OMAHA, Neb. — And the game ball goes to ... LSU "coach" Steve Scalise.
The first pitch of LSU's College World Series opener Saturday night against Florida State was quickly taken out of play in order to send it to Scalise, the Louisiana congressman wounded in a shooting incident Wednesday outside Washington.
The request was made by LSU, according to CWS officials.
Scalise, the House of Representatives majority whip, was seriously wounded Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, while he was taking part in a baseball practice for a charity game Thursday night at Nationals Park. Four other people were injured and the shooter died as U.S. Capitol Police returned fire.
A staffer for Scalise tweeted that the congressman was watching the game and “rooting hard for a big Tigers win tonight.” Scalise’s condition was upgraded earlier Saturday from critical to serious.
Scalise has been named an honorary coach for LSU during the CWS.
LSU starting pitcher Alex Lange said he didn't know at the time why home plate umpire Mark Uyl ordered the ball to be taken out of play.
"I just saw Pap (catcher Michael Papierski) calling for the ball," Lange said. "I thought I was putting spin on it or something. I was like, ‘Uh oh.' I thought I was in trouble.
"But that’s awesome, though. Just to support and everything we can do for him. What he’s going through, if we can be an outlet for Louisiana and the nation, if we can just take their minds off it for a little when the horrible things happen, if it brightens his day a little bit, I’m very, very happy."
Mike Gegenheimer contributed to this report.