, Louisianna (PressExposure) May 05, 2009 -- Even though overshadowed by the basketball and football programs, the LSU baseball has been arguably the most successful of all athletic programs in Louisiana State history. The team has captured five national championships and has made fourteen college World Series appearances. The team only became an elite program when they were taken over by former Miami Hurricanes coach, Skip Bertman.
Bertman came to LSU before the 1983 season and would take very little time in turning around LSU and making them into one of the most elite programs in all of college baseball. In his second year, he led the team to the postseason for the first time in ten years and the following season he led LSU to their first ever appearance in the College World Series. In fact, during Bertman's eighteen seasons as head coach at LSU, he led the team to eleven appearances in the college world series. In 1989, the LSU Tigers would return to postseason play and they would play in the postseason for seventeen consecutive seasons.
Bertman had planted the seeds for a dynasty to be born and in 1991; the team was finally able to win the national championship, which was the first in the school's history, when they beat Wichita State in the finals. The school would win another championship in 1993, once again defeating Wichita State in the finals of the tournament. It was apparent now that the team was here to stay and they were now considered one of the most elite baseball programs in the country.
LSU would win the championship again in 1996; however it would not be without lots of excitement. In the finals, LSU was playing against the favored Miami Hurricanes. The end of this game is remembered as being the best play in college baseball history. In the bottom of the ninth inning, LSU was trailing by one run with a man at third base and there were two outs. Bertman sent in pinch hitter Warren Morris, who had been injured most of the year, to bring in the tying run from third. Morris did one better for his coach and took the first pitch he saw over the right field fence and won the national championship for LSU with his only home run of the season.
The team would repeat as champions in 1997 and it can be argued that this team also possessed the best offensive team to ever play College Baseball as the team would hit an astounding 188 home runs, shattering the record of 161 set by BYU years earlier. The LSU Tigers would win their last championship in 2000, which completed a ten year span in which they won five championships during that time span.
LSU has not been able to win a national championship since their legendary coach retired after the 2001 season. However, Bertman has been instrumental in baseball recruits still coming to LSU to play. His legacy will always be around the LSU program and because of that, the LSU Tigers will always be a force to reckon with in baseball