The long slog of this weekend's soggy regional has finally been carved down to two teams as a stellar, near complete game outing for UNCW's Nick Monroe, backed up by 8 Seahawk runs, mostly in a 6 run 3rd inning, has sent Tulane packing back to Uptown in an 8-2 win. Better luck next time, Greenies.
The game itself was fine, but had started late, delayed by yet another bout of rain, ending just before 9:30. The plan at first on Sunday was to play two, with the NCAA mandated 55 minute between game break meaning LSU-UNCW would not have started, at the earliest, until about 10:20. It is also important to note that another line of rain appeared to be approaching Baton Rouge (and there was indeed another, very brief, light rain that reached The Box last night.) Sometime around 9pm, LSU was informed that the game vs the UNCW-Tulane winner (which, again, had almost a half hour left to complete) would not be played Sunday night and would be delayed until Noon on Monday.
At this point, LSU AD Joe Alleva basically blew a gasket. Below is his released statement to the press and a follow up from a reporter on scene
"Regretfully, the game we were supposed to play tonight against UNC Wilmington has been postponed to tomorrow at 12 p.m. Now, you’re going to ask me why. The NCAA made a decision. They didn’t give me a reason. I don’t have a reason, okay. There is a guideline that says that you are not allowed to start a game after 11 p.m. We could have easily started this game at 10:15 p.m. Frankly, it’s a ridiculous decision. It hurts from the standpoint that when you’re in the winner’s bracket, you have a competitive advantage. That competitive advantage has been negated by this decision. It’s sad for our team, and it’s even worse for our fans. I feel so terribly bad for our 10,000 fans that all showed up here tonight and now have to go home. A terrible decision by the NCAA. Period. That’s all I have to say, and if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them for you."
Alleva said Damani Leech called him with the postponement news. "I personally hold him responsible," Alleva said of Leech. #LSU— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) June 1, 2015
Oh Joe, where to begin? First off, it's the NCAA's tournament, and if they want to move game from the middle of the night on a Sunday to during the day on Monday, they can. Indeed, this same decision to move a scheduled regional championship game from late Sunday to Monday was also made with the Vandy, FSU, and Illinois regionals. While the weather ended up not being a problem, that doesn't change the fact that at 9:30, shortly after the end of the UNCW-Tulane game, the radar still showed rain headed for Alex Box. That fact, not to mention if any lightning had been detected in the area, could have easily pushed the start time past the 11pm deadline.
Furthermore, this nonsense about 10,000 disappointed fans is frankly insane. There were, at best estimate, about 7,000 who stuck through Saturday's delays to make it to LSU's game that stretched well into Sunday morning. If he thinks even 5,000 people would have shown for a game that, if things went perfectly, started at 10:15pm on a Sunday night, he's either lying or insane. Playing at midday on Monday gives a MUCH better chance at a higher turnout. Not to mention that fans will likely have a better shot at watching the game online at work than trying to stay awake on the couch through another marathon.
Is it a loss of competitive advantage? Sure. Forcing your opponent to play two games when you only play one is better than not, but it's not like UNCW had just gone through some marathon. And since Sunday's game start had been delayed long before either team even showed up in the afternoon, UNCW spent most of the day relaxing,
and reliving some of their favorite moments of the Attitude Era
so it's not like their day was particularly taxing. Meanwhile, the Tigers spent most of the day at home.
LSU has two games to win one. We're starting Poche' and The Pitching Staff while UNCW has used all 3 of their regular starters, but has a mostly untouched bullpen. I have a feeling that this will be over before dinner time and this Grand Injustice at the hands of the NCAA will be a minor footnote we all forget about before next weekend.
Except Alleva. Calling out Damani Leech, the NCAA head of the CWS, is a great way to make sure you're never on an NCAA committee ever again.