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LSU in the NCAA Tournament - 1986 World Series
Skip Bertman's third LSU team finished the season ranked #2 in the nation with a 54-12 record to earn the school's first appearance in the College World Series in Omaha. Skip had been to the CWS five times as an assistant to Ron Frazier at Miami (FL). The 1982 Hurricanes won the national championship.
Bertman was optimistic. "The only drawback we have is the lack of our World Series experience. Our players are definitely capable. I like our chances."
Southpaw Mark Guthrie (9-1, 4.26 ERA) would start the opening game against another Omaha first-timer, Loyola Marymount, which deployed left-handed hitters in the middle of their lineup. The Lions countered with right-hander Tim Layana (17-2, 4.11 ERA).
Loyola took a 3-0 lead in the second when LSU RF Joey Belle lost the flight of a lazy fly ball off the bat of the Lions' Bobby DeJardin. Two runs scored when the ball fell out of Belle's glove in shallow right field for a two-base error. "The ball was right in the sun, or he (Belle) would have caught it," said Bertman afterward.

L-R: Mark Guthrie, Joey Belle, Jeff Reboulet, Jim Bowie
Belle had drilled a double to right field with two outs in the first inning, but the Tigers did not get another runner in scoring position until the sixth. Fortunately, Guthrie shut down the Lions without further damage through six innings.
Meanwhile Layana put up nothing but goose eggs through six. Belle said Tim's breaking pitches gave the Tigers problems. "It took us awhile to get used to their pitcher. He was turning the curveball over, and it was doing some wicked stuff."
LSU threatened in the top of the sixth when SS Jeff Reboulet and Belle ripped back-to-back sin­gles. But 1B Jim Bowie was called out on strikes and 3B Jeff Yurtin's drive to right field was pulled in at the fence.
The Tigers finally got on the board in the seventh on a pinch-hit single by Craig Faulkner to drive in DH Eric Johnson. Then they tied the game with two in the eighth. Layana walked Belle, and Bowie smacked a single to right field, sending Joey to third. Yurtin hit the ball hard but the second baseman made a leaping stab of his liner. C Rob Leary whistled an RBI single past DeJardin into center field. Bowie then scored the tying run on Johnson's grounder.

L-R: Jeff Yurtin, Craig Faulkner, Rob Leary, Barry Manuel
But Tiger euphoria didn't last long. Sophomore right-hander Barry Manuel, who had replaced Guthrie with one out in the sixth, gave up back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the eighth to put the Lions back in front 4-3.
2B Andy Galy walked to lead off the ninth before Loyola reliever Jeff Goettsch retired the next three Tigers in order to seal the victory.
LSU faced Maine (41-22) in an elimination game two days later. Co-captains Jeff Reboulet and Rob Leary called an impromptu team meeting before the game. "After the coaches talked to us," Reboulet said, "we told the team we needed to show people that we deserved to be here." "We knew we were better than a lot of teams here," added Yurtin. "We just wanted to produce and show people that we're legitimate."
Batting first again, the Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth before the Black Bears offense ended their hibernation. LSU scored two in the first on Reboulet's infield single, Belle's smash that Maine SS Mike Bordick couldn't handle, and Yurtin's 24th double of the season.
The Tigers topped that with three in the third. Yurtin, who would go four-for-four, got two more RBIs, this time with a bases loaded single. With Jeff on first and Bowie on third, C Rob Leary hit a grounder to 3B Mike Dutil. Bowie stayed at third as Dutil threw to second in hopes of starting an inning-ending double play. But Leary beat the throw to first. Bowie then make a feint for home that drew a throw to the catcher. Leary broke for second but backpedaled when the catcher fired to second. While the rundown on Leary was going on, Bowie broke for home and beat the throw to make it 5-0.
LSU added another run in the fourth and got one more in the sixth on 2B Burke Broussard's RBI grounder. Finally, Yurtin nailed his 10th homer in the 7th, a solo shot that gave him five RBIs for the day. Jeff also had four of LSU's eight hits.
Tiger starter Stan Loewer cruised through the first three innings before giving up a run in the fourth and another in the fifth. The Bears made it three scoring innings in a row when Bill Reynolds un­loaded a two-run homer that ended Loewer's mound stint. Bertman brought in freshman right-hander Dan Kite who walked the next batter. Skip then summoned lefty Gregg Patterson who not only got out of the 6th inning but shut out the Bears the rest of the way to preserve the 8-4 victory.
The Tigers were outhit 11-8 but got four double plays to subdue the Bears.
LSU got two scheduled days off and a third because of rain before resuming play against Skip's former school, Miami, the defending national champions. With his entire staff available, Skip selected left-hander Mark Guthrie (9-1) to start. Fraser chose Bob O'Brien.
With his fastball not popping, the Canes jumped on Guthrie for three runs in the first inning and hung on to win 4-3. The key clout was DH Chris Magno's two-run homer.
Belle delivered a solo homer in the bottom of the first against a strong wind to cut the lead to 3-1. The Tigers chased starting P Chris Lee in the fourth but failed to score when Leary hit into a double play.
Reliever Bob O'Brien held the Tigers hitless until the eighth when LF Jack Voigt launched a 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence for his ninth home run of the season. That cut the deficit to 4-2.
Belle smacked his second home run with one out in the bottom of the 9th to make it 4-3. Then Bowie went down swinging for the second out. Yurtin, the hero of the Maine game, swatted a 1-2 pitch for a high fly that fell about 10' short of the fence for the final out.
"The story of the three games we played in Omaha," said Bertman, "is that we just didn't hit the ball. Miami made all the plays that they had to make, but we had a lot of soft outs."

Golden Baseball Magazine