Katz still glad he put off pro ball to play at LSU
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Mason Katz loved playing college baseball so much that he told major-league teams last year to not waste a draft pick on him. He was returning to LSU for his senior season.
"I have zero regrets,'' Katz said minutes after the Tigers were eliminated from the College World Series with a 4-2 loss to North Carolina on Tuesday.
"It was the best baseball season of my life, regardless of winning it. I never would want to play with another group of guys.''
Katz accounted for the Tigers' only two RBIs in the CWS, homering in a 2-1 loss to UCLA on Sunday, and singling twice and walking three times against the Tar Heels.
"For me, this one stings more than any of them because I'm done now,'' he said. "This is why we came here, this is why we came back. But as time goes on, we'll get back to Baton Rouge, we'll be able to kind of sit back and look at the great things we did do this year.''
LSU (57-11) set a school record with 48 regular-season wins, tied the mark for total wins and won the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Katz made all but one of his 68 starts at first base and led the Tigers with 16 homers and 70 RBIs.
"Pretty remarkable season besides winning the big thing,'' Katz said. "We had expectations of winning it all, but there's only one team that can win it all.''
Now Katz will get on with his professional life. He was drafted in the fourth round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
HE'S NO KOUFAX: Indiana coach Tracy Smith is looking for more tenacity out of his batters when the Hoosiers play Oregon State in an elimination game Wednesday.
The Hoosiers struck out 14 times in Monday's 5-4 loss to Mississippi State. Left-hander Chad Girodo struck out 10 in 6 1-3 innings of relief.
"I was just a little upset about our lack of competitiveness in the batter's box,'' Smith said, "and that's taking absolutely nothing away from Girodo. He's good. He's really good. But he's not Sandy Koufax.''
OLD-SCHOOL CHEER: Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler had lots of familiar faces cheering for him when he went to the mound against Louisville on Monday.
The coach from his alma mater, Clackamas (Ore.) High, brought the school's baseball team to Omaha to play in a tournament and watch Wetzler compete in the CWS.
"I saw them all before the game,'' Wetzler said. "They were all down the left-field line, and I gave them a wave.''
Wetzler, who worked the first 6 1-3 innings in the Beavers' 11-4 win, remains close with Clackamas head coach John Arntson and assistant Tom Bohlman. He said he texts with both almost every day.
"They're big parts of my life, and they've definitely been through a lot this year, and it was a pretty cool experience to have them come out and watch the game,'' Wetzler said.
CARDINALS ARE NO THIEVES: Louisville, the first team eliminated, was second in the nation in stolen bases but never could get its running game going in its two losses.
Indiana and Oregon State started left-handed pitchers to better keep runners in check, and the Cardinals rarely found themselves in base-stealing situations.
The Cards, whose 150 steals were second to Wofford, went back-to-back games without a stolen base for only the second time this season.
"You can't steal first base, as the saying goes,'' coach Dan McDonnell said. "You've got to get guys on base. And the more guys you have on base, the more opportunities you have. When you're up a little, it does go to our style.''
Louisville never led in either game. In fact, the Cards were down 10-0 in the fourth inning against Oregon State.
"The steal is great, but the threat of the steal is just as effective,'' he said. "It's hard to be as aggressive and run when you're down.''
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