Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide gets No. 2 seed, travels to Atlanta

The Alabama baseball team was calm and relaxed leading up to the NCAA college baseball selection show. They watched Sports Center, cracked jokes to each other, and some even played pool.

Most of the coaches and players figured they were going to end up playing in Atlanta, but no one knew for sure. They were confident. Looking around the room, it was apparent that no one cared where the team played or who the opponent was. They just wanted to play.

Once the selection show started, the Tide learned that they earned a No. 2 seed, and they would be playing in Atlanta. Joining Alabama (37-22) in the four-team field will be No. 1 seed Georgia Tech (45-13), No. 3 seed Elon (38-22) and No. 4 seed Mercer (37-22).

The Yellow Jackets are the No. 8 national seed in this year’s tournament. The winner of the Atlanta Regional will play the winner of the Auburn Regional in the Super Regionals next week.

Arizona State is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Alabama is one of eight Southeastern Conference teams to receive an NCAA Tournament bid. The Pac-10 and Atlantic Coast Conference also had eight teams earn berths.

Tide pitcher Adam Morgan is from Atlanta. He said he likes the idea of being able to play at home.

“It’s always good to go home,” he said. “We’re just going to take it game-by-game and give it all we’ve got.”

Head coach Mitch Gaspard knows there are a lot of advantages to playing so close to home.

“You’re busing over there so it’s a pretty easy trip for us,” he said. “Secondly, it’s going to give our fan base the opportunity to come over and watch us play, which could certainly help us in some of those ballgames. There are a lot of advantages to when you’re just going four hours and not having to jump on a plane to go somewhere.”

The Tide’s pitching staff will be one of its biggest assets going into the NCAA Tournament. The pitchers started to get hot during the end of the season and carried that momentum into the SEC Tournament.

“I think at this point in the season, it’s not about offense as much as it is about pitching,” Gaspard said. “You win regionals with good pitching, good defensive play and good timely hitting. You look at regional games and you don’t see many 12-10 scores.

“I think there’s a little more confidence and energy about us knowing that we’re pitching so well. Pitching is going to put you in a position to win, and I think we’ve got a pitching staff that’s at the top of their game right now.”

The double-elimination regional begins Friday, at 2 p.m., when Alabama plays Elon and Georgia Tech plays Mercer Friday at 6 p.m. The losers of Friday’s games will play Saturday at 2 p.m., and the winners of Friday’s games will square off Saturday at 6 p.m.

If the Tide gets past Elon, history will be on the Tide’s side whether the opponent is Mercer or Georgia Tech. Alabama owns an 18-6-1 record against Mercer and the teams have not squared off on the diamond since 1998.

Alabama is 30-28-1 all-time against Georgia Tech and the two teams have not met since the 1996 Olive Garden Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. Alabama won that game 7-2.

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