College baseball: LSU blocks OU's path to Omaha

Sooners will face Tigers' stout tradition, fan support — and a talented team.
by John Helsley Published: June 5, 2013

The Baton Rouge baseball crowd, however, carries a classier reputation.

“This is a much different fan base, much more of a baseball-type fan base where they're knowledgeable about the game,” said Randy Rosetta, the veteran LSU beat writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “They'll applaud great plays and the opposing pitcher when they've done well.

“Now, they will get on the opposing team. They'll unearth whatever information they can to get under their skin, but for the most part it's generally good natured, as long as it's not Mississippi State.”

That's the way Holliday sees it, too.

“Great atmosphere,” he said. “It's passionate, but it's not hateful. It's supportive. It's loud. It's strong, but in my two times there it has never been against the spirit of competition.

“It's a healthy fan base. They're involved. And you definitely know you're there.”

The passion started with legendary coach Skip Bertman 30 years ago, when he took over before the 1984 season. Bertman quickly turned around a scuffling program, in his second year leading to the Tigers into the postseason, where they've seemingly lived ever since.

Current coach Paul Mainieri has mostly kept it rolling, with a national championship run in 2009.

So there's plenty of good ball behind the buzz, which extends inside and outside of The Box.

LSU baseball fans do maintain one SEC football tradition: tailgating.

“There will be RVs and tailgating and little tent cities set up,” Rosetta said. “It's much more of an event, to go along with being a college baseball game.

“So there will be 11,000, 12,000 inside and maybe 4,000 or 5,000 more outside who couldn't get tickets, but want to be near everything.”

It's those 11,000 or so inside who can make the most impact.

“The crowd knows when to get noisy,” said Rosetta, who has spent nine years on the LSU beat. “They stay consistently noisy. And they do affect the game. They can rattle a pitcher. Honestly, they can rattle an umpire, make him think about a call.”

That's what the Sooners are up against.

“We're ready for it,” said OU catcher Anthony Hermelyn. “What kind of player doesn't want to play in front of that? It's extra motivation for sure. It's you against the world out there. We like it that way as baseball players.”

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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