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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

There is a baseball god

BATON ROUGE - Just in time for LSU's last regular season baseball series in charming and historic Alex Box Stadium, suddenly the Tigers have a baseball program again.

Somehow, LSU (32-16-1) is in first place in the Southeastern Conference West with a 12-11-1 mark and fifth in the overall SEC standings. On the morning of April 25, LSU was in 11th place in the SEC overall and a long shot to reach the SEC Tournament, which takes only the top eight.

LSU has won nine in a row, including its first back-to-back, three-game sweeps in the SEC since 1998 when it was THE power of college baseball. Now, it looks like a sure thing for its first SEC Tournament since 2006 and appears headed to an NCAA Regional somewhere, if not Alex Box. The Tigers, who will move into a new Alex Box next season just a block or two down Nicholson Drive, are also ranked for the first time since April of 2006. LSU is No. 22 in Baseball America and USA Today and No. 23 in Collegiate Baseball.

With the elderly Alex Box trying to hang on for one more weekend, the baseball gods have smiled on LSU again. The Tigers will open their last regular season series in the Box as West leaders against Mississippi State, which is clearly the worst team in the league at 7-17 in the SEC and 19-28 overall. Another struggling SEC team will host LSU to end the regular season. That's Auburn at 26-23 and 10-14.

Two more sweeps look very possible, which would put LSU at 18-11-1 in the SEC and with at least 38 wins. There is a non-conference game against UNO in Zephyr Field on May 13. So LSU could be hovering around 40 wins as it plays in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala., on May 21-25.

Just a few weeks ago, the Alex Box finale looked like a lost weekend or a last weekend. How sad that would have been - LSU trying to exit the SEC cellar in the stadium where it earned 11 trips to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Now it is starting to look like LSU could say farewell to Alex Box in a more suitable way - with a home NCAA Regional.


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