NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Throughout their final practice at Turchin Stadium before regionals, the Tulane baseball staff blasted “Geaux Tigers” crowd noise as players prepare for the cauldron that is Alex Box Stadium on Friday in Baton Rouge.
The in-state rivals know each other well, and Green Wave assistant coach Justin Bridgman knows LSU head baseball coach Jay Johnson better than most. Bridgman played under Johnson at Nevada in 2014 and 2015, which were the only two years Johnson coached the Wolfpack before taking over at Arizona (2016-2021). Bridgman then played two more years at Nevada, two seasons in the minor leagues, and rejoined Johnson as a graduate assistant coach at Arizona in the spring of 2020.
“For him, he wants to try to win the national championship and he’s trying to put himself in an opportunity or the best place to have an opportunity to do that. And I think LSU, obviously with the history and the tradition and all the national championships that they’ve won, that you can do that there. And so I don’t think I’m surprised at all. His aspirations are to try to win the College World Series. And I think that job’s not for everybody, but I think he’s built for that,” Bridgman told reporters before his competitive side kicked in.
And he added with a grin, “I think he’s going to have success, just hopefully not this weekend.”
Tulane head coach Jay Uhlman said he hopes his team’s late-season magic shows people that they are “resilient.”
“Everybody loves an underdog story,” Uhlman said. “I would hope it’s easier to get behind that and feel good about that and know that ‘hey, if you guys can do this going into that tournament with only 15 wins,’ think about what you can do with 40 wins and hosting and things like that.”
Uhlman said Wednesday’s practice would likely be the last home-field practice before heading to Baton Rouge. The team will lift on Thursday morning before leaving, though.
“[Practice is] at 2:30 p.m. in Baton Rouge…they’ll do a lift tomorrow, we’ll drive up, stretch and catch at U-High, and then walk over [to Alex Box] and hit.”
Thursday practice times for the four Baton Rouge regional teams are as follows:
LSU: 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.
Oregon St.: 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Sam Houston: 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Tulane: 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.