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Diamond Dogs hosting NCAA Regional

NC State, Alabama, Rider join Tech in Ruston this weekend
Brian Trahan
Monday, May 31, 2021
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Photo by Tom Morris

After playing six Conference USA tournament games at home in the last week, Louisiana Tech will be firing up the crowd again this weekend when it hosts an NCAA regional.

By Brian Trahan

For the first time in program history, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are hosting an NCAA regional.
When Alabama and North Carolina State begin play Friday at 1 p.m. in J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, it will be a history-making moment in Ruston.
Monday morning it was announced that the Diamond Dogs (40-18) are the No. 16 seed in the field of 64 teams. They will host Rider University (23-16) Friday at 6 p.m. The regional will be double elimination, with Friday’s games televised on ESPN3 streaming service.
Head coach Lane Burroughs wants the same intense atmosphere at the Love Shack as the fans showed during the Conference USA tournament this past week.
“Five years ago when I got this job, at my press conference — someone texted me today and told me I said we’d be hosting regionals here. I’m sure a lot of people thought I was crazy — and I am — but we’re hosting a regional in Ruston,” he said during the team’s watch part at Love Field Monday morning in front of fans.
“We’re going to give you a show. Come out in full force. I want this place busting at the seams,” he continued. “Just like it was this past week.”
Out of Lawrence Township, N.J., the Broncs play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and received the conference’s automatic bid after winning the conference tournament championship over Fairfield University, also an NCAA tournament participant.
Tech is coming off a memorable weekend in which they won three straight elimination games via walkoff in its last at-bat. It nearly happened again Sunday in the C-USA championship when the Dogs tied the game in the bottom of the ninth before losing in the 10th inning, 7-5, to Old Dominion.
Saturday, the Dogs beat rival Southern Miss twice with walkoff wins, once in the 10th inning 11-10 and 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth. Those two wins likely pushed Tech into the No. 16 seed and enabled the program to secure the regional site.
LOUISIANA FLAVOR: Joining Louisiana Tech in the NCAA Tournament from Louisiana are LSU, McNeese State and Southern University. LSU (34-22) is the No. 3 seed in the Eugene regional, where Oregon is the host. McNeese (32-28) is the No. 4 seed in Fort Worth, where the Pokes will play against host TCU. Southern (20-28) is also headed to the state of Texas, and will play host Texas as the No. 4 seed in Austin.
CONFERENCE PRIDE: You could say that Conference USA was essentially a Power-5 conference this season and held its own with the “big boys” of collegiate baseball. The SEC has nine teams in the tournament, followed by the ACC with eight, Pac-12 with six, while C-USA and the Big 12 have four each. The Big Ten managed only three teams. C-USA is one of only three conferences with more than one team as a national seed — joining the SEC and Big 12, with Tech and Old Dominion among the top 16.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Diamond Dogs haven’t left the city limits of Ruston in quite some time. Tech has played its last 12 games at the Love Shack, six regular season games and six C-USA tournament games. The last time the Bulldogs left town for a baseball game was May 11, when they traveled to Baton Rouge to play LSU.
PAIRED WITH A FAMILIAR FOE: Should the Dogs get through their own regional this weekend, they would likely travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to square off with the No. 1 seed Razorbacks in a super regional. Should chalk hold, that would be the matchup and a rematch of a three-game series played at Love Field way back on March 12-14. The Hogs were No. 1 then as well, and won the first two games before Tech took the last game of the series 2-0.