“I didn’t get my hopes up because I didn’t want to be disappointed, but it’s been kind of nerve-racking waiting to find out if we were in or not,” Georgia senior Adam Swann said. “We know we’ve got another shot now and it’s time to get ready to play ball.”
The Bulldogs (30-27), a College World Series team a year ago, were invited to the 64-team tournament Monday despite finishing their season with seven straight losses, including two in a row in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
They’ll play Louisville in this weekend’s regional at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets, granted home-field advantage after finishing 46-14, will face Coastal Carolina in the opening round.
But they didn’t receive one of the top eight seeds, meaning they’ll probably have to go on the road to reach the World Series. They were eliminated in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament by Florida State, which was given the top seed overall in the NCAA tournament.
“I wish we would have gotten a top-eight seed,” Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said. “That would’ve been the only other thing to accomplish. I think if we would’ve beaten Florida State in that game, I think we would’ve gotten it.”
Coastal Carolina, which won the Big South Conference tournament, plays in the regional with Georgia and Georgia Tech for the second straight year. The Bulldogs stopped the Chanticleers’ improbable run in Athens last season, winning back-to-back games on the final day to advance.
The Yellow Jackets, who lost their tourney opener to Coastal Carolina last year, narrowly defeated the Chanticleers 2-1 earlier this season in a tournament.
“They have a lot of the same pitchers and players they had last year,” Hall said. “I’m sure that’s why they’re back where they are.”
Georgia was 1-3 against Georgia Tech this year. Louisville hasn’t faced any of the other three teams.
The Bulldogs finished tied for fifth in the SEC with a 15-15 record, and they went 4-6 against the eight teams that were awarded the top seeds.
“Our RPI has been around the top 20 all year, and I think that won us a spot,” said coach David Perno, who led the team to the tournament in his first season.
“We’ve played some tough competition and traveled a lot this season, and now we have a fresh start and will be well rested.”
Georgia Southern (38-23), which won the Southern Conference tournament to reach a regional for the third straight year, will play at Clemson on Friday night.
Elon and East Carolina are the other teams in that regional