Vaught to cheer from afar

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 2, 2000

LSU redshirt freshman pitcher Chad Vaught said he will never forget last week’s NCAA&160;Regional, where the Tigers swept the competition, outscoring four teams by a margin of 45-4, beating Louisiana-Monroe 5-3 in the finals to earn a Super Regional spot.

&uot;It was pretty exciting,&uot; Vaught said. &uot;To be able to score 20 runs and get 20 hits in two games is something. We needed our hitting and pitching to come around at the same time and now we seem to be jelling. That’s what we need to get to Omaha and that’s our goal.&uot;

The Tigers host UCLA this weekend and will advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., with a win.

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Vaught will have to hear and read about the Super Regional. He left Tuesday for Virginia, where he is competing with a team in the Valley League, a wooden bat league for college baseball players.

&uot;It’s going to be tough not being there,&uot; he said. &uot;Everybody was hugging me and wishing me good luck in the lockerroom when I left. I’ll definitely be watching and listening.&uot;

Vaught, who caught the attention of several college coaches and Major League Baseball scouts at Huntington, said his first two years at LSU have been tough. He has not thrown in a contest.

&uot;I talked with Coach (Skip Bertman) about it,&uot; Vaught said. &uot;There have been a lot of great pitchers come through LSU and they didn’t get much pitching time as freshmen and sophomores. One reason I’m going to Virginia is to help my chances of pitching next year. The main thing is that I have to be patient and wait my turn. I’ve always dreamed of pitching and don’t even know who we signed or who got drafted. I’ve been concentrating on this summer.&uot;

The Valley League team in Virginia will be coached by Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College coach Cooper Farris.

&uot;It’s supposed to be a real good college baseball league,&uot; Vaught said.

Vaught said he welcomes getting back on the mound competitively.

&uot;I’ve been kind of resting my arm,&uot; he said. &uot;Hopefully I’ll be able to pitch a lot this summer. I’ve been throwing a little bit, but not pitching to a mitt. Hopefully I can get back in the groove and get my rhythm and my mechanics back. I’ve lost a little velocity and control since high school because it’s different just pitching in an intra-squad game and pitching in game-type situations. I need to be able to throw the changeup when I’m behind on the count and throw my curveball for a strike when I’m behind. I need game-type situations to get ready for next year.&uot;

And when the Super Regionals does come around next year, Vaught hopes the Tigers will be back in it and he’ll be able to stick around much longer.

&uot;We report back around mid-August and I’ll be ready to go,&uot; he said.