Sean Leary set a time limit for his team to spend on Bourbon Street: 20 minutes.
“Made sure that was a short stop,” a smiling Leary said Thursday.
Lehigh, LSU’s opponent for Friday’s NCAA Baton Rouge regional opener, spent much of Wednesday cruising around New Orleans before driving northwest. The team ate lunch in Jackson Square, had that short stop on Bourbon Street and visited one of the school’s former players at Zephyr Field.
Leary estimated that 90 percent of the team made their first trip to the Big Easy, including himself.
“Our guys spread out, and we really got a chance to take in a little bit of the culture down here,” said Leary, who’s spent the last 20 years leading the Pennsylvania program.
The Mountain Hawks (25-29) now turn their attention from Bourbon Street to Alex Box. They’ll meet the No. 2 national-seeded Tigers (48-10) at 3 p.m. Friday to open the four-team, double-elimination regional.
Baton Rouge was the dream destination for his team, Leary said. The Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League tournament to get the automatic bid and burst into celebration when seeing Monday where they landed.
“Sort of like the Duke of college baseball,” Leary said of LSU. “If you’re going to have a challenge and play a 1 seed, we know that we’re going to have our hands full no matter what. They just thought it would be awesome to be in an environment where people appreciate the game.”
Lehigh, making its second NCAA tournament appearance and first since 2006, took a tour of LSU’s campus before practicing at Alex Box Stadium on Thursday afternoon. It’s all part of the experience, Leary said.
“This is a little different environment than we’re used to,” Leary said. “Every minute we spend here is going to be a little more of a chance to get acclimated to the size of the place and the stage we’ll be on tomorrow.”
Tigers get four All-Americans
Louisville Slugger named LSU shortstop Alex Bregman and starting pitcher Alex Lange to its All-American first team.
Catcher Kade Scivicque made second team All-American and first baseman Chris Chinea was on the third team.
Bregman becomes the sixth two-time first-team All-American in LSU history. Bregman, who was also a first-team All-American in 2013, joins pitcher Ben McDonald, second baseman Todd Walker, first baseman Eddy Furniss, catcher Brad Cresse and pitcher Aaron Nola as LSU’s two-time first-team All-Americans.
LSU has sold out ticket books for this weekend’s NCAA regional. The school will begin selling individual game tickets and standing room-only tickets at 8 a.m. Friday at lsutix.net.
LSU (48-10) vs. Lehigh (25-29)
When: 3 p.m. Friday
Where: Alex Box Stadium
How they got here: LSU is an at-large and is the NCAA No. 2 overall national seed; Lehigh won the Patriot League tournament for an automatic bid
Projected starting pitchers: So. RHP Alden Cartwright (0-0, 3.79) vs. Sr. LHP Nick Macaione (3-4, 2.82)
TV: SEC Network
Online Streaming: ESPN3.com (also available on the WatchESPN app)
Radio: WDGL 98.1 FM (Baton Rouge); KLWB 103.7 FM (Lafayette); WWL 870 AM, WWL 105.3 FM (New Orleans)
In-game updates: @DellengerAdv, @Chandler_Rome
What to watch: LSU is capable of using more than a half-dozen pitchers in this game – none for much more than two innings. Coach Paul Mainieri and pitching coach Alan Dunn are treating it as they do many midweek games with the “Jack Wholestaff” approach, as Mainieri calls it. Alden Cartwright, a Baton Rouge native makes his first start of the season and will likely be gone by the third inning.
Know your opponent: The Mountain Hawks have an RPI of 239, a team ERA of 4.63 and a batting average of .266.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.