LSU coach Paul Mainieri probably isn’t a big fan of where his team is headed this weekend. The Tigers beat Oregon on Monday night to advance in the NCAA Tournament, booking a date in Knoxville with Tennessee in the super regionals.
It’s a rematch of a series that featured a Tennessee sweep, and Mainieri was outspoken about how the Tennessee crowd treated his club in Knoxville. During a radio interview later that week, he described what his team endured — even with a capacity-capped crowd.
“Listen, even though there wasn’t a huge, huge crowd at Tennessee, it was an extremely hostile environment,” Mainieri said. “They were nasty. They were being nasty, nasty.”
“The other team was not handling things with a lot of class, quite frankly,” he said.
“They were into (LSU first baseman) Tre’ Morgan’s head,” Mainieri said of the crowd at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. “They were on him from the moment he walked onto that field. I mean, it was difficult situation with the umpires, a lot of calls that went against kids and they were having to deal with that.” (H/T 247Sports)
These comments probably had nothing to do with his team getting swept. Nothing at all.
Tennessee had under 4,000 fans in the stands that weekend. They put about 12,000 in the stands over the course of the Knoxville regional weekend, which was absolutely electric.
Mainieri never thought he would return to Lindsey Nelson Stadium. He’s since announced his retirement, and he’s opened the door for quite the welcoming back on Saturday night. This Tennessee fanbase has embraced baseball in a way nobody thought possible. With so much on the line, if he thought last time was nasty, he’s in for quite the eye-opening experience this weekend.
As if we needed another storyline to follow with this Tennessee baseball team — this weekend is going to be nuts.