Samford, College of Charleston also in field
by Staff Reports
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Two other teams besides Appalachian State from the Southern Conference baseball teams were selected to play in the NCAA Baseball Championship Tournament.
Samford, which advanced to the NCAA postseason for the first time after claiming the league's automatic bid Sunday, was joined in the postseason by regular season co-champion College of Charleston.
Samford (39-21, 19-11) opens NCAA Tournament play on Friday in Tallahassee, Fla., as the No. 3 seed, facing second-seeded Mississippi State from the Southeastern Conference. Samford powered its way to a SoCon Tournament title in Greenville, S.C., with a 9-6, 10-inning victory over Georgia Southern on Sunday.
Samford averaged 10 runs per game in the tournament and boast both the nation's home run leader in Brandon Miller along with the country's wins leader in Josh Martin. Joining Samford in Tallahassee is host Florida State and fourth-seeded, and crosstown rival, Alabama-Birmingham.
College of Charleston (37-20, 21-9) was rewarded with its fifth NCAA Regional trip since joining the SoCon, on the strength of a shared regular season championship with Appalachian State. The Cougars, seeded third in their regional, head to Gainesville, Fla., where they face No. 2 seed Georgia Tech on Friday.
Host Florida is the top seed of the regional and the entire tournament. The Gators play No. 4 seed Bethune-Cookman in game one. College of Charleston last reached the NCAA Tournament in 2010. The Cougars were the last team to advance from the regional stage, winning the Lexington Regional in 2006 before falling to Georgia Tech in the Super Regional round.
This marks the seventh time in the past nine seasons that the Southern Conference has sent multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament, and it equals 2010 for the most from the SoCon in league history. The league's three bids ties for the fifth-highest among conferences, trailing only the ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Big XII.
The 16 winners of this weekend's regional will advance to the Super Regionals next weekend with the winners of those three-game series earning a spot in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.