LSU baseball's power-hitting third baseman Tommy ‘Tanks' White just dropped the hammer to send the Tigers to the College World Series Final, and send Wake Forest home. His walk-off moonshot in the bottom of the 11th was the clutchest hit of his life.
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) June 23, 2023
Thursday's semifinal game was a classic nail-biter, a true pitchers' duel. White's home run was only the eighth hit of the game and put the only runs of the night on the board.
Paul Skenes was on the mound for LSU, and Rhett Lowder had the ball for Wake Forest. This win-or-go-home battle brought out the best from arguably the two best pitchers in the country.
Skenes was untouchable. 8 innings pitched, no runs allowed, two hits, and nine strikeouts. He chewed through the No. 1 team in the country with his effortless triple-digit fastball. Skenes threw 120 pitches and allowed just three baserunners all night.
Paul Skenes, 101mph Fastball (home plate view).
Don't Blink. 😳 pic.twitter.com/1KQMsoV2y3
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 22, 2023
Lowder also gave an excellent performance. 7 innings, no runs, three hits, six strikeouts.
Both teams went to the bullpen, and it was more of the same. LSU's relievers completed the shutout, and Wake Forest's pen put in three more innings of scoreless work.
In the top of the 11th, Wake Forest got two runners on with two outs to bring up slugger Brock Wilken. Wilken led the nation with 31 homers this season, but wasn't able to deliver in this incredibly tense moment.
On to the bottom of the 11th, here comes the minefield that is the top of LSU's lineup. Center fielder Dylan Crews did what college baseball's best hitter does. He ripped a line shot into left field to put the winning run on base — and to bring up Tommy Tanks.
Wake Forest skipper Tom Walter went to the pen in favor of Camden Minacci. That's a brutal situation to walk into as a closer.
The hero of the evening Tommy White tore into the first pitch he saw, and the rest is history.
No. 5 LSU takes on No. 2 Florida Saturday night for the first of a 3-game College World Series finals.
This was as epic as the semifinal elimination game could have been. The LSU-Florida finals promise to be just as exciting.