Tulane-LSU matchup tops storylines of four state schools in NCAA baseball tournament
As soon as Tulane wrapped up its improbable American Athletic Conference baseball tournament championship Sunday afternoon, the speculation began.
On Monday, the speculation turned into reality.
The Green Wave will make the hour-long trip up I-10 to face its longtime rival, LSU, in the opening round of the Baton Rouge Regional Friday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The opening game of the tournament is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.
LSU was awarded a host site Sunday night and on Monday was named the No. 5 national seed, ensuring that the Tigers will be at home for both a regional and a possible super regional. The Baton Rouge Regional is paired with the Lexington Regional, where the Tigers’ SEC rival, Kentucky, is the No. 12 national seed.
Back in 1893, Tulane and LSU met in baseball in what was the first intercollegiate sporting event for both schools.
This will be the ninth NCAA Tournament meeting between the Green Wave and Tigers, and the first in 20 years, when LSU defeated Tulane 13-5 in the “marble game” of the Baton Rouge Regional in 2003 at the old Alex Box.
Only once along the way have the teams met in the first round of the tournament. Back in 1987, the NCAA turned a six-team regional at the University of New Orleans into a “Louisiana Invitational.” Five Louisiana schools were in the field, and all were sent to the Lakefront, including third-seeded LSU and fourth-seeded Tulane.
Behind a complete game from Gregg Patterson, LSU won 5-3. Patterson came back three days later to defeat top-seeded Cal State Fullerton to send Skip Bertman’s Tigers to their second consecutive College World Series.
Jay Uhlman is the third Tulane coach to reach the NCAA Tournament in his first full season as head coach, and now he shares something else in common with Rick Jones and David Pierce. All three are taking their teams to Baton Rouge for the postseason.
LSU has ended Tulane’s season three times in regional play, including in 1986 when the Tigers reached Omaha for the first time ever.
Tulane’s only postseason wins over LSU were on back-to-back days in 2001 at then-Zephyr Field, when the Green Wave won a super regional to punch its first-ever ticket to the College World Series. Friday marks the 22-year anniversary of Game 2 of that record-setting weekend.
The rest of the Baton Rouge Regional field includes No. 2 seed Oregon State, an at-large selection from the Pac-12, and third-seeded Sam Houston State, the Western Athletic Conference tournament champions.
For the third consecutive year, Louisiana has four teams in the postseason.
Southland Conference champion Nicholls heads to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 16 national seed Alabama in the first round Friday at 6 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN+.
Louisiana received an at-large berth after the Ragin Cajuns’ run to the final of the Sun Belt tournament. The Cajuns are headed to Coral Gables, Florida, as a No. 3 seed and will meet Texas Friday at 1 p.m. on Longhorn Network.
Regional play continues through next Monday.
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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;…