In March LSU baseball was swept by Tennessee in Knoxville in what Paul Mainieri called a hostile environment.
"Nasty fans, nasty. They were into Tre’ Morgan’s head,” Mainieri said on during a radio afterwards. "The other team was not handling things with a lot of class, quite frankly. It was an environment that those kids were in for the very first time and it was very difficult.”
Friday, ahead of a Super Regional meeting in back at Tennessee Mainieri walked those words back: "I stuck my foot in my mouth."
The LSU coach said he meant to be critical of his team's handling of the environment, not the environment itself, which could be more raucous this weekend. COVID limitations that minimized the crowd during that series in the spring are gone, and Lindsey Nelson Stadium will be at full capacity this weekend.
"If it's anything like last weekend, make it that,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said said Wednesday of the Regional crowd. “So if you want to call that nasty, make it that.”
Vitello answered questions about Mainieri's comments Wednesday. He likened the fans to those that Tennessee sees weekly on the road at places like LSU.
"I think what we’ve got going on is our fans are trying to compete with what goes on at Baum Stadium or Alex Box Stadium or down in Starkville," Vitello said according to 247 Sports.
Mainieri echoed that sentiment and said his teams needs to handle that adversity better this time around.
"People at every SEC school care deeply about their baseball teams and this is what makes the SEC so special. And now when you add to that it's the Super Regional and the stakes are who the winner gets to go to Omaha and play for the national championship. You know, you just, you're just trying to prepare your team for what to expect, you know, get them mentally ready," Mainieri added. "But listen, the game is not going to be between the fans, it's going to be between the teams on the field. And that's where the players focus will be and the coaches focus will be."
SUPER REGION SCHEDULE
11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m.
Monday 6/14 (If necessary)
3:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
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