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LSU players watch batting practice Friday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. LSU plays UCLA in the College World Series on Sunday. (Associated Press)<br>

LSU players watch batting practice Friday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. LSU plays UCLA in the College World Series on Sunday. (Associated Press)

CWS Notebook: LSU's Jones should be ready for opener despite illness

Last Modified: Sunday, June 16, 2013 7:32 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

OMAHA, Neb. — LSU second baseman JaCoby Jones, the star of LSU’s super regional sweep of Oklahoma to get to the College World Series, has taken sick again.

“He just came down under the weather (Wednesday) night,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. Late in the evening, kind of flu-like symptoms.”

Jones, who went 5-for-7 last weekend’s two games with a double, a triple and a home run, missed the start of LSU’s series at Alabama with a similar ailment.

LSU opens the CWS at 7 p.m. Sunday against UCLA.

“We think he’ll be ready for Sunday,” Mainieri said. “At Alabama, he was good the second day.”

Jones came to the TD Ameritrade Park on Friday for LSU’s first workout in the stadium, but only to take part in the team picture before leaving.

“He’s back at the hotel sleeping now,” Mainieri said. “He went to visit the doctor. Hopefully he’ll get some good medicine and will be ready to practice Saturday.”

When Jones has been out, LSU has moved first baseman Mason Katz to second base with Tyler Moore taking over at first base.

“Obviously that would be the backup plan,” Mainieri said. “But I don’t even want to let my mind go there.”

FAMILIAR WELCOME: When LSU arrived at its team hotel Wednesday, the Carrollton Select 11-year-old team from New Orleans was there in uniform to greet the Tigers. The youngsters are in Omaha to play in their own youth tournament. Katz knew all about them as he signed autographs. He played on the team when he was their age.

ROCK STARS: When all eight teams did their workouts at TD Ameritrade on Friday, LSU had at least three times the media clamoring over them than any of the others and probably four times the fans begging for autographs.

EXPLANATION: The attention LSU got didn’t surprise UCLA coach John Savage.

“Well, they’ve got the best fans in college baseball,” he said. “I think anybody would say that. They’ve got the biggest support, one of the most beautiful stadiums in college baseball. I think it’s great the LSU is here. It means a lot to college baseball.”

Savage went up against LSU in Omaha as Southern Cal’s pitching coach in 1998 and 2000, and was UCLA’s head coach when the Tigers traveled to UCLA for an NCAA regional in 2011.

“There are no other fans like LSU fans, at least when I’ve been on the other side,” he said.

He said he was amazed at how many LSU fans showed up in Los Angeles.

“They travel anywhere, anytime,” he said. “I think it’s great for college baseball they support their program as well as they do. It’s a privilege to play them.”

OOPS: There were maroon Mississippi State T-shirts for sale in a booth across the street from the stadium Friday. One problem. The T-shirts read: “Mississippi State Rebels” rather than Bulldogs.

NO DUCKING THE TIGERS: LSU players love the A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty,” and one of its cast members loves them right back.

Jase Robertson’s two sons are friends with and played high school baseball in Monroe, with LSU right fielder Mark Laird. Robertson spoke to the Tigers before a game in March and presented them with an autographed can of corn.

He told them that the can of corn represented the “land of corn,” meaning Nebraska and the CWS. He said he hoped to see them there in June.

The Tigers keep the can in the dugout, and they shake it when they need a hit or a big play.

Senior pitcher Joey Bourgeois is keeper of the corn.

Robertson tweeted this week that he would do the best he can to be in Omaha for Sunday night’s game against UCLA.

• The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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