The 64-team field for the N.C.A.A. baseball tournament was announced this afternoon and those of you hoping to avoid the Atlanta Regional would do well to remember to be careful for what you wish, as the Diamond Dogs are Tallahassee-bound.
Georgia (37-22) is the region’s No. 2 seed behind top-seeded host squad Florida State (42-16) and the Classic City Canines will open tournament action against No. 3 seed Ohio State (40-17) at noon on Friday. (Hopefully, the S.E.C. dominance of the Buckeyes will translate from the gridiron to the diamond, particularly since the Big Ten is to blame for shortening college baseball season.) The game will be televised on ESPNU and the Seminoles’ opening outing against fourth-seeded Marist (31-26) will follow at 4:00.
I know Marist is only barely above .500, but you have to admit that making it into the college baseball tournament is a pretty impressive achievement for a high school team!
The Red and Black, who made four N.C.A.A. district or regional playoff appearances between 1953 and 2000, earned their sixth national postseason berth of the 21st century. 2009 marks the first odd-numbered year in which Georgia has made the 64-team tournament field since 2001.
The Bulldogs are 25-10 all-time in N.C.A.A. regional action and have won in six of their regional appearances. Four of the last five Red and Black squads to have been playing after Hoover have advanced all the way to Omaha. In the 2006 postseason, Georgia outlasted Florida State in Athens. The Bulldogs and the Seminoles split their series in the 2008 regular season.
The difficulty of the Diamond Dogs’ 2009 slate is attested to by the fact that Georgia opponents Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisiana State, and Ole Miss all occupy the top seeds in their respective regionals. The College World Series bracket in .pdf format may be downloaded here.