Brandt Broussard smirked, and Gavin Dugas grinned.
Few of the gathered Tigers at Monday’s selection show viewing party reacted at all when the brackets for the 2019 NCAA Baseball Championships came out in full, but surely those watching at home might’ve reacted like the two Louisiana natives turned LSU infielders.
One seed LSU, host of the Baton Rouge regional and the No. 13 overall national seed.
Versus fourth-seeded Stony Brook, America East Conference Tournament Champions and quondam conquerors of LSU, some seven years back in Baton Rouge, when the Seawolves took two of three from the Tigers in the 2012 Super Regionals.
In a draw ripe-to-bursting with storylines, few, if any, are as intriguing.
Storylines are great for writers, but matter little to coaches.
“As soon as I saw our first opponent’s name up there, it was going to bring back a lot of thoughts about 2012,” head coach Paul Mainieri said. “In all honesty, this year has nothing to do with 2012. This is a completely different year, and we are a completely different team and they are a completely different team. We just have to get ready to play, I don’t care who the opponent is.”
Seven years ago, Broussard – among the team’s oldest players – was just 15. Dugas, among its youngest, was a mere 12 years old. How many of the current crop of Tigers even recall that series is anyone’s guess, but it’d be hard to fill a lineup card with any who could recall more than the most basic of details.
Antoine Duplantis recalls the game, because he was good friends with then-first baseman Tyler Moore, whose 10th-inning homer in game one helped the Tigers win the first matchup of the series.
“You see a name like Stony Brook that not many people from the South have heard of. Then you watch them play,” Duplantis says. “It’s different players now than it was then, but they had a first-rounder or two, a guy that’s in the big leagues now, a bunch of good players.
“My freshman year we played Coastal Carolina, a team that I never really had heard of until they came here. They won the Super Regional and won the national championship. You can never take anything lightly. You have to expect that they’re going to all be great teams, especially if they made the tournament in the first place.”