Tide Baseball Goes To FSU Regional

Mikey White

Early this month, there was some question as to whether it was a good idea that the Alabama baseball team was about to play nationally ranked Troy. The Crimson Tide had just been swept by Mississippi State and had an important Southeastern Conference series ahead in Missouri.



Alabama won that May 8 game over Troy by a surprising 11-2 margin and that win is one of a handful at the end of the season thought to have propelled the Crimson Tide into the NCAA Tournament.

On Monday it was revealed that Bama (34-26) is the No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional. And Alabama's first opponent in the tournament is Troy (40-18). The teams will start play in the tournament at 11 a.m. CDT Friday at Florida State's Dick Hoswer Stadium.

Troy is the third seed in the tournament. Top seed FSU (44-14) will play Savannah State (33-21) at 4 p.m. CDT Friday in the double elimination tournament. The winner of the Tallahassee Regional is paired with the Bloomington (Ind.) Regional, which features Indiana, Austin Peay, Florida, and Valparaiso for next week's Super Regional.

Friday's game will be the 28th between Alabama and Troy with the Tide holding a 19-8 record. Alabama is 1-8 against Florida State, including two Bama losses in the 2011 Tallahassee Regional. The Crimson Tide has never played a baseball game against Savannah State. The Tigers made the field of 64 with an automatic bid by winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship.

While the win over Troy in the final month of the season helped Alabama's resume for the NCAA Tournament, the Tide also had wins over No. 2 overall seed Vanderbilt, No. 4 overall seed LSU, and won four SEC series. Also, in the SEC Tournament at the Hoover Met last week, Alabama got wins over Auburn and Ole Miss and was eliminated on two losses to eventual tournament champion LSU.

"First of all, it's an exciting time for our team," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "It's a great compliment for their efforts to get to postseason play. From day one, this team has made a choice to be a team and do things the right way. They're being rewarded now to get into postseason play and to move on. The opportunity to go to Florida State and play an in-state opponent like Troy is exciting for our team and something we look forward to this weekend."

With this year's NCAA Tournament at-large selection, the Crimson Tide will be making his 23rd regional appearance and third in four years under Gaspard. Alabama is making its fifth NCAA Regional appearance in the last six years and its 15th in the last 18 years. The Crimson Tide was the No. 3 seed in the Conway Regional in 2008, the No. 2 seed in the Clemson Regional in 2009, the No. 2 seed in the Atlanta Regional in 2010, and the No. 3 seed in the Tallahassee Regional in 2011.

Gaspard is making his fourth NCAA Regional appearance overall and third in four years as the head coach of the Crimson Tide. In Gaspard's first season at the Capstone, he led the Tide to an Atlanta Regional Championship, defeating the No. 8 overall seed Georgia Tech. In year two with the Tide, Alabama was a three-seed in the Tallahassee, where they advanced to the regional championship game against the No. 5 national seed Florida State. Gaspard also took Northwestern (La.) State to the 2005 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, where the Demons posted a 1-2 record with a win over Marist.

Alabama is one of nine SEC teams to receive an NCAA Tournament bid. Vanderbilt, the SEC regular season champion, is the No. 2 seed overall, while SEC Tournament champions, LSU is the No. 4 national seed. Mississippi State and South Carolina will also host opening round regionals. Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Florida round out the teams from the SEC in this year's NCAA tournament.

Alabama posted a 9-18 record against teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The list of opponents to make this year's tournament field includes Arkansas (1-2), Mississippi (1-3), Troy (1-0), Louisville (0-3), Mississippi State (0-3), Texas A&M (2-0), Vanderbilt (1-2), LSU (1-4), and Florida Atlantic (2-1).

Tickets for the NCAA Baseball Regional may be purchased by calling the Florida State Athletic Ticket Office at (888)-378-6653. The Florida State Athletic Ticket Office hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. EDT (7:30-5 central time) Tuesday through Friday. All Session Tickets for the NCAA Baseball Regional at Tallahassee, Fla., will go on sale at 5 p.m. CDT today (Monday) at www.seminoles.com. Only all-session tickets will be sold until Thursday night. All-session booklets are $50 for reserved seats, and $35 for general admission bleacher seats.

Individual session tickets for the first two Friday sessions will go on sale at 5 p.m. CDT on Thursday on www.seminoles.com. Tickets for additional individual sessions will go on sale the evening prior the session once teams are determined.

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