Taking his LSU team to the 2017 College World Series is no different this time around for Paul Mainieri than the other five trips he’s made to Omaha -- the last four as the Tigers’ head coach and one with Notre Dame.

“Personally, this is my sixth trip and I’m telling you, they’re all exciting … every time,” a beaming Mainieri said as he and his team prepared to board buses for the short ride to the airport Thursday morning.

Meeting with reporters outside Alex Box Stadium, where fourth-seeded LSU clinched a super regional early Monday against Mississippi State to qualify for the school’s 18th CWS appearance, Mainieri said he wants his team to enjoy the experience.

Yet, there’s obviously still much work to be done -- starting with the Tigers’ CWS opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against Florida State in TD Ameritrade Park. The game will be televised by ESPN.

“When you go to Omaha, it’s a balancing act because it’s a reward for having a tremendous year, and in a lot of ways, you want your players to really enjoy the experience,” Mainieri said. “How many baseball players, or coaches, or staff members, have an opportunity to experience the College World Series in Omaha?

“So you want to make sure they soak it all in and that they enjoy the experience,” he said. “On the other hand, you also really want to win. … It’s a lot more fun to bring back the big trophy.”

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Mainieri’s previous CWS experience came with Notre Dame in 2002 and with LSU in 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2015.

“I’m anxious, I’m excited,” he said of going back a sixth time. “This is a great group of kids to take to Omaha. Even though probably only a third of the team has been to Omaha (2015) and has that experience, the guys all just seem very cool and calm and excited … and confident, more than anything.

“So I don’t think the stage is going to be too big for them and I think they’re going to play with a lot of poise and composure. I think we’ll play well.”

Before departing, Mainieri took a moment to offer his thoughts and prayers to Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, who was shot Wednesday morning while practicing for a Congressional baseball game in Washington.

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“Hopefully, he’s recovering well,” Mainieri said. “I’ve met him several times; he’s a wonderful guy. He’s an LSU graduate and just loves LSU baseball.”

LSU sent caps and T-shirts for legislators to wear at the game tonight in honor of Scalise, a Metairie native and 1989 LSU grad.

“Hopefully, it’ll bring a little joy to him and he’ll have a full recovery,” Mainieri said.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.