It's hard to start off with the same things that ESPN has pounded into oblivion on its broadcast of the game. But they're points worth making. Raph Rhymes, Mason Katz and Chris Cotton -- among others -- went into this postseason as the only LSU senior class since 1986 to have never gone to Omaha. After LSU missed the NCAA tournament entirely in 2011, Rhymes went as far as to give back his scholarship in the hopes that LSU could put it to good use.
On Saturday night, the payoff finally came. LSU routed Oklahoma, 11-1, in perhaps the most convincing super regional win of the weekend so far. The Tigers cranked out 16 hits, capitalized on four Oklahoma errors and a slew of other defensive miscues, and sent a warning to the teams that are unfortunate enough to stand between them and the national championship.
In fact, the last inning -- which featured players like Rhymes getting pulled for a pinch runner so the fans could give him a standing ovation -- seemed like a sort of release of all the frustrations that had built up over the last two years. In addition to the disappointment of the 2011 season, there was last year's infamous loss to Stony Brook in the Baton Rouge Super Regional, which some scribes (self included) loved to joke about.
No one is laughing at LSU right now. The Tigers have lost three games since April 30, blasted their way through all but one game in the SEC tournament en route to winning that event and have gone 5-0 in the NCAA tournament so far. Last night's 2-0 win against Oklahoma was the closest LSU has come to losing a game during the event, and the Tigers have outscored their regional and super regional opponents by a combined 37-14.
The only question you can have about LSU, aside from whether they might just run into two teams that have great nights, is whether they will let up any now that they've reached Omaha. If the six-run ninth inning of the Oklahoma game is any indication, that's not likely to happen. The Tigers might have cleared their first postseason goal of 2013, but they look very much like a team with one more mission left.