The Tennessee baseball team is on its way to the super regionals. The Vols, who entered the postseason as a second seed in the Clemson regional, upset the host Tigers on the way to a sweep of the field.
With the Tigers having been the fourth-most highly ranked squad in the 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket, the winner of the Clemson regional was set to match up with the winner of No. 13 Auburn’s field.
And wouldn’t you know it? Those top-seeded Tigers would fall in their playoff, too, setting up a No. 2 vs. No. 2 super regional battle between Tennessee and Southern Miss.
With both original host teams losing in Auburn and Clemson, the NCAA can accept bids from each new candidate and evaluate the team it believes to be most deserving of the host opportunity.
This can be a huge advantage as the host gets to play on its home ballfield throughout the weekend, not having to travel (again) on its pursuit of the College World Series.
Tennessee, an SEC power, felt that it was in prime position to host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. After all, the school likely boasts better overall athletic facilities, as well as accommodations for traveling fans.
Instead, the NCAA selection committee opted to take the series to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Its though process being that the Golden Eagles had just missed out on a Top 16 seed in the opening round, as it was actually considered a candidate to host a regional.
Unfortunately, the committee believed there to be 16 teams more deserving, leaving USM on the outside looking in.
When the opportunity arose to give Southern Miss another shot at hosting, the NCAA couldn’t resist. While Tennessee is the more recognizable program, the Eagles had the stronger season and they’re now being rewarded for it.
📆 Sunday, June 11
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAABaseball) June 6, 2023
As you could imagine, that didn’t necessarily sit well with Vol fans.
Many immediately took to Twitter to blast the decision, as well as the team’s upcoming opponent.
“I need someone to explain this decision to me like I’m five,” one Tennessee supporter sarcastically wrote.
“Nothing like 700 people going nuts,” another fan quipped, taking a jab at the attendance.
Others are expecting a blowout series in addition to unfavorable weather with this person saying, “Can’t wait to see 200 people watch Tennessee up 11-2 in a rain delay.”
It’ll be over in two games. Tennessee is higher RPI, much better SOS, and nearly 3x higher odds to win the national championship. Giving it to Hattiesburg is a farce.
— Daniel Scuggs (@DanielScrugham) June 6, 2023
Talk about salty.
The Vols and Eagles will square off this weekend with the series opener set for Saturday. We’ll see if the home field gives USM any advantage or if the Tennessee baseball team can book its ticket to the College World Series.