Scott Rapalais: Ed Sexton, LSU front row fan, stars in the LSU-less College World Series | LSU

In the year when the Tigers made it to the College World Series, an LSU fan in his purple LSU jersey sitting behind the home plate in Omaha would have plenty of company — and they wouldn’t raise any interest.

But LSU does not exist. The Tigers strapped their bats and gloves along with their dreams in the final stage of college baseball after their fall in southern Mississippi at the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional.

LSU has been to the CWS many times and will be there again. Ed Sexton never left Baton Rouge, himself a former Tiger player in the early 1970s. His older brother George has attended CWS for the past 15 years or so, but Ed never has.

Last fall I told my brother Don, ‘We’ve never been to the College World Series. Sexton said. “George is 85 and we’re going.” It was a wonderful experience.”

For George, a former high school and American Legion coach in North Carolina as well as a one-time assistant in East Carolina, the NCAA and CWS championships are a chance to catch up with his old friends. He and former Texas A&M coach Mark Johnson have lunch in Omaha every year. And when Notre Dame stunned Tennessee, ranked No. 1 in the regional super, Notre Dame coach and former ECU assistant Link Garrett George Sexton gave the ball from the final, a signature on it.

“It was really touching,” said Ed Sexton.

For Ed, his first trip to Omaha noted his bad reputation — thanks in large part to his purple LSU jersey (brother Don sat with him at all games in a gold LSU jersey).

“I bought all the cool hunting jerseys from LSU and wore purple one night and now I have to wear it to every game,” Sexton said.

Since he attended every CWS game before heading home on Thursday, seated behind the back podium at Charles Schwab Field (no longer TD Ameritrade Park), Ed Sexton didn’t have time to sample Omaha’s famous steak or throw in any jello shots. In the fan contest (just imagine how many shots LSU fans would have made). Nor did it make it to Barrett’s Barleycorn Pub, the Leavenworth Street watering hole which for years was the CWS gathering place for LSU fans.

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“I’m not much of a partner,” Sexton said. “After going to both games every day, I just wanted to go back to the hotel and go to bed.”

Instead, Omaha came to him when people saw that purple shirt, saying how much they miss the Tigers and their legions of big-spending fans. As most LSU baseball fans know, the Tigers haven’t been to the CWS since arriving in the Championship Series in 2017.

People come to me from Omaha and say, We want you to come back. We miss LSU here. “Your fans are the greatest,” said Sexton. “Nothing but compliments to LSU and LSU fans.”

Sexton played for LSU from 1970 to 1972, long before the program began making regular trips to Omaha and winning all six CWS titles. He played third base for two years, including games as a sophomore against Archie Manning when the former New Orleans Saints quarterback played a short role with the Ole Miss. As a senior, Sexton moved to second base, allowing Gerald Keigley, a wide receiver on the football team, to play third. Mike Miley, who played quarterback with the Tigers in 1973 before being drafted by the California Angels, played a short role. Miley made it up with the Angels before dying in a Baton Rouge car accident in January 1977.

Then their baseball coach was Jim Smith, whose main job was as equipment manager for the LSU football team. To say it was a different era for LSU baseball would be an understatement. Baseball was treated as a completely different sport at the time.

“Can you imagine skipping Bertman being the equipment manager and then coming after baseball coaching?” asked Sexton, laughing.

As much as Sexton has enjoyed CWS and his front row seats this year, there’s only one thing that would make it better.

“LSU will be here next year,” he said. “If LSU is here and George is able to come back, I’ll be back.”

Don’t forget the purple shirt.

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