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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


BATON ROUGE - Is it late May already? Well, then it's time for the college baseball season to start - the real college baseball season in these parts.
At LSU, it's not baseball season until you're in the postseason.
The No. 2-ranked Tigers (41-15 SEC champions) are scheduled to open their postseason today in the Southeastern Conference Tournament against No. 8 seed Vanderbilt (31-24) at 6 p.m. at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
"This is when the fun starts," LSU outfielder/first baseman Ryan Schimpf said before departing LSU for the tournament on Monday. "This is why you go to LSU."
The Tigers worked out on the field Tuesday and will be trying to repeat as SEC Tournament champions.
No. 7 seed Arkansas opened the tournament Wednesday morning with a 8-5 victory over No. 2 seed Florida. No. 6 seed Georgia was leading No. 3 seed Ole Miss 6-3 in the ninth inning of the second game after 5 p.m., which was the scheduled starting time of the LSU game. No. 4 seed Alabama and No. 5 seed South Carolina play the late game tonight after LSU.
The LSU game will be televised by Cox Sports Television (CST) at various outlets around the state. LSU had said that all other SEC games today would be televised but that has not been the case in all areas.
Sophomore right-hander Austin Ross (5-6, 5.07 ERA) will start on the mound for the Tigers against junior left-hander Mike Minor (5-4, 3.90 ERA), who is expected to be drafted in the first or second round of the Major League Baseball Draft next month.
Hoover, an upscale suburb of Birmingham and home of the Double-A Birmingham Barons, is hosting the tournament for the 12th straight year.
"It's a great tournament. We love going to it," Schimpf said. "They just do a great job taking care of the players. Everybody loves going to it. It's probably the best tournament in the country other than the College World Series."
LSU will be attempting to reach Omaha, Neb., and the CWS for the 15th time in 24 years. The Tigers are expected to receive a top eight national seed and home field advantage in the NCAA Regional and Super Regional rounds regardless of what they do in the SEC Tournament.
"There's just something about Hoover. It's awesome," Schimpf said. "Everybody's there. There's a lot of talent. We get police escorts for everywhere we go. It's first class. We can't wait. We want to win it whether we have to or not."
An LSU victory over Vanderbilt will match it with the Alabama-South Carolina winner at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. That game will also be televised by CST. The championship game will be at 3 p.m. Sunday on Fox sports affiliates.


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