It’s like waiting for Christmas in mid-May for Louisiana Tech baseball fans.
Or maybe more like Halloween. Will the new J.C. Love Baseball Stadium be tricked, or treated?
All indications this week have been that the sites of the 2021 NCAA Baseball Regionals will be announced at some point later today, and the big question for weeks now has been will this be the first time ever Ruston will be a kickoff party spot for the NCAA Big Dance leading toward the College World Series.
In all honesty, I don’t see how it can’t be. Ruston and the Tech baseball team deserve this treat.
The Bulldogs have certainly done their part, going 33-13 so far this season and being ranked as No. 14 in the nation in this week’s D1Baseball Top 25 poll.
In fact, D1 baseball agrees with me. In an article published on Tuesday, it projected The Love Shack as one of 16 host sites for this season’s Regionals, with the Bulldogs being joined by Ole Miss, Tulane and the University of New Orleans.
And it’s hard to imagine anything better than that lineup.
Thank goodness COVID regulations have been lifted and stadium capacities are back to 100%, because should The Love Shack get a Regional nod, it will create an aura of athletics excitement around Ruston not seen in decades.
Oh, what a difference two years makes.
It’s exciting enough that The Love Shack will be the site of the Conference USA tournament. But getting an NCAA Regional would be still another strong dose of soothing salve for a college baseball fan base only two years removed from still feeling shell-shocked after the EF3 tornado in April of 2019 destroyed the original J.C. Love Field.
That would be especially true for Tech’s senior baseball players.
“These guys, especially these six seniors that have stuck with us and played and practiced out at a high school for two years, it would be icing on the cake (hosting a regional),” Tech head coach Lane Burroughs said Monday. “I’m glad that the conference awarded us the conference tournament because we’ll get to play at home, and it’ll be good to play in front of our home crowd. Obviously, we’re now at 100% capacity, so hopefully we can pack that place out and it’ll be electric.
“You can’t even imagine what it’d be like hosting a regional. It would be great for those guys. They’ve stuck with us, and they’ve been through a lot. They all have their degrees, and they were free to go anywhere they wanted or even move on from baseball. They all stayed, and they’re all having good years for us minus (pitcher Bryce) Fagan due to his unfortunate injury earlier this season. Our guys play hard, and it’s one thing as a coaching staff that gives us a comforting feeling. You know our guys are going to bring it. We may not win, but for the most part, our guys are ready to play and compete every time out there.”
So cross your fingers, and go ahead and cross your toes, too. This is something we all want and need. After the tornado, after more than a year’s worth of COVID-19, this is a chance at a celebration that will help officially put the past two years in the past and hopefully be the beginning of an incredibly bright new future for Tech baseball, The Love Shack and Ruston as a whole.