The memories began flooding back the moment Steve Goldstein walked through the left field gate and entered Alex Box Stadium.
“It’s pretty special,” he said Thursday night ahead of LSU’s season-opening three-game series against Kansas.
Goldstein, Kansas’ designated hitter, was part of the Stony Brook team that beat LSU in the 2012 Baton Rouge super regional. Goldstein, who transferred from SB, hit a home run in LSU’s wild 5-4 extra-innings win in Game 1 of that series.
Goldstein and the Seawolves won the next two games to stun the Tigers. He had two hits in the decisive third game and drove in a pair of runs over the week.
“Playing college baseball, you don’t play in a lot of places like this, and I’ll always remember playing here. I’m excited to be back,” he said. “When I walked in the gate, memories came back.”
Goldstein had to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. He’ll likely make his first start in a baseball game in about 20 months on Friday when the Tigers and Jayhawks open their season at 7 p.m.
“He got maybe the greatest hit in Stony Brook baseball history when he hit that home run,” Kansas coach Ritch Price said. “We need a big year from him.”
Welcome to the South
Price and his baseball team boarded a place at the Kansas City airport on Thursday morning. It was 11 degrees, and the wind chill was minus-4.
“It was a freezing,” Price said.
They landed in New Orleans on Thursday afternoon to sunny skies and temperatures near 70 degrees.
The weather wasn’t the main reason Price called LSU coach Paul Mainieri a few years ago and asked to return to Alex Box Stadium for an early-season series – the Jawhawks have been here twice under Price. It’s the atmosphere at Alex Box, he said.
“We came here because it’s the greatest place in America to play,” Price said, glancing around an empty Alex Box before Kansas began practice. “I wanted our young players to have a chance to experience Alex Box Stadium and be a part of the great tradition that Coach (Skip) Bertman and Coach Mainieri and the rest of the great coaches here and players have made.
“I think you’ve got the greatest fans in America,” he continued. “It’s my favorite place I’ve ever been.”
Mainieri has set his opening day lineup and batting order: Mark Laird (RF), Alex Bregman (SS), Conner Hale (1B), Chris Chinea (DH), Jake Fraley (LF), Andrew Stevenson (CF), Kade Scivicque (C), Danny Zardon (3B) and Kramer Robertson (2B). … Under Price, Kansas has beaten LSU in both of their series at Alex Box (2003 and 2010). Price is 5-1 against the Tigers in those six games.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.