Moments after LSU's 7-2 defeat to Stony Brook in the final game of the Baton Rouge Super Regional, head coach Paul Mainieri said his Tigers "overachieved" this season. He is absolutely correct.
This LSU team, the 2012 SEC regular season champions, couldn't hold a candle to the school's 2009 College World Series champions.
What's happened to program's talent level since the Tigers won in Omaha three years ago is simple. Recruiting, the lifeblood of any great college team, has taken a hit.
Sunday night in Baton Rouge, a Super Regional observer said that LSU had three players on the current roster who may have been able to crack the lineup of the 2009 National Champions. They are pitcher Kevin Gausman, and position players Mason Katz and Raph Rhymes. That's it.
The 2009 team was teeming with talent.
That club included righthander Louis Coleman, currently with the Kansas City Royals with 18 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched out of the bullpen this season.
Outfielder Jared Mitchell, a first round draft pick by the White Sox, is hitting a noisy .279 at Class AA Birmingham with 11 doubles, nine triples, 14 stolen bases, and four home runs.
Outfielder Mikie Mahtook, also a first rounder, has 10 doubles, two triples, two homers for the Tampa Bay Rays' farm club Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Florida State league.
Outfielder Ryan Schimpf has 18 doubles and seven homers for Dunedin, the Toronto Blue Jays' outpost in the Florida State league.
Infielder D.J. LeMahieu was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs before being traded to the Colorado Rockies. LeMahieu has seven hits in 30 at bats this season for the Rockies but does not turn 24 until July.
That LSU CWS championship squad also included top performers like starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, catcher Micah Gibbs and first baseman/DH Blake Dean.
Winning is all about recruiting.
In men's basketball at LSU, coach Trent Johnson did a poor job of it and fled to TCU after the Tigers were routed in the first round of the NIT at Oregon.
Football coach Les Miles watched his team's fortunes dip after winning the 2007 BCS National Championship. Miles has restocked his club handsomely, and will for the second straight year, have a chance to compete for a national championship.
Stony Brook is a very good baseball club played brilliantly in three games in Baton Rouge. The Seawolves said coming to the Super Regional as a huge underdog allowed them to play lose and free. Maybe so.
But LSU's anemic offense could never put enough pressure on the Seawolves to force them into mistakes. You just wonder how patient Stony Brook's hitters may have been if they were down three runs in the 7th inning in any game.
Getting to Omaha is getting tougher. Ask Baylor who lost at home to Arkansas. Or Oregon who lost at home to Kent State.
However, this is LSU, a place where the head baseball coach has all the resources he needs to get to Omaha.
That's what made this weekend's loss to Stony Brook so stunning.
The best team won.
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