Joyous LSU fans welcome champs home
Associated Press Writer

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – National champion LSU got a raucous welcome home on Thursday as fans poured into Alex Box Stadium to cheer one more time for the 2009 College World Series winners.

About half the ballpark’s 8,786 seats were filled with Tiger fans – most of them in purple and gold – who watched a replay of Wednesday’s title win over Texas. The fans then gave standing ovations to the team’s 25 players and head coach Paul Mainieri as they strolled one by one onto the infield.

“I wanted to show some support for these kids. They played their hearts out just to get to Omaha,” said Tony Rambin, an insurance agent and 1980 LSU graduate who drove an hour from Mandeville, and rescheduled client appointments, to attend the Baton Rouge homecoming.

The players returned the thanks.

“Y’all are the greatest fans in the country. No doubt about it,” said All-American pitcher Louis Coleman, of Schlater, Miss., who struck out the final two Longhorn batters in the ninth inning on Wednesday.


Fans roared and chanted “LSU” as a flag was raised proclaiming the Tigers the 2009 national champs. The pennant joins five others at the centerfield wall commemorating national title teams in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000.

This year the team started with a No. 1 ranking in its brand-new stadium, won the Southeastern Conference and the SEC tournament before winning everything in Omaha.

Mainieri, in his third year at LSU, gave a victory shriek before thanking his players, coaching staff and fans for the victory. He said valuable players are graduating, and underclassmen will go pro, but he promised a strong squad in 2010.

“I know that next year, we’re going to make a run for it again,” he said, triggering more cheers.

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