The last out of the top of the seventh was made, and now it was party time.
TigerBlog had heard that the seventh inning stretch at Tigue Moore Field was something special and now, Friday night, he was ready to see it first hand.
He was sitting in the press box, watching the riveting game between Princeton and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, in the opening of the NCAA regional hosted by the Ragin' Cajuns. As the inning started to wind down, TigerBlog made his way out of the booth and stood on the landing directly behind home plate.
Then it started.
Everyone in the crowd - all 3,569 of them - stood and started to clap. And dance. And sing.
"Beat the drum, and hold the phone. The sun came out today." Those are the opening lyrics of "Centerfield," by John Fogerty.
And that's what everyone there was singing. It was a giant party.
TigerBlog has been to a lot of college sporting events. He's been to a ton of big-time college basketball venues and to quaint, historic and tradition-laden stops all throughout the country.
He has never seen anything like the seventh-inning stretch at UL-Lafayette. It was one of those rarest kind of moments, one that isn't staged or people going through the motions or any of that forced and phony fun. It was a huge crowd having its nightly party, and it was probably just as genuine as the first night someone there decided to play "Centerfield" instead of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
And TB has heard some places get loud. Not too many can match how loud it got when the Ragin' Cajuns took the lead on a triple into the gap in the eighth. That was up there with anything.
TigerBlog had never been to an NCAA baseball regional before, and he was looking forward to going with Princeton. As he said last week, when the draw was announced, he was really hoping for Mississippi State or Ole Miss, because he thought those would be the best regionals for the overall experience.
He was wrong.
Or if he wasn't wrong, then he can't imagine what goes on at those two places, because how can anything top Lafayette?
From the time TigerBlog got there Wednesday until he left early yesterday morning, he was amazed by the city - and its people.
This has to be where Southern hospitality earned its reputation.
TigerBlog cannot tell you how many people he met there who wanted to say hello, talk, ask about Princeton and mostly talk about how much they loved their hometown and their Ragin' Cajuns. He can't tell you how many people offered him food and something to drink, and on the times when he accepted told him he wasn't eating enough.
When seven members of the travel party - and Lafayette native and Princeton alum Ian Auzenne - were at lunch Saturday during the massive rain delay, a local fan walked up to the table and thanked everyone for how the team had played the night before. He said it was an honor to have Princeton there. That's basically how it was the whole time.
And then there were all of the people who made fun of him or made fun of Princeton and then one second later laughed and put their arm around him.
During his time there, TigerBlog ate crawfish, frogs legs, alligator, catfish, gumbo, jambalaya, pastalaya, beans of all kinds and four po boys, three of which were shrimp.
As for the baseball, the weather definitely messed with things. Friday's game didn't end until after midnight, and the game Saturday at 1 didn't start until seven hours later.
TigerBlog was worried that the weather would ruin the experience, but that never came close to happening.
UL-Lafayette, a leading contender to reach the College World Series, defeated Princeton 5-3 Friday night in the first game. It was one of the single best events TigerBlog has been to in his nearly 30 years of following Princeton sports.
Scott Bradley, the Tiger coach, wanted his team to have the chance to play in that kind of game. When it was over, he knew that they had played a game they'd remember for a long time.
The tournament ended Saturday, with a 7-2 loss to Sam Houston State. Princeton had 10 hits in the game, and Andrew Christie came within inches of homering over the left field wall that would have made it 2-0 Princeton early. Instead, Sam Houston's four-run third was a little too much to overcome.
Because of the loss, Princeton came home yesterday, which meant a 6 am flight out of Lafayette's airport, to Atlanta and then Philadelphia. The flight from Lafayette was delayed for more than an hour, and the Tigers barely made their connection in Atlanta.
The team bus was packed up around 3:45 am, meaning everyone in the travel party had between little and no sleep.
The delay enabled Princeton to take off shortly after sunrise. TigerBlog, sitting on the right side of the plane, looked out the window to see the Cajun Dome, the home of UL-Lafayette basketball, off in the misty distance.
As the plane made a turn and started to Atlanta, Chad Powers, the junior righthander who had pitched so brilliantly against the Ragin' Cajuns, pointed out the baseball stadium. In an instant it was gone, the plane having started to climb above the clouds.
It was a fitting end to the trip.
One of the truly special places in college athletics below.