The second game of the NCAA Baton Rouge regional, which was scheduled to be played Friday night at Alex Box Stadium, will lead off what officials hope is a long day of baseball Saturday.
Weather permitting, officials hope to get three games in starting at 9 a.m. with the Southeastern Louisiana-Rice contest that was to have been played Friday night.
Their game was postponed just after 6 p.m. with the regional opener between LSU and Utah Valley in the midst of a 6-hour, 34-minute weather delay as a result of persistent rain and lightning that rolled into the area around 1:30 p.m.
Top-seeded LSU and No. 4 seed Utah Valley, which was supposed to start at 2 p.m., didn’t get under way until 8:34 p.m. — about 75 minutes after the rain finally subsided and the grounds crew was able to pull the tarp back and prepare the field for play.
Assuming Game 2 between No. 2 seed Rice and third-seeded Southeastern is played in a timely fashion, the tournament will resume its normal schedule.
But there is a potential obstacle: A 55 percent chance of rain at mid-morning, which rises to 70 percent by 4 p.m.
The Rice-Southeastern loser will have to turn around quickly and play an elimination game at 2 p.m. against Utah Valley, which fell to LSU 7-1 late Friday night.
LSU will face the Game 2 winner at 7 p.m. — again, weather permitting.
Utah Valley, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, made history when the Wolverines played in the NCAA tournament for the first time Friday night.
Utah Valley nearly made its first tournament appearance in 2012. The Wolverines went 47-12 with a 32-game winning streak — two games shy of the NCAA record — and finished 28-0 in Great West Conference play.
Even though Utah Valley won its conference tournament, the league did not have an automatic NCAA tournament bid and the Wolverines weren’t chosen for the 64-team field.
Fraley swipes another
LSU center fielder Jake Fraley, who smashed a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning of the Tigers’ win, picked up his 27th stolen base in the sixth when he took second base after a walk.
Fraley now has a team-leading 27 steals in 34 attempts this season.
The junior from Middletown, Delaware, also moved into seventh place on the school’s all-time stolen base list with 58 for his three-year career.
Saving the day
Because LSU was able to get its game in when the weather finally abated, the school averted what would have been a complete washout on the opening day of an NCAA regional for the first time in school history.
LSU is hosting a regional for the 24th time, including the 23rd time in the past 27 seasons.
Moment of silence
Prior to the long-awaited start of the LSU-Utah Valley game, fans were asked to observe a moment of silence for Vanderbilt freshman pitcher Donny Everett.
Everett, 19, died Thursday night in a drowning accident in Coffee County, Tennessee, on the eve of the Commodores hosting the NCAA Nashville regional.
Everett drowned when he tried to swim across a river while on an outing with some of his teammates.
NCAA representatives requested a moment of silence be held at all 32 first-round tournament games being held across the nation.
LSU relief pitcher Hunter Newman had the initials DE with a cross next to it written on the side of his cap Friday night.
At least two Tigers — third baseman Chris Reid and shortstop Kramer Robertson — took to Twitter to express their thoughts.
Reid tweeted: “RIP Donny, what a great pitcher, person and past teammate. Gone way too early…”
Said Robertston: “Thoughts and prayers for the family & friends of Donny Everett and the entire Vanderbilt community.”
Everett did not pitch in a three-game series against LSU in early April in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri is now 19-4 in NCAA regional games — including an 18-2 mark at Alex Box — in his 10-year career with the Tigers. ... LSU improved to 89-21 all-time in NCAA regional action for a .809 winning percentage and 78-16 (.830) in regional games at home. ... Every LSU starter had a hit Friday night in the Tigers’ 12-hit attack. ... LSU starting pitcher Jared Poché matched his career high with eight strikeouts against Utah Valley. ... In their last 17 games, in which LSU has gone 15-2, Tigers’ pitchers have a 2.65 ERA with 120 strikeouts in 156 innings. Opponents are hitting just .228 against them in that stretch.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.