RUSTON, La. — Louisiana Tech’s four wins in the Conference USA tournament played a huge part in the Bulldogs hosting their first NCAA regional. Head coach Lane Burroughs says the accomplishment is still sinking in.
“You know it’s still kind of hard to believe that we’re hosting a regional, but you see all the teams coming in today and practicing and I think it settles in that this is about to go down, so we’re five wins from Omaha and so is everybody (else),” he explained in a Thursday press conference.
Burroughs says he prefers to keep his focus on coaching and not so much of the media obligations, but he’s doing his best to enjoy the moment and relay that to his players.
“I don’t want you (the players) to get into the middle of summer and go man I wish I would have taken that in and enjoyed that a little more and again, this is starting something special hopefully. We don’t want to be flash in the pan. We want to be program that we’re sitting here talking every year in June about where we’re playing and maybe even hosting.”
There can be a lot of pressure that comes with hosting a regional, but the fifth-year skipper believes his team won’t be tense when first pitch is underway against Rider, Friday evening.
“I don’t think you’re going to see that with our team. They’re an older bunch. They’re very loose right now and I think this time of year, teams you see playing well and advancing are teams that are obviously hot and are playing good, but also teams that are loose and having fun,” Burroughs says.
“It’s not the time to be tense and uptight, it’s time to cut it loose and let it rip and go out an have a good time.”
Those thoughts extend to the LA Tech fan base that experienced a wild ride in the C-USA tournament and Burroughs hopes it continues well beyond the Ruston regional with a growing national spotlight on the program.
“Just seeing people have a good time, have joy, have a smile on their face with what we’ve all been through, from tornados to Covid to all the stuff everyone of us have been through and had to deal with and adapt to.
“To see a packed house out there and jumping up and down and enjoying themselves and to me, that means more than anything and if that’s bringing publicity to our town and our school, I’m loving it.”
The first matchup of the Ruston regional is between NC State vs. Alabama at 1:00 p.m. followed by Louisiana Tech vs. Ruston at 6:00 p.m.
The rest of the schedule is as follows courtesy LA Tech athletics:
Saturday, June 5
Game 3 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – 1 p.m.
Game 4 – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 6
Game 5 – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser – 1 p.m.
Game 6 – Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner – 6 p.m.
Monday, June 7 (If Necessary)
Game 7 – If the Game 5 Winner Wins Game 6 – 3 p.m.