Louisiana-Lafayette Mississippi meet for CWS berth

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm •  Published: June 6, 2014
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There's a big banner in Louisiana-Lafayette's locker room that celebrates the program's only trip to the College World Series in 2000.

Ragin' Cajuns catcher Michael Strentz hopes the school has to do a little remodeling in the offseason.

"We look at it every day, but it was 14 years ago," Strentz said. "We want to change that and put our picture up there."

Louisiana-Lafayette (57-8) is two wins away from making it happen. The Ragin' Cajuns will host Mississippi (44-18) on Saturday in the first game of a best-of-three Super Regional series in the NCAA Tournament.

The Rebels are trying to advance to the College World Series for the first time since 1972. They've been agonizingly close several times over the past decade, but lost four times in Super Regional play, including to Texas in 2005, Miami in 2006, Arizona State in 2007 and Virginia in 2009.

The series will feature two of college baseball's best offenses.

Ole Miss has a .304 team batting average despite playing in the pitching-dominant Southeastern Conference. Louisiana-Lafayette has hit 66 homers in 65 games and has seven regulars hitting above .300.

The Ragin' Cajuns have already shown their resiliency in the postseason. They lost their NCAA tournament opener to Jackson State before reeling off four straight wins to capture the Lafayette Regional.

"They obviously have a really good offense. I've heard all year about how good they are," Ole Miss pitcher Chris Ellis said. "But we've just got to go out there and do what we've done — throw strikes and hit our spots."

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Here are five things to watch at the Lafayette Super Regional this weekend:

SOMEONE WILL BREAK THE DROUGHT: Ole Miss has had consistent success during coach Mike Bianco's 14 seasons, but has never made the College World Series. The Rebels have been close many times — losing in the Super Regionals in 2005, '06, '07 and '09 — but haven't been able to find their way to Omaha since 1972. Louisiana-Lafayette made it to the CWS in 2000, but hasn't been back since.