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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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LSU athletic director critical of NCAA postponing game

LSU athletic director critical of NCAA postponing game

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva criticized the NCAA for postponing the Tigers' tournament game against UNC Wilmington on Sunday night, calling it a "ridiculous decision."

LSU, the top seed in the Baton Rouge Regional and the NCAA Tournament's No. 2 overall seed, was set to take on UNCW in the championship round. However, according to Alleva, the NCAA moved the game to noon CDT Monday without any explanation.

"The NCAA made a decision and they didn't give me a reason," Alleva said during an impromptu news conference. "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."

NCAA officials at the Baton Rouge Regional declined comment and forwarded all questions to Alleva. The LSU AD said he was informed of the move during a phone call from NCAA official Damani Leech.

"He is the coordinator of all baseball events," Alleva said. "I tried to talk him out of moving the game, but I wasn't successful. He gave no reason why. I personally hold him responsible for this."

LSU (50-10) would advance to the Super Regionals with a win over UNC Wilmington (41-17). If the Seahawks win, the teams would play another game Monday night, with the winner advancing. UNCW avoided elimination by defeating Tulane 3-2 earlier Sunday.

The Seahawks would have had to play a third game in 24 hours if the game against LSU had been played Sunday — which would have worked in the rested Tigers' favor.

"Frankly, it's a ridiculous decision," Alleva said. "It hurts from the standpoint that when you're in the winner's bracket, you have the competitive advantage. That competitive advantage has been negated by this decision. It's sad for our team and even worse for our fans.

"A terrible decision by the NCAA. Period."

LSU routinely leads the nation in baseball attendance, and Alleva estimated 10,000 fans were at the ballpark before the NCAA made its call. The crowd is expected to be quite a bit less with the game now being played in the afternoon on a work day.
"I feel so terribly bad for our 10,000 fans that all showed up here tonight," Alleva said, "and now have to go home."
AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.

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