Not done yet: LSU makes NCAA baseball field

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The Paul Mainieri era at LSU has been held over for at least one more weekend.

Mainieri’s Tigers landed on the good side of the bubble and were named as an at-large selection to the NCAA baseball championship Monday. LSU (34-22) is the No. 3 seed in the Eugene Regional and will play second-seeded Gonzaga (33-17) in the opening round Friday at 9 p.m. CT.

The Tigers’ selection didn’t come without drama – the Eugene bracket was the second-to-last bracket revealed on the nationally televised selection show. Surprisingly, LSU was not one of the last four teams in as revealed by the selection committee, though most projections had the Tigers as one of the last teams to get in the field.

Three other Louisiana schools are in the field: Louisiana Tech will host a regional for the first time in Ruston as the No. 16 national seed and will meet Rider in the first round; Southland Conference tournament champion McNeese is the No. 4 seed in the Fort Worth Regional, where it will meet No. 6 overall seed TCU, and Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament champ Southern University is the No. 4 seed in the Austin Regional, where it meets No. 2 overall seed Texas.

Tech, McNeese and Southern all woke up Monday knowing they would play this weekend. That wasn’t the case for the Tigers.

LSU’s No. 28 RPI was certainly good enough, but a 13-17 regular-season mark in Southeastern Conference play and a first-round exit from the SEC Tournament had the Tigers firmly on the bubble, a position that got more tenuous with tournament losses by teams like Campbell, East Carolina, Fairfield and Liberty.

Mainieri, who announced his retirement Friday effective at the end of the season, will finish his career in the postseason, just like the man who hired him 15 years ago, Skip Bertman.

It is the ninth consecutive NCAA appearance for the Tigers, but since Bertman became head coach in 1984, it is only the sixth time LSU is traveling in the regional round. Mainieri’s teams have played twice previously on the road in regional play, and they’ve all been to Pac-12 schools – in 2010 at UCLA, 2018 at Oregon State and this year at Oregon.

Oregon meets Central Connecticut in the other game at Eugene.

The other matchup in Ruston features second-seeded North Carolina State and No. 3 seed Alabama.

McNeese and Southern advanced as conference champions in 2019, the last time the tournament was held. Besides its first-ever host role, Louisiana Tech is in the field for only the second time since 1987.

Regional play begins Friday in Ruston and 15 other sites around the country.

2021 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Games Friday, June 4, 2021 (all times Eastern)

Click here for full bracket.

Fayetteville Regional hosted by Arkansas

#1 Arkansas (46-10) vs. #4 NJIT (26-22), 3 p.m., ESPN3

#2 Nebraska (31-12) vs. #3 Northeastern (36-10), 8 p.m., ESPN3

Austin Regional hosted by Texas

#1 Texas (42-15) vs. #4 Southern U. (20-28), 2 p.m., LHN

#2 Arizona State (32-20) vs. #3 Fairfield (37-3), 7 p.m., ESPN3

Knoxville Regional hosted by Tennessee

#2 Duke (32-20) vs. #3 Liberty (39-14), 12 p.m., ACCN

#1 Tennessee (45-16) vs. #4 Wright State (35-11), 6 p.m., ESPN3

Nashville Regional hosted by Vanderbilt

#2 Georgia Tech (29-23) vs. #3 Indiana State (30-19), 1 p.m., ESPN3

#1 Vanderbilt (40-15) vs. #4 Presbyterian (22-21), 7 p.m., SECN

Tucson Regional hosted by Arizona

#2 Oklahoma State (35-17-1) vs. #3 UC Santa Barbara (39-18), 4 p.m., ESPN3

#1 Arizona (40-15) vs. #4 Grand Canyon (39-19-1), 10 p.m., ESPN3

Fort Worth Regional hosted by TCU

#2 Oregon State (34-22) vs. #3 DBU (37-15), 2 p.m., ESPN3

#1 TCU (40-17) vs. #4 McNeese (32-28), 7 p.m., ESPN3

Starkville Regional hosted by Mississippi State

#1 Mississippi State (40-15) vs. #4 Samford (35-22), 3 p.m., ESPN3

#2 VCU (37-14) vs. #3 Campbell (35-16), 8 p.m., ESPN3

Lubbock Regional hosted by Texas Tech

#1 Texas Tech (36-15) vs. #4 Army West Point (28-23), 12 p.m., ESPNU

#2 UCLA (35-18) vs. #3 North Carolina (27-25), 7 p.m., TBD

Stanford Regional hosted by Stanford

#1 Stanford (33-14) vs. #4 North Dakota State (41-17), 4 p.m., ESPN3

#2 UC Irvine (40-16) vs. #3 Nevada (25-18), 9 p.m., ESPN3

South Bend Regional hosted by Notre Dame

#1 Notre Dame (30-11) vs. #4 Central Michigan (40-16), 1 p.m., ESPN3

#2 UConn (33-17) vs. #3 Michigan (27-17), 7 p.m., ESPN3

Columbia Regional hosted by South Carolina

#2 South Carolina (33-21) vs. #3 Virginia (29-23), 12 p.m., ESPN2

#1 Old Dominion (42-14) vs. #4 Jacksonville (16-32), 7 p.m., ESPN3

Oxford Regional hosted by Ole Miss

#2 Southern Miss (37-19) vs. #3 Florida State (30-22), 3 p.m., ESPNU

#1 Ole Miss (41-19) vs. #4 Southeast Missouri State (30-20), 8 p.m., ESPN3

Greenville Regional hosted by East Carolina 

#1 East Carolina (41-15) vs. #4 Norfolk State (25-26), 12 p.m., ESPN3

#2 Charlotte (39-19) vs. #3 Maryland (28-16), 6 p.m., ESPN3

Eugene Regional hosted by Oregon

#1 Oregon (37-14) vs. Central Connecticut State (28-13), 5 p.m., ESPN3

#2 Gonzaga (33-17) vs. #3 LSU (34-22), 10 p.m., ESPN3

Gainesville Regional hosted by Florida

#1 Florida (38-20) vs. #4 South Florida (28-27), 12 p.m., SECN

#2 Miami (FL) (32-19) vs. #3 South Alabama (33-20), 5 p.m., ACCN

Ruston Regional hosted by Louisiana Tech

#2 NC State (30-17) vs. #3 Alabama (31-24), 3 p.m., ESPN3

#1 Louisiana Tech (40-18) vs. #4 Rider (23-16), 7 p.m., ESPN3

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Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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