I’ve avidly followed and reported on Louisiana Tech baseball since the early to mid 1980s, back in the days when calling the school “LA” Tech was a strict no-no.
And I remember being a fan of the Diamond ‘Dogs when they stunned then powerhouse Texas in their first game of the 1980 Central Regional in Austin, Texas, with a 4-3 win before falling in a pair of one run games — 2-1 vs. Hawaii and 7-6 in a rematch against the Longhorns.
I attended Tech games at the South I Regional in Baton Rouge in 1986, when the Bulldogs went 2-2, beating Tulane (7-5) and Jackson State (14-6) before losing to LSU (7-4) and then Tulane (9-4). I was also at the South II Regional in New Orleans in 1987, watching the Diamond ‘Dogs going 1-2 with a 19-5 loss to UNO, a 5-2 victory over Southern and an 11-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton.
And I followed Greg Goff’s Bulldogs in 2016 at the Starkville, Mississippi Regional, where the Bulldogs went 2-2. The opened with a 15-9 loss to Cal State Fullerton before defeating Southeast Missouri 9-4 and winning a rematch against Cal State Fullerton 6-2 before falling to homestanding Mississippi State 4-0.
Tech has gone 11-16 all time in NCAA Regionals play. They’ve been noticed more than a few times before.
But I’ve never seen a Tech baseball team draw the attention the current Bulldogs have earned.
Tech stands at 20-4 overall heading into this weekend’s four-game series at Rice in Houston.
That kind of play has earned the Bulldogs Top 25 rankings in five different college baseball polls — No. 16 by both D1Baseball and Perfect Game, No. 19 by USA Today Sports, No. 20 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and No. 22 by Baseball America.
Wow. As longtime and legendary Diamond ‘Dogs announcer Dave Nitz would say, “You gotta love it!”
An early NCAA Regionals projection made last week by Baseball America had the Diamond ‘Dogs as the No. 2 seed at the Mississippi State Regional (with MSU seeded sixth overall) with Louisiana-Lafayette seeded third in that Regional and Jacksonville State seeded fourth.
I’ve even heard or read a couple of college baseball pundits talking about Tech starting to look like a darkhorse team to potentially reach the College World Series (CWS) in Omaha, Nebraska.
It’s been a magical season so far this season for the Bulldogs, who are finally playing their home games in the newly rebuilt J.C. Love field following the destruction of their original home venue during the F3 tornado that ravaged Ruston and parts of the Tech campus on April 25 of 2019.
Even better, the Bulldogs will be hosting the Conference USA Tournament in their new digs on May 26-30.
Imagine the Bulldogs sweeping through that tourney and somehow earning the right to host a NCAA Regionals event in that spectacular new facility.
Even better, imagine the Bulldogs winning a Super Regional and advancing to Omaha for the first time ever.
It’s already been a magical season.
Just imagine the magic continuing all the way to the CWS.
You’d have to love that.