LSU received a national seed in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history.
The entire 64-team field was announced Monday, and the Tigers picked up the No. 2 national seed. That was a bit of a surprise as LSU held a consensus No. 1 ranking in the human polls through most of the final two months of the season. LSU has never been picked as the No. 1 overall seed since the NCAA began picking national seeds in 1999.
The Tigers are at least considered among the top eight teams in the country though, and that's a good sign. LSU has advanced to the College World Series in five of the previous seven tournaments in which they were ranked a national seed.
"I thought we were deserving of [the No. 1 national seed]," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "But whether we're No. 1 or No. 8, it doesn't really matter because all you have to do is be a national seed to have the advantages."
That means the road to Omaha runs through Alex Box Stadium as LSU can host all the way to the CWS if it wins out. That starts with the Regional round this weekend.
LSU will host No. 2 UNC-Wilmington, No. 3 Tulane and No. 4 Lehigh in the Baton Rouge regional. LSU will start its tournament run at 3 p.m. Friday against Lehigh.
The Baton Rouge regional is paired with Houston regional, hosted by the team that eliminated LSU from the tournament a year ago. Houston will play host to No. 2 Rice, No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 4 Houston Baptist.
Should both the Tigers and Cougars advance to the next round, it will set up a rematch of last year's regional in Baton Rouge when Houston shocked LSU to win two straight games and eliminate them from the tournament.
"We learned a very valuable lesson last year that you can't look ahead," Mainieri said. "All we want to do is be 1-0 after Friday."
LSU knows it has to get through its own regional before thinking of the next round.
UNC-Wilmington made the field as the champions of the Colonial Athletic Association with a 39-16 record overall and 18-5 mark in conference. The Seahawks went 3-0 against teams that were ranked at the time of their game.
Tulane and LSU played twice during the regular season at each team's home stadium. The Tigers won both contests by a combined score of 19-6, shutting out the Green Wave, 6-0, on April 21. Tulane made the field as an at-large.
Lehigh, the alma mater of LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, won the Patriot League tournament over the weekend to claim its spot in the NCAA Tournament. Lehigh did not play a team from a power five conference during the regular season.
"I don't know anything about Lehigh, and I don't know much about UNC-Wilmington," Mainieri said. "I do know Tulane very well, and I know our first game is against Lehigh, and that's what we're going to focus on at this point."
LSU and Tulane are two of the three teams from Louisiana to make the field. ULL is the third as No. 3 seed in the Houston Regional.
The SEC placed seven teams in the tournament, including national seeds LSU and Florida. Vanderbilt and Texas A&M will host regionals, while Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn all made the tournament.
LSU receives No. 2 national seed
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