Tuesday, May 27, 2008

LSU Seventh Seed Hosts Regional

LSU (43-16-1) will open the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at 1 p.m. Friday when the Tigers face Texas Southern (16-32) in Alex Box Stadium. LSU, which has won 20 straight games, is the No. 1 seed in the Baton Rouge Regional while Texas Southern, champions of the SWAC Tournament, is the No. 4 seed. The second game of the regional will feature No. 2 seed Southern Mississippi versus No. 3 seed New Orleans at 6 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium. The regional continues with games on Saturday and Sunday, with an “if necessary” game on Monday. “We’re very excited to be back at Alex Box Stadium for a regional,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who directed the Tigers last weekend to the SEC Tournament title. “I’m extremely proud of what our team has accomplished so far, but we still have a lot of work to do. The NCAA Tournament separates the men from the boys, so we know we have a great challenge in front of us.” The Baton Rouge Regional champion will face the Lincoln Regional champion in an NCAA Super Regional series. LSU, which is the No. 7 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, would play host to the Super Regional if the Tigers win the Baton Rouge Regional. LSU is playing host to a regional for the 18th time, and for the first time since 2005. Tickets for the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional are on sale now to LSU baseball season ticket holders and to LSU students. Regional tickets will remain on sale to season ticket holders and students until 5 p.m. on Tuesday . Regional ticket booklets are $75 (gold seats), $65 (grandstand seats) and $50 (bleacher seats). Season ticket holders may place their orders at http://www.lsusports.net/?SPSID=27865&SPID=2173&DB_OEM_ID=5200, or by phone at 225-578-2184 or 800-960-8587. Orders may also be placed in person at the LSU ticket office. The ticket office is located on the first floor of the LSU athletic administration building. LSU students may reserve ticket booklets by logging into their online accounts at http://www.lsusports.net/?SPSID=27865&SPID=2173&DB_OEM_ID=5200. The deadline for students to request tickets is 5 p.m. Tuesday. Regional tickets not purchased by season ticket holders or LSU students by 5 p.m. Tuesday will go on sale to the general public at 8 a.m. Thursday. Should any individual-session tickets be available, they will go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri and his players met with the media Monday afternoon after the 64-team field for the NCAA Baseball Tournament was announced on ESPN. LSU opens the Baton Rouge Regional at 1 p.m. Friday versus Texas Southern: LSU coach Paul Mainieri
On what it means to “bring back” the baseball program... “I don’t think we are all the way back yet. I think we have accomplished some things and I’m very proud. The goal is to get to Omaha and to win when we get there. No matter what happens the rest of this season, I don’t think it will take away the accomplishments that this team has had this year. “I do feel like it is back with the quality of the kids that we have in this program.These kids love LSU and LSU baseball. They play for the name on the front of their jersey and not the one on the back.” “I’ve told Skip [Bertman] I don’t know how many times, ‘Skip, I just want to make you proud.’ I hope that I’ve done that. If everyone that follows the LSU program is proud of the way the kids conduct themselves and the way they play the game, then I feel like we are well on our way to getting the job done.” On how difficult it was to put together the right combination for this team... “It’s not that difficult. It just takes time. I knew when (associate head coach) Terry Rooney recruited this class that we were going to be a lot better. All throughout the fall practice, they had a great attitude and I could see the talent. I felt like it was going to be very important to get the pieces of the puzzle to fit together in the right way to find the right position for everyone. Then, it took about 20 to 30 games. We had success in those games. We beat Indiana twice the opening weekend, but stumbled on Sunday. “It takes time in those 20 to 30 games to find the right pieces of the puzzle. Then, the kids continuously have to embrace their role. I think now, every kid on this team understands his role, knows what is expected of him and doesn’t want to let his teammates down.” On the announcement of UNO, Southern Miss and Texas Southern in the Baton Rouge regional... “First of all, I am very proud of UNO. I am an alumnus of UNO. I played there for two years and I think Tom Walter has done a spectacular job with that program. UNO is very lucky to have him as a coach. He is a tremendous coach and his staff is outstanding. Their players play the game the right way. They play hard and are aggressive and confident. We had three tremendous ball games with them this year. All three games were decided in the last at-bat. There is no question that we have the utmost respect for them. They are going to be a tremendous challenge.” “Southern Mississippi’s team is phenomenal. We played there earlier this year. With 5,000 people at the game, it was a tremendous atmosphere. It was a great ball game from our standpoint because we took control of the game early, and then held them off at the end. I’m sure Southern Miss is going to come in here and let it rip. They are going to be a tough team.” “I don’t know as much about Texas Southern right now, but obviously, I’m going to get in there and study them as hard as I can.” “I think it is going to be a great regional. I’m excited about UNO being here. I love UNO, their program and the way Tom [Walter] has done his job there. They are going to be a great challenge, but we don’t play them first. We don’t even know if we will play them, so right now, our attention is focused on Texas Southern.”

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