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Fans watch as LSU hosts McNeese, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at Alex Box Stadium on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, LSU will allow full capacity in its stadiums and unrestricted tailgating on its campus.

One day after Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted a statewide mask mandate and allowed outdoor events to operate without capacity limitations, the school announced Wednesday it will permit 100% capacity at its outdoor athletic venues. It also lifted tailgating restrictions, and LSU will not require masks outdoors.

The new rules begin Friday night when LSU baseball starts a three-game series against No. 1 Arkansas. The modifications also applied to LSU softball's six remaining home games and the track & field team’s final home meet this Saturday.

"We are excited about the opportunity to welcome our fans back in full force this weekend," athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement. "This move is another positive step for us a campus and community."

Since LSU resumed sports last fall, its athletic venues have operated at a reduced capacity in accordance with the state’s reopening phases. LSU moved from 25% to 50% capacity for outdoor spring sports in early March.

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At the same time last month, LSU loosened restrictions on pregame tailgating, a beloved tradition the school had banned on campus to reduce the risk of transmission. LSU announced Wednesday "fans will also be allowed to resume normal tailgating activities on campus with no COVID-related restrictions."

So far this baseball season, LSU has averaged 3,318 fans at Alex Box Stadium. One of the biggest venues in college baseball, it holds 10,326 people, making LSU an annual leader in average attendance. Its largest announced crowd this year was 5,031 for a game against Mississippi State.

“We’re excited about that,” LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said Tuesday after finding out about the possibility LSU could return to full capacity. “I hope the weather cooperates, and I hope our fans come out and enjoy themselves.”

Last weekend, LSU experienced a full crowd for the first time since the pandemic began when it played at Ole Miss.

“That’s going to have a huge effect on how we play,” senior pitcher Ma’Khail Hilliard said. “Even though we have the same mindset every game of taking it pitch by pitch, out by out, that’s going to be a huge factor in how much better we play in key situations.”

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