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’Eaters to take on red-hot LSU

UCI NOTEBOOK: UC Irvine prepares for Tigers, who own NCAA-best 23-game winning streak in Super Regional at LSU.

June 04, 2008|By Barry Faulkner

After winning the Lincoln Regional by sweeping three games, keyed by season-best pitching performances from sophomore lefthander Danny Bibona and sophomore right-hander Bryce Stowell, the No. 8-ranked UC Irvine baseball team was back on the practice field Tuesday, preparing for a best-of-three Super Regional to begin Saturday at 3 p.m. at LSU.

UCI All-American pitcher Scott Gorgen and Coach Mike Gillespie said they are still formulating their scouting report on No. 5-ranked LSU (46-16-1), which extended its NCAA-best winning streak to 23 games to sweep through its own regional Sunday at LSU.

The Tigers, the No. 7 national seed, will play host to the Anteaters (41-16) at 7,760-seat Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

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Game 2 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, with Game 3, if necessary, set for Monday at 4 p.m. Game 1 is scheduled to be televised on ESPNU, Game 2 on ESPN and Game 3 on ESPN2.

The winners of the eight Super Regionals will comprise the field for the College World Series, June 14-25 at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.

Gillespie said he has not formulated a pitching plan, other than the fact that Gorgen will start Game 1.

 The Tigers, coached by Paul Mainieri, play before, arguably, the most loyal fans in college baseball at Alex Box Stadium, where a corrugated tin roof extending from the press box magnifies the sound the fans produce.

“I imagine it’s much like it was, which is beyond crazy,” said Gillespie, who coached USC teams that lost in regionals at LSU in 1990 and 1994.

“It’s going to be an exciting place to play, I don’t think there’s any debate about that.

They turn out in full force and they’re enthusiastic to the max. It’s too loud to be able to hear yourself think, let alone have anybody communicate with each other, You’ve got to play the game without anybody being able to talk.”

Gillespie said the LSU fans will be different from those UCI encountered at Nebraska.

“That was pretty electric,” Gillespie said of Saturday night’s crowd of 8,646 at Haymarket Park that witnessed UCI’s 3-2 win over the host Cornhuskers. “It was a sea of red, but they’re not a hostile group,” Gillespie said of the Nebraska faithful.

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