Tigers club C of C, may host Aggies

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 7, 2004

BATON ROUGE &045; With their Cajun microwaves, tailgating non-formals, body paint, gravely voices and, of course, favorite beverages to last through the night, no one is quick to argue that LSU’s fan base is loyal.

Yet they’re human, too. With five national championships in baseball, two in football and a Parthenon-full in track and field, Tiger fans expect &045; perhaps demand &045; success.

A Bronx cheer here, a smattering of disgust there and their fair-weather tendencies rear their ugly, purple-painted heads.

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LSU shortstop Blake Gill comprehends these moods as well as any other Tiger. The Bradenton, Fla., junior committed 20 errors during the regular season, which made the natives restless.

However, Gill broke from his doghouse during the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional this weekend, capping off a Most Outstanding Player performance with a 3 for 5 day in LSU’s 11-3 regional championship win against the College of Charleston at Alex Box Stadium Sunday.

The Tigers (44-17) now head to Houston where they’ll face Rice in the super regional with dates and times to be determined. The Tigers now host Texas A&M, who upset top-seeded Rice at the Houston Regional, in a best-of-three super regional matchup in Baton Rouge.

&uot;I take pride in my defense. I went through a funk, but there’s no excuse,&uot; said Gill, whose RBI double in the first and two-run homer in the third sparked LSU to a 3-0 lead. &uot;I’ve never had that happen to me in my life. Hopefully, I’ll keep playing better. I was a little more pumped up (for the regional). The intensity was there for all of us.&uot;

The fragile Lane Mestepey (6-3), who after finally recovering from arm problems is nursing a sprained ankle currently, went seven-plus for the victory.

The Tigers’ offense gave Mestepey plenty of support, banging out 14 hits, six of which went for extra bases.

&uot;We didn’t hit too many balls that hard today, but they made the plays,&uot; Charleston head coach John Pawlowski said. &uot;(Mestepey) does a great job not allowing teams to use the big part of the barrel.&uot;

The Cougars (47-16) cut it to a 3-1 deficit when All-Tournament outfielder Byron Barber scored Anthony Fairchild with a sacrifice fly to center.

Barber collected his second RBI in the bottom of the fifth when his groundout plated the speedy Fairchild once again.

&uot;That’s the way we’ve played all year,&uot; said Barber, who finished with four RBIs for the tourney, second most to LSU’s J.C. Holt, who had five. &uot;We’re not your typical home-run hitting team. When I see a runner on third, I’m looking for the easiest way to get him in.&uot;