Florida State elected to host NCAA Baseball Regional

Ivan Schwartz
June 1, 2017

"In my 15 years in the Southeastern Conference as a coach, I think this was the toughest field to make", Auburn coach Butch Thompson said.

For the first time since the 2012 season, the No. 22 Knights, under the leadership of first year head coach Greg Lovelady, are heading back to the NCAA regional tournament, this time to Tallahassee. UCF will be the No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional along with No. 3 seed Auburn, No. 4 seed Tennessee Tech., and host No. 1 seed Florida State. Since 1999 when the NCAA went from a six-team to a four-team regional format, Auburn has been selected to five out-of-town regionals.

"This program has been to Tallahassee a few times before, several times. I've worked side by side with (coach) Matt Bragga from Tennessee Tech so I know they're going to swing it like insane", Thompson said. I've been there as an assistant in a regional, and they do a great job. I know Florida State's as hot as anybody in America. "This will be a great opportunity for us this week". In that tournament run, the Knights came close to claiming the NCAA Regional Title but fell to Stony Brook in Miami, Florida. On short rest, Thompson gave up two runs on four hits over three innings in just 41 pitches, but believes on full rest Auburn is a unsafe three-seed with two of the nation's best starting pitchers. Auburn received an at-large bid after getting shut out by Arkansas in the SEC Tournament. Florida State will serve as a regional host for the seventh consecutive season, the 19th time in the last 21 seasons and the 34th time in school history when play begins Friday.

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"Through the SEC Tournament, we understood that we had to win one more game in that Tournament to at least give us a shot and when we won that game we kind of assumed that we would make the Tournament", said junior Josh Anthony, a Hardaway High alum. That's why this caliber of tournament creates (situations) where you have to battle through adversity. The Golden Eagles earned an automatic bid after finishing the season 40-19 and winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The Tigers defeated Ole Miss 5-4 in the opening round before falling to Florida 5-4 and being run-ruled and no-hit 12-0 by Arkansas.

Sheridan is the only pitcher in the AAC to end the regular season with 10 wins on the mound, but Howell wasn't far behind, notching nine wins and an award as one of the AAC's pitchers of the year.

"Any time I can keep wearing Auburn on my jersey, I'm going to try to take full advantage of it", senior right fielder Daniel Robert said. "That's definitely how we would want to attack this weekend".

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