On paper, at least, it seems that Loyola Marymount and LSU took similar paths to the College World Series, where they play the opening game today at Omaha.
Loyola (49-13), winner of the West Regional, will play South I Regional winner LSU (54-12) at 2:10 p.m. PDT, followed by Maine (41-21) vs. Arizona (45-18) at 5:10 on the first day of the eight-team double elimination tournament. In Saturday's first-round games, Miami of Florida (47-15) will play Oklahoma State (54-13), and Indiana State (48-19) will meet top-ranked Florida State (57-11).
The winner of Loyola-LSU will play the Maine-Arizona winner Monday. The loser will play the Maine-Arizona loser Sunday.
The parallels between Loyola and LSU are evident on several levels:
--Both teams are making their first College World Series appearances. Both set season records for victories and many individual marks.
--Loyola Coach Dave Snow turned the program into a winner in two seasons after assisting on national championship teams at Cal State Fullerton. LSU Coach Skip Bertman turned the Tigers around in three seasons after assisting on national champions at Miami.
--Loyola's top pitcher is right-hander Tim Layana, who takes a school-record 17 victories into Omaha. Left-hander Mark Stomp is a solid No. 2 with 12 wins. LSU right-hander Stan Loewer has a school-record 13 victories. Left-hander Mark Guthrie is 9-1.