Chances are pretty good that Georgia will not only host a regional, but also have a strong argument for a national seed when the field is announced on Monday.
Those two facts aren’t diluted by the fact that the eighth-ranked Diamond Dawgs went two and BBQ this week in the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala with a lifeless 7-0 loss to Texas A&M and Thursday’s topsy-turvy 5-4 10-inning loss to fourth-ranked Ole Miss.
Much like the basketball version of the conference tournaments, some teams have more riding on it. A team that’s on the bubble is more apt to play desperate, knowing it needs to make it to the semifinals, for instance, to have a postseason life.
And then there are teams like Georgia, and interestingly enough, Thursday’s elimination game opponent, Ole Miss. Their postseason resume is strong. A strong regional seed is likely, it’s a matter of a bit of up or down movement. The goal in Hoover is not so much winning the whole thing (which can grind up pitching arms), but playing well.
Needless to say, Georgia didn’t do that against Vandy. Ole Miss - it was a different tale. The Dawgs rallied back to tie the score 3-3 late on an absolute gift from Ole Miss. Sure, call it luck, but Georgia also had to be in place to take advantage of that fortune.
What. Just. Happened.— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 24, 2018
Georgia and Ole Miss are tied at 3 in the 8th. pic.twitter.com/IgS9OXH71t
The late-game grit even continued with LJ Talley’s solo homer in the tenth before the Rebels rallied against the Bulldogs bullpen for the win.
The Bulldogs may not have won Thursday, but they desperately needed a good account of themselves after coming out flat on Wednesday. And they did that against a team that like themselves has a strong chance of being a national seed.
For now, it’s a waiting game.
Regional sites will be released Sunday night - meaning that it’ll be known then if Foley Field hosts a regional with the entire field unveiled Monday at noon on ESPNU.