NCAA Baseball

LSU baseball is headed to ‘Siberia’ for NCAA Regional to play Gonzaga


BATON ROUGE — LSU baseball is NCAA postseason bound to Eugene, Oregon, and Paul Mainieri will coach again.

The Tigers (34-22) received an NCAA regional bid and will play Gonzaga (33-17) at 9 p.m. CT Friday. Regional host and No. 14 national seed Oregon (37-14) plays Central Connecticut (28-13) at 4 p.m. Friday.

Mainieri, 63, announced Friday he will be retiring from coaching after 15 seasons.

“When I woke up this morning, I didn’t know if I was going to still be a coach a few hours later,” Mainieri said. “They sure did create drama for the LSU Tigers.”

The Eugene Regional was the second-to-last regional announced, just before the one it is paired with – No. 3 seed Tennessee’s regional in Knoxville. The Vols play Wright State (35-11) Friday, with Duke (32-20) meeting Liberty (39-14). LSU would have to advance in Eugene, and if Tennessee advances, in Knoxville to reach the CWS.

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It was Mainieri’s 12th NCAA regional berth at LSU, including five College World Series appearances, the 2009 national championship and a runner-up finish in 2017. 

LSU’s 13-17 finish in SEC play matched its record in 2011, when it did not receive a bid.  Mainieri is going to an NCAA Regional for the ninth straight time.

“I felt like we deserved it,” Mainieri said. “I’m ecstatic for the players.” 

Other than Omaha for the CWS, Mainieri’s Tigers have played on the road only twice in the NCAA postseason — in 2010 at UCLA and in 2018 at Oregon State, where the Tigers were eliminated each time. 

“It’s amazing. When we don’t host, the NCAA finds a way to make it as difficult as they can for us, don’t they? I feel like we’re going to Siberia,” Mainieri said, joking. “They’re sending to the other part of the world. It’s not. It just feels like it.”

From LSU, Eugene is 2,461 miles away – a 38-hour drive. It is a seven-hour flight.

“It’s the most distant site that you can possibly be,” Mainieri laughed. “But we’re very grateful to be in the tournament.”

NCAA Regional in Eugene, Oregon

(Friday-Sunday (central times):

No. 14 seed Oregon (37-14) vs. Central Connecticut (28-13), 4 p.m.

Gonzaga (33-17) vs. LSU (34-22), 9 p.m.

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