LSU set for regional; denied national seed

LSU's Alex Box Stadium has been selected as an NCAA Baseball Regional host site for the 15th straight season, the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced Sunday. <br><br> However, the team learned Monday if it were to escape the Baton Rouge Regional, the Tigers will travel if they hope to make it to Omaha.

LSU will play host to an NCAA regional tournament for the 15th straight season and for the 16th time overall. The NCAA Baton Rouge Regional begins on Friday, June 4 and continues through Sunday, June 6.

 

"It's great to be playing right now; there are only 64 teams, and after Sunday, there will be only 16 ball clubs," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "We're proud of what we did in the SEC and excited to be a regional host against what will be a very tough field."

 

The Baton Rouge Regional will feature No. 1 seed LSU, followed by 2nd seeded Southern Miss, the No. 3-seed College of Charleston and 4th seeded Army

 

Ticket booklets for the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at Alex Box Stadium will go on sale at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the LSU ticket office.

 

Regional ticket booklets are $45, and they may be purchased by phone (800-960-8587 or 225-578-2184), on-line at www.lsusports.net, or in person at the LSU ticket office, which is located on the first floor of the athletic administration building. Phone and on-line orders will include a processing fee.

 

Individual-game tickets, which are $10 each, will be sold on game days only.

 

Payments may be made by cash, check, VISA, MasterCard or American Express.

 

Friday's first-round schedule features LSU vs. Army at 2 p.m. and Southern Mississippi vs. College of Charleston at 6:30 p.m.

 

"I know Army beat the University of Florida in Gainesville, and I know they have a left-hander named Nick Hill who's allowing just a .178 opponent batting average," Laval said. "He was the pitcher of the year in their league. The other two ball clubs (Charleston and Southern Miss) can really hit, but that's about all we know right now."

 

Three games will be played on Saturday at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and the championship game will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday. A second championship game, if necessary, would be played at 5 p.m. Sunday.

 

The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee set the entire 64-team bracket Monday morning through both the super regionals and the first round of the Men's College World Series. The committee will not reseed the field after play begins.

 

LSU was not one of the eight national seeds, which are predetermined sites for the the all-important super regional.

 

"You don't have control over that; that's the bottom line," Laval said. "One more win here

or there, and maybe we would have been one of the top eight. It doesn't make any difference, we have a very tough Army team first, and that's all we're concerned with."

 

The way bracket unfolds, LSU will travel to face defending national champion Rice in a super regional at Reckling Park in Houston. The Owls swept the Tigers in the super regional round in 2002.

 

"We could have done better than we did this year, we let a few games slip away from us, but it doesn't mean we're not a good team," said junior right fielder Jon Zeringue. "We've got a tough regional, and that's what we want, a chance to play the best competition. Hopefully, we'll come out of it as a winner and have a chance to take the next step."

 

A poor showing the SEC Tournament last week sealed LSU's fate of garnering a super regional.

 

"We went 0-2 in the SEC Tournament, and you can't expect to get a top seed when that happens," said junior left fielder Ryan Patterson. "We're just glad we're in the tournament, we're hosting a regional here, and we get a shot to go to Omaha. That's all we can ask for."

 

All 16 regional sites were selected Sunday by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee.

 

The 16 regional sites, with host institutions and records through Saturday, May 29, are as follows: Fayetteville, Arkansas (Arkansas, 39-21); Fullerton, California (California State, Fullerton, 36-20); Kinston, North Carolina (East Carolina, 48-11); Tallahassee, Florida (Florida State, 41-20); Athens, Georgia (Georgia, 38-20); Atlanta, Georgia (Georgia Tech, 41-18); Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Louisiana State, 41-17); Coral Gables, Florida (Miami, Fla., 44-11); Oxford, Mississippi (Mississippi, 39-19); South Bend, Indiana (Notre Dame, 49-10); Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Oklahoma, 37-22); Houston, Texas (Rice, 42-12); Columbia, South Carolina (South Carolina, 44-15); Palo Alto, California (Stanford, 44-11); Austin, Texas (Texas, 50-13); Charlottesville, Virginia (Virginia, 42-13).

 

All regionals are campus sites except East Carolina (Grainger Stadium in Kinston, North Carolina) and Oklahoma (SBC Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City).

 

By virtue of being awarded a regional, 12 of the host institutions also have been selected as at-large teams to the 64-team field, but some could win automatic berths Sunday in their respective conference tournaments. Cal State Fullerton, Notre Dame, Rice and Stanford already have clinched automatic berths.

 

Mississippi and Virginia will host a regional for the first time, while eight sites (Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Rice, Stanford, Texas) also hosted in 2003.

 

This will be the 23rd time that Florida State has hosted a regional, while Miami and Texas are hosting for the 20th time since the NCAA went to the regional format in 1975. LSU is hosting a regional for the 16th time, while Stanford (13th), South Carolina (10th), Georgia Tech (sixth), Cal St. Fullerton (fourth), Notre Dame (fourth), Rice (fourth), Arkansas (second), and Georgia (second) have hosted in the past as well.

 

East Carolina has hosted a regional before, but it was in Wilson, North Carolina. This will be the first regional held in Kinston, North Carolina. This will be the fifth time that Oklahoma has served as host institution, with three of those regionals being held in Oklahoma City.

 

Thirty Division I conferences receive an automatic berth in the field of 64, along with 34 at-large selections.


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