When the LSU players heard the news after their midweek win over Grambling State, the team let out a collective smile of excitement. With only two home series left, many of these players haven't experienced a packed Alex Box Stadium for an SEC series.
The latest news out of the governor's office is very promising for that wish to come true as not only was the statewide mask mandate lifted in Louisiana but the restrictions on outdoor events were lifted as well, including sporting events. Governor John Bel Edwards said in a press conference Tuesday that event facilities can open the doors to as much as 100% capacity in an outdoors setting.
The changes will take place immediately which bodes well for LSU baseball, which has a critical series upcoming with No. 1 Arkansas. Coach Paul Mainieri was asked about the prospect of having a packed SEC environment in Baton Rouge, something the team got a first taste of at Ole Miss last weekend.
"After the game in our team huddle, I think that got the biggest cheer from our players," Mainieri said. "We're excited about that, I hope the weather cooperates and I hope our fans come out. It was fun being at Ole Miss this weekend and having big crowds and it just felt normal. Hopefully our fans will come out and root hard and we'll give them something to root loud and cheer for us."
On Wednesday, it was confirmed at LSUCountry that LSU baseball will be open at 100% capacity for this weekend's series against No. 1 Arkansas. It's perhaps the biggest series of the season for the Tigers and picher Ma'Khail Hilliard is excited about the prospects of playing in front of a full crowd.
"After the game coach told us and everybody was super excited," Hilliard said. "That's gonna take a huge affect on how we play. Even though we have the same mindset coming into every game, I think that's gonna play a huge factor in how much better we play."
LSU administrators also met with the governor on Wednesday to discuss how these new restrictions would apply to football games this fall, as the running theory has been Tiger Stadium will return to 100% capacity in the fall. Those details will be revealed at a later time.
Here are the official guidelines released by the program:
Update for LSU Outdoor Sporting Events
- LSU will now operate at 100 percent capacity
- Masks will no longer be required
- Normal tailgating activities can resume with no COVID-related restrictions