Mercer baseball coach talks NCAA tourney, battle with Georgia
At the top of the NCAA baseball selection show, Georgia Tech and Georgia were rattled off consecutively as the No. 3 and No. 4 national seeds. An analyst made a remark highlighting the strength of talent in the state of Georgia.
As the bracket was unveiled by each regional, that became increasingly prominent. Georgia, Georgia Tech and Mercer all received tournament bids. They’re all set to remain within the state as Georgia hosts Mercer to open its postseason play Friday night (7 p.m.) at Foley Field, and the Yellow Jackets host their own regional in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech (41-17) earned the highest seeding of the group at No. 3 after advancing to the ACC tournament championship (falling to North Carolina) and beating Georgia twice in the regular season. Georgia Tech will host a regional for the first time since 2011, and is guaranteed to host a super regional against the winner of the Chapel Hill (North Carolina) regional in an All-ACC rematch.
Georgia Tech returns to NCAA postseason play for the first time since 2016, when it was a runner-up in the Gainesville (Florida) regional. The Yellow Jackets will host No. 2 seed Auburn, third-seeded Coastal Carolina and fourth-seeded Florida A&M.
Georgia (44-15) dropped behind its in-state rival after falling narrowly to Ole Miss in the SEC tournament semifinals Saturday, 5-3. Georgia returns to host a regional in Athens in consecutive seasons, with hopes of bettering its fate after losing to Duke on its home turf last season. Georgia is also guaranteed to host a super regional if it advances, and it is paired with the Baton Rouge regional. That could set-up a potential all-SEC rematch with LSU as the Bulldogs won two-of-three against the Tigers in March at Foley Field.
Georgia opens double-elimination play against fourth-seeded Mercer, winners of the Southern Conference championship, and also welcomes No. 2 seed Florida Atlantic and No. 3 seed Florida State. Georgia played against all of the major in-state schools during the regular season, with Mercer being the only exception. The Bears swept Georgia in 2017, and the Bulldogs haven’t scheduled them since.
Mercer found its way into the tournament after beating Wofford twice on Sunday to claim the conference title. The Bears enter play at 35-27, and have won six-of-seven games this past week in Greenville, South Carolina.