotten to winning the whole thing?
Wouldn’t you know it, right when I typed “Long Beach State College World Series” into Google, it took me straight to a highlight video between Long Beach State and LSU in 1993. What the heck did I get myself into?
The Dirtbags were up 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth with a trip to the National Championship on the line. LSU made FIVE errors in the game that led to three LBSU runs. They literally tried to GIVE the game to us. Our only earned runs in the ballgame came from an Eddie Davis two-run home run in the top of the first inning.
We had left-hander Gabe Gonzalez on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, and he’d been lights out all year long. He gave up a single to start the inning but got a big strikeout with a runner on first to pull within two outs away from the title game.
In a 3-1 count to the next hitter, Gonzalez missed just low for ball four and it put runners on first and second for LSU (It should’ve been a strike, by the way. Good to know that umpires sucked even back then. Shout out to Bobby Hauck).
Armando Rios was the next hitter for LSU and in a 1-1 count, he hit an absolute MISSILE off the wall in right-center field to score both runners and tie the game at 5-5. I forgot how much the ball jumped off of the bats of yesteryear. These days, some kids can’t even hit the ball out of the infield because the bats are so dead.
With a runner on third and one out, Dirtbags manager Dave Snow elected to walk the next hitter to set up a double play. The only problem with that is the guy in the on-deck circle was Todd Walker – LSU’s best hitter. Walker was hitting .391 for LSU on the year and was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI’s already on the day. He ended up being the eighth overall pick in the 1994 MLB Draft and was a career .289 hitter in the big leagues. It’s easy to say now – but you can’t pitch to that guy Dave Snow!
He did it anyway…
Walker hit a ground ball through the right side for the walk-off win to send LSU to the championship game and ESPN broadcaster Mike Patrick gave his classic, “HOLY COW.” Shut up, Mike Patrick.
LSU would go on to beat Wichita State 8-0 for their second National Championship in school history.
I’m sitting there watching this highlight 25 years later just heartbroken. You’re telling me we were that close from winning a National Championship? I mean, there’s no way we lose to Wichita State in the title game. So we were two outs away from glory in Omaha. Brutal.
It’s tough being a Long Beach State fan, but we’ll get there one day.