LSU, Miss State fans head to Omaha

Published 12:16 am Friday, June 14, 2013

NATCHEZ — Local LSU fan Dee Horton was only able to make one game in the College World Series during the Tigers’ 2009 season.

And though LSU won the national championship that season, the game Horton attended ended in a loss for the Tigers. Now, with LSU back in the College World Series, Horton plans on making a return trip to Omaha.

“I feel good about it,” Horton said. “This is one of the best teams they’ve had. Whether it’s the pitching, defense or hitting, they have it all together.”

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And since he’ll be staying a few days longer than his last trip, Horton said he’s looking forward to taking in the sights — and festivities — of Omaha.

“What I like is the atmosphere, because it’s like you’re in Baton Rouge,” Horton said. “This time it won’t be such a rush for me, since I’m going to stay a few days. I learned they have casinos across the (Missouri) River in Iowa, so I’ve had rooms booked for two months.”

Since Tiger fans travel well, Horton said he’s expecting to fit right in.

“LSU has a huge following, and they do a lot of cooking,” Horton said. “You always run into people you know.”

In addition to LSU, Horton said he’ll also be pulling for Mississippi State, and he’s not the only one that will back the Bulldogs. Local MSU fan Scott Kimbrell will be going to Omaha with fellow Bulldog faithful Pat Burns, Billy Gillon and Gillon’s grandson, Hunter Gillon.

It will also be a return trip for Kimbrell, who went to Omaha in 2007 the last time the Bulldogs made it to the College World Series.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. The people are great, and the atmosphere is unreal.”

Gillon, by contrast will be going to the College World Series for the first time — and he said he couldn’t wait.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a good time to see some great baseball.”

Kimbrell said he sees a hungry team when he looks at the Bulldogs, and he’s hoping that stays true going forward.

“They’re motivated,” he said. “It seems like they want it, and they keep plugging along. It’s like they have the desire and will to be there. They’re excited, and that’s what’s great about college baseball. They’ll make mistakes, but they’ll make outstanding plays when you don’t expect it.”

No matter what the records are for each team, Gillon said you can throw them out once teams reach the College World Series.

“On any given day, you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “Anyone can win at any time (in baseball), and it’s going to be a great time. I hope I’m gone for two weeks.”

Mississippi State will face Oregon State at 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. LSU will play UCLA at 7 p.m. on Sunday on ESPN2.