May 29, 2001
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
College baseball fans are expected to flock to the super regional series between longtime rivals Louisiana State and Tulane, and the NCAA did its best to accommodate them.
Defending national champion Louisiana State will renew a 108-year-old rivalry against Tulane at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La., in one of the eight super regionals, which begin Friday.
Tulane (53-10), which has the most wins among Division I teams this season, put in bids for Zephyr Field, home of the Houston Astros' Triple-A minor league affiliate, and its home field, Turchin Stadium. The Division I baseball committee chose Zephyr Field because it seats up to 11,000, which is 6,000 more than Turchin Stadium.
"The matchup between these teams may be one of the premier in the super regionals," said Dennis Poppe, the NCAA's senior director for baseball and football. "Tulane obviously earned the right to host, and to accommodate the expected fan interest the committee opted to go for the larger field."
The Tigers (43-20-1) lead the series between the schools, located about 70 miles apart in southern Louisiana, 150-112-3. But the Green Wave won both of this year's meetings.
"The Tulane-LSU rivalry showcases the best in college baseball, and this series will put the eyes of the college baseball world on Louisiana," Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson said.
All eight of the national seeds will play host to the best-of-three super regionals, and the winner of each advances to the College World Series, which starts June 8 in Omaha, Neb. The sites were announced Monday by the committee, which set up brackets at the beginning of the tournament to determine the super regional pairings.
Wally Groff, chairman of the committee, said the national seeds were given highest priority to play host.
The other sites and pairings are: Mississippi State (39-22) at Cal State-Fullerton (44-16), South Carolina (48-18) at Stanford (46-15), Clemson (41-20) at Miami (47-12), Florida State (46-17) at Georgia (45-19), Tennessee (44-18) at East Carolina (47-11), Rice (47-18) at Nebraska (48-14), and Florida International (43-19) at Southern California (51-12).
Each of the remaining teams placed bids to play host to a super regional, and the range of bids ranged from the required minimum of $35,000 to a high of about $180,000.
All of the super regionals will be played on campus fields except for LSU-Tulane and Tennessee-East Carolina, which will be at Grainger Stadium, home of Cleveland's Single-A team in Kinston, N.C.
The Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs adjusted their home schedule to allow for the super regional to be played at Zephyr Field.
"The Zephyrs have been very accommodating to make sure the super regional happens in an expeditious fashion," Poppe said.
"I'm excited about hosting," Tulane coach Rick Jones said. "The great thing about Zephyr Field is it means so many more people will see the games."
The Tigers are trying for their sixth national championship in the last 11 years under coach Skip Bertman, who is retiring at the end of the season after 18 years. Meanwhile, the Green Wave are looking for their first trip to the College World Series.
"This is unmarked territory," Jones said.