ATLANTA (May 15) – Georgia Tech’s No. 3-ranked baseball team, the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season champion, has been chosen to host one of the 16 regional tournaments for the NCAA Baseball Championship, May 26-28, at Russ Chandler Stadium on the Tech campus.
It is the third time the Yellow Jackets have been chosen to host an NCAA baseball regional and the first since 1993. In the current tournament format, implemented in 1999, four-team, double-elimination regionals are held at 16 sites around the country – all of them will be held May 26-28. The 16 winners pair off in eight super regionals, which are best-of-three series held at campus sites on June 2-4. Tech also has put in a bid to host a super regional should it advance past next week’s regional tournament.
The naming of Tech as a host site means the Yellow Jackets, after a one-year hiatus, are back in the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time in 16 years. The tournament begins Friday, May 26, with games at 3 and 7 p.m. Regardless of its seed, Tech will play its first-round game at 7 p.m. Game times Saturday, May 27, are at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The championship round begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 28, with a second game played 45 minutes after the 1 p.m. contest, if necessary.
“It’s great to bring the NCAA baseball tournament back to Atlanta,” said Tech director of athletics Dave Braine. “After the disappointment of not getting into the tournament last year, it’s very gratifying to see our team bounce back so well.”
The entire 64-team field will be announced at 3 p.m. Monday, May 22, on ESPN television. With its ranking in the top 10 of all three national polls, the Jackets are expected to earn one of the top eight national seeds. With next Monday’s bracket announcement, Tech will learn its seed in the tournament, the other three teams which will play in Atlanta, and which regional champion will be the opponent of the team that comes out of Atlanta.
Also awarded first-round sites were (with the host school in parentheses): Tempe, Ariz. (Arizona State), Waco, Texas (Baylor), Fullerton, Calif. (Cal State Fullerton), Clemson, S.C. (Clemson), Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida State), Houston, Texas (Houston), Lafayette, La. (Louisiana-Lafayette), Baton Rouge, La. (Louisiana State), Coral Cables, Fla. (Miami), Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota), Starkville, Miss. (Mississippi State), Oklahoma City, Okla. (Oklahoma), Upper Montclair, N.J. (Rutgers), Columbia, S.C. (South Carolina), Palo Alto, Calif. (Stanford).
Tickets go on sale Tuesday morning for the Atlanta regional at the Tech ticket office. Call 1-888-TECH-TIX or 404-894-5447 for more information. Ticket prices for tournament books are $45 for reserved seats and $30 for general admission seats. Priority on reserved seats will be given to Tech season-ticket holders. Single game tickets are $8 for reserved seats, $6 for general admission and $4 for students.
“We’re extremely pleased that the NCAA has awarded us with the opportunity to host a regional,” said Tech head coach Danny Hall, who earned his 500th coaching victory against Mercer on May 9. “Our team has performed at such a high level this season, our guys deserve to play a regional on their home field.”
The Jackets, who have an overall record of 42-14 and went 28-6 at Russ Chandler Stadium this season, feature the ACC’s leading offensive team, batting .339 and scoring 9.04 runs per game. Tech ranks fourth in the conference in earned run average, but its mark of 4.17 is its lowest since 1993. The Yellow Jackets, who won the ACC regular-season championship with an 18-6 conference mark, are the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Fort Mill, S.C.
Tech is led by a pair of all-America candidates in sophomore third baseman Mark Teixeira (Severna Park, Md.) and junior pitcher Cory Vance (Vandalia, Ohio). Teixeira, a switch-hitter, leads the ACC in batting average (.428), home runs (15) and RBI (67), while Vance, a lefthander, leads the ACC in victories with an 11-2 record and has a 3.38 ERA.
Both times Tech has been awarded a host site in the past, the Yellow Jackets had won the conference regular season title. The Yellow Jackets are 2-4 in NCAA tournament games at Russ Chandler Stadium.
In 1987, Tech hosted the NCAA Northeast Regional and was eliminated in two games, despite winning a school-record 51 games and capturing the ACC Tournament and regular season titles. The field included Georgia, Michigan, Fordham, Dartmouth and Rider. Rider downed the Jackets, 8-5, in the first round. Georgia, which eliminated the Jackets in round two, 5-1, came out of the loser’s bracket to win the regional and advance to the College World Series.
That regional also included future major leaguer pitchers Jim Poole of Georgia Tech, Jim Abbott and Mike Ignasiak of Michigan, Mike Remlinger of Dartmouth, Pete Harnisch of Fordham and Derek Lilliquist and Cris Carpenter of Georgia.
In 1993, in the NCAA Atlantic Regional, Tech won its first round game against Liberty, but was subsequently thrown into the loser’s bracket by Ohio State. The Jackets recovered to blast South Carolina, 12-0, but were eliminated a heartbreaking 10-inning loss to eventual champion Wichita State and its star pitcher Darren Dreifort. The Buckeyes reached championship Sunday and defeated the Shockers once, but Wichita State rallied to win the championship game and advance to Omaha. East Carolina also was in the Tech regional in 1993.
Tech’s nucleus that year, catcher Jason Varitek, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, center fielder Jay Payton and starting pitcher Brad Rigby, would lead the Jackets to a regional championship at Wichita State the following season and to the championship game of the College World Series.
NCAA Atlanta Regional Baseball Tournament
May 26-28, 2000
Russ Chandler Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
Teams to be announced May 22
Friday, May 26Game 1* #1 Georgia Tech vs. #4 Georgia Southern, 7 p.m.Game 2 #2 Auburn vs. No. 3 Stetson, 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 27 Game 3 11 a.m. Game 4 3 p.m. Game 5 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 28 Game 6 1 p.m. First possible championship game Game 7 45 min. after game 6 (if necessary)
*Georgia Tech will play in the 7 p.m. game regardless of its seeding.
For Tickets, call 1-888-TECH-TIXTournament books (reserved) $45Single game (reserved) $8Single game (general admission) $6Single game (student) $4
Priority for reserved seat tournament books will be given to Tech season-ticket holders.