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LSU Tabs Nola To Start In Move To Friday Night Regional Opener

Freshman RHP Aaron Nola will take to the mound first when LSU opens play Friday night against ULM at the Baton Rouge Regional.Freshman RHP Aaron Nola will take to the mound first when LSU opens play Friday night against ULM at the Baton Rouge Regional.

Given the head and humidity that has taken over south Louisiana, it comes as no surprise.

LSU has chosen to play the 7 p.m. game Friday in the Baton Rouge Regional. The Tigers face fourth-seed Louisiana-Monroe (31-28) in their opening game. As a result, second-seed Oregon State (38-18) battles third-seed Belmont (39-22) at 2 p.m. on Friday.

“I’d rather play when the sun goes down," said LSU junior Mason Katz. "This is a lot of the guys’ first Regional play, so it’s going to be exciting.”

The Tigers had previously played the daytime opener of regional play when serving as host team since the four-team first weekend format was introduced. The NCAA field expanded to the current 64-team format with 16 four-team regionals followed by Super Regionals in 1999.

Choosing the late start was a no-brainer. LSU has a perfect 5-0 record in Friday night SEC openers at Alex Box Stadium this year.

On Monday, LSU head coach Paul Mainieri named freshman Aaron Nola (6-4, 3.93 ERA) as the starter against ULM, saving ace Kevin Gausman (10-1, 2.84) for Saturday. Sophomore Ryan Eades (5-2, 3.36) would pitch Sunday in LSU's third game.

The Warhawks are expected to pitch a familiar face to LSU players and coaches. Former Tiger left-hander Randy Ziegler is expected to get the ball against his former team. Ziegler started his career at LSU, pitching in three games for the Tigers on LSU's 2009 College World Series championship team. He injured his elbow, transferred to Bossier Parish Community College and then signed with ULM.

Oregon State is a very formidable team with a high RPI from a power conference. The Beavers of Pat Casey won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007 after reaching the CWS in 2005. LSU won the national championship in 2009 after reaching the CWS in 2008 under Mainieri.

All games of the Baton Rouge Regional will be televised. Jumbo Sports Network has been approved to produce all games at Alex Box Stadium. The regional will air on Cox Sports Television and CSS on carriers across the south.

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NCAA Regional Schedule
Baton Rouge, La.
Alex Box Stadium
All times Central and subject to change

Thursday, May 31
Practice Sessions (Open to Public), Times TBD

Friday, June 1 
Game 1 - #3 Belmont vs. #2 Oregon St., 2 p.m. 
Game 2 - #4 UL-Monroe vs. #1 LSU, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 2
Game 3 - 2 p.m. - Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser  
Game 4 - 7 p.m. - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner

Sunday, June 3
Game 5 - 1:30 p.m. - Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser 
Game 6 - 6:30 p.m. - Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner

Monday, June 4
Game 7 - 6:30 p.m. - Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser (if necessary)

NCAA Regionals Hosted by LSU

NCAA Regional Tournaments (2012): 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012

NCAA Super Regional Series (5): 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009

2012 NCAA Baseball Field (Printable Bracket)

at Gainesville, Fla. on ESPN3
(1) Florida (42-18) vs. Bethune-Cookman
Georgia Tech vs. College of Charleston

at Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina State (39-17) vs. Sacred Heart
Vanderbilt vs. UNC-Wilmington

at Charlottesville, Va.
Virginia (38-17) vs. Army
Oklahoma vs. Appalachian St.

at Columbia, S.C. on ESPNU
(8) South Carolina (40-17) vs. Manhattan
Clemson vs. Coastal Carolina

at Eugene, Ore.
(5) Oregon (42-16) vs. Austin Peay
Cal St. Fullerton vs. Indiana St.

at Gary, Ind.
Purdue (44-12) vs. Valparaiso
Kentucky vs. Kent St.

at Houston, Texas
Rice (40-17) vs. Prairie View
Arkansas vs. Sam Houston St.

at Waco, Texas
(4) Baylor (44-14) vs. Oral Roberts
Dallas Baptist vs. UT-Arlington

at Los Angeles, Calif.
(2) UCLA (41-14) vs. Creighton
San Diego vs. New Mexico

at College Station, Texas on ESPN3
Texas A&M (42-16) vs. Dayton
TCU vs. Ole Miss

at Coral Gables, Fla. 
Miami (Fla.) (36-20) vs. Stony Brook
UCF vs. Missouri St.

at Baton Rouge, La.
(7) LSU (43-16) vs. UL-Monroe
Oregon St. vs. Belmont

at Chapel Hill, N.C. 
(6) North Carolina (44-14) vs. Cornell
East Carolina vs. St. John's

at Tucson, Ariz.  on ESPNU
Arizona (37-17) vs. Missouri
New Mexico St. vs. Louisville

at Palo Alto, Calif. on ESPN3
Stanford (37-16) vs. Fresno St.
Pepperdine vs. Michigan St.

at Tallahassee, Fla., on ESPN3
(3) Florida St. (43-15) vs. UAB
Mississippi St. vs. Samford

 
Video from LSU Athletics