OMAHA, Neb . — LSU freshman shortstop Alex Bregman dreamed since he was a batboy for the University of New Mexico Lobos of playing in the College World Series.
His first game here may be one he wants to forget.
The national freshman of the year and LSU’s leading hitter went 0-for-4 on Sunday, dropping his team-leading batting average to .374. He also committed a critical error on a hard hit but fairly routine ground ball in the eighth by Eric Filia, allowing the winning run to score from second in the Tigers’ 2-1 defeat.
Bregman is still tied for second in the nation with 104 hits, one off the lead of Mercer’s Chesny Young. Bregman remains tied with Mississippi State’s Adam Frazier (who had two hits Saturday) and Vanderbilt’s Tony Kemp. Bregman already has established an LSU single-season record for hits by a freshman.
LSU first baseman Mason Katz said he expected more than 20 relatives and friends to be on hand to watch the climax to his college career at the College World Series.
Among the Katz supporters in Omaha is Sam Dozier, head baseball coach at Metairie Country Day school who coached Katz at Jesuit.
Dozier, who was head coach of the Blue Jays when Katz was a sophomore and Jesuit won the Class 5A state title in 2007, surprised Katz on Saturday at LSU’s practice at Bellevue East High School.
“Mason was not only a great player but a great character kid who showed up every day and worked hard every day,” Dozier said. “He was a big part of that championship team as a sophomore because he could play any position and he had the God-given talent to swing the bat.”
Katz, who has played first base, second base and all three outfield positions in his Tigers career, played infield and catcher for the Blue Jays.
“It’s quite a thrill to coach a kid like that,” Dozier said. “He was always very coachable and very respectful. He was like a sponge when it came to taking in information, showed up early, left late. He’s one of the top kids I ever coached.”
Katz hit the first home run of the 2013 College World Series in the fourth inning Sunday against UCLA. It was his team-leading 16th of the season.
The College World Series has tons of workers scurrying around, handling everything from crowd control to immaculate field maintenance.
Apparently though, one of America’s premier sporting events could use a copy editor. The CWS got off to a red-faced start this weekend thanks to a pair of gaffes in big bold type.
One was on top of the third base dugout, where the word “college” in “College World Series” was spelled “colllege” with an extra “L” for Saturday’s play.
By the time LSU took the third base dugout for Sunday night’s game, the wording on top of the dugout had been corrected.
Still, the extra “L” may have had a voodoo effect. All four teams that occupied the third base dugout lost Saturday and Sunday.
The other error came on an official CWS Mississippi State T-shirt, which referred to the team as the “Mississippi State Rebels.” The shirt has been pulled off the shelves, but not before photos of it went viral on the internet.
Mississippi State Athletic Director Scott Stricklin took the T-shirt screw-up with good humor.
Tweeting Friday that he was sitting with Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork at an athletic director’s convention function in Orlando, Fla., Stricklin said, “Contrary to what one vendor in Omaha thinks, there are no plans for a merger.”
When trying to instruct his pitchers on how to handle the pressure of performing in the College World Series, LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn doesn’t just have to talk theory.
He knows what it’s like first hand.
Thirty years ago, Dunn pitched for Alabama in the 1983 CWS. He started a semifinal game against Arizona State, led by Barry Bonds, helping the Crimson Tide reach the national championship game, where it lost to Texas and a pitcher named Roger Clemens.
Attendance for Sunday’s game was 26,344, bringing total attendance for the first round of the CWS to 102,412, an average of 25,228.
LSU was designated as the home team for its 2 p.m. elimination game Tuesday against North Carolina. ... “Duck Dynasty” star Jace Robertson was in attendance at Sunday’s game, watching from one of the skyboxes that ring the top of TD Ameritrade Park with a friend of Virginia coach Brian O’Connor, who is a close friend of LSU coach Paul Mainieri. Robertson, sporting a black LSU cap, gave the LSU players a “lucky” can of corn earlier this year that they have kept with them all season. … LSU is now 9-7 in CWS openers and 35-21 in the CWS overall.
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