LSU happy to be home for super regional

LSU is in line to host its second super regional after Sunday's 9-8 extra-inning victory over North Carolina-Wilmington in the championship game of the 2003 Baton Rouge regional.<br><br>The Tigers will meet Baylor in a best-of-three super regional series next weekend with the winner earning a berth in the College World Series.

Baylor won the Hattiesburg, Miss., regional over host school Southern Mississippi.

There have not been many things in college baseball that LSU has not accomplished with great frequency. But since the NCAA Touranment field expanded to 64 teams and went to the super regional format in 1999, the Tigers have been on the road three out of the last four years and lost all three series super regional series.

The only time LSU has hosted a super regional was in 2000 when the Tigers swept UCLA at Alex Box Stadium en route to the program's fifth national championship.

The dates of the Baton Rouge super regional will be announced Monday at 11 a.m. The best-of-three series will either be played Friday through Sunday, or Saturday through Monday. All games will be televised by ESPN.

Despite being the host team for the super regional and having a distinct home field advantage, LSU head coach Smoke Laval said his team must come out and play well against Baylor. The Tigers were swept and shutout in two games at Rice last year, Laval's first as head coach of the Tigers.

"I think even if Rice came over here last year, it wouldn't have made a difference," Laval said. "For 48 hours last year, Rice was as good of a team all-around that we had seen. If Baylor gets hot at that time, we're going to be in trouble.

"Hopefully we'll play our best, but I much rather have it (super regional) here than on the road. We still though have to come out and play well to advance."

Coming into the 2003 season, senior right-hander Bo Pettit said hosting a super regional was a top priority for the Tigers.

"We started off with a lot of goals," Pettit said. "The first was just winning the SEC, the next was hosting a sub-regional, and the next was hosting a super (regional). Now that we've accomplished those, the trick is we have to come out and try and reach our ultimate goal which is winning in Omaha."

The only member remaining from LSU 2000 championship squad, Pettit hopes the Alex Box Stadium crowd will give the Tigers some help against the Bears.

"It means a lot to us," Pettit said. "Last year it was unfortunate because we had to play on the road against Rice which was a good ball club. Having the super regional here and hopefully having some of the Alex Box magic on our side will be nothing but good for us. Its going to be a good weekend, I just hope it's hot."

Shortstop Aaron Hill, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, said he cannot wait for the weekend.

"It's very nice to finally be playing at home with a trip to Omaha on the line," Hill said. "You can't play in front of a better crowd. We appreciate these fans so much. It's going to be a lot of fun and they are going to love it."

Starting Monday at 8 a.m., LSU season ticket holders may purchase tickets at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office, or by phone at (225) 578-2184 or (800) 960-8587. Payment may be made with cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Any ticket not purchased by 5 p.m. Wednesday will go on sale to the general public at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The price of the super regional ticket books will be $35 for chairbacks, $30 for grandstand, and $25 for bleachers. Parking passes are $15

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