OMAHA, Neb. — “Ooooh, that one’s out of here!”
“Dang! What a hit!”
“Man, he crushed it!”
LSU hitters put on a show for dozens of youth baseball players who watched the Tigers practice Thursday from Creighton University.
Kids enveloped the fences of the ballpark, hemming and hawing over coach Paul Mainieri’s band of big hitters. Purple-and-gold clad fans snapped photos and got autographs before, during and after practice.
Yep, LSU is back in Omaha.
“It’s awesome,” Mainieri said. “It’s really hard to put into words to describe the feeling of being here.”
The NCAA tournament No. 2 national seed, the Tigers (53-10) meet No. 7 national seed TCU (49-13) at 2 p.m. Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park. LSU practiced less than a mile away from the stadium Thursday afternoon at Creighton’s cozy baseball park amid a constant drizzle and temperatures around 70 degrees.
The low Thursday night was expected to be 60 degrees.
“We’re not worried about the weather,” an umbrella-toting Mainieri said as he watched his team practice on Creighton’s artificial turf.
LSU arrived in Omaha, Nebraska, at about 1 p.m. Thursday. Mainieri had the team bus drive past TD Ameritrade. Most of LSU’s players have never played in the stadium.
The Tigers will practice at the stadium at 1 p.m. Friday before an autograph session. Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 p.m. The team will arrive to the stadium earlier than normal Friday.
“Give them an hour to walk around it,” Mainieri said.
LSU normally doesn’t practice at Creighton’s baseball stadium during the CWS trip, but Mainieri wanted players to get used to the park because they might see it again Tuesday. If LSU wins Sunday, the Tigers will take batting practice before Tuesday’s winner bracket nightcap on Creighton’s all-artificial turf field.
Game 2 participants normally take batting practice in the batting cages at TD Ameritrade.
“Instead of hitting in the cages, I’m going to bring them down here to take BP so they can run around a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t want that to be the first time they’ve saw this field.”
Raking in the honors
Catcher Kade Scivicque, shortstop Alex Bregman and pitcher Alex Lange all reeled in more All-America honors Thursday, and there was a new name to add to the list: outfielder Andrew Stevenson.
Stevenson became the fifth LSU player to land on an All-America team this season, making third team D1Baseball.com and Baseball America. D1Baseball tabbed Scivicque as first team All-America, and he landed on Baseball America’s second team.
Bregman was first team on both, and Lange, the Tigers’ star freshman, made Baseball America’s first team and D1Baseball’s second team.
Chris Chinea is the fifth LSU All-American. He was on Collegiate Baseball’s third team, which was announced last week.
Skip Bertman Award finalist
Mainieri is one of eight finalists for the 2015 Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Award, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame announced Thursday.
The Skip Bertman Award, named for the legendary former LSU coach, honors the nation’s top collegiate coach from any level of college baseball. The award will be presented as part of the College Baseball Night of Champions ceremony June 29.
The other finalists for the Skip Bertman Award are Joe Brown of SUNY-Cortland, Dan Hartleb of Illinois, Doug Martin of Northwest Florida State College, Jeremiah Robbins of Lewis Clark State, Joe Urso of the University of Tampa, Jeff Willis of LSU-Eunice and Doug Wren of Tyler Junior College.
Advocate on the road
The Advocate is delivering 1,000 miles north of Baton Rouge.
The newspaper will begin daily delivery this weekend at three Omaha, Nebraska, locations and will continue as long as the Tigers are alive at the CWS.
- Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites (alumni hotel), 1501 Nicholas St., 68102
- Hyatt Old Market (team hotel), 540 S. 12th St., 68102
- Barrett’s Barleycorn, 4322 Leavenworth St., 68105
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.