LOUISVILLE—The Tigers have done all that they can do.There are no more baseball games to be played. And now sitting at 39-19 overall (17-15 ACC), they must play one additional game—the waiting game.
The Tigers must now sit back and wait to learn whether the NCAA selection committee believes that they accomplished enough through the regular season to be named one of the 16 host teams for the regional round of play that begins next weekend.
The Tigers had their chances over the last month of the season to solidify themselves as one of those teams, but after closing the season losing 11 or 12 ACC games, including dropping their only two games in the ACC Tournament, their fate now rests in the hands of a committee.
“We don’t make those decisions,” head coach Monte Lee said. “But I think, if you look at our overall body of work—we were ranked in the top ten for nine or ten weeks. We are a team that has done a lot of really good things..All of those things matter.”
While “all of those things” do matter to the committee, there is one more thing that may weigh in the Tigers favor–their RPI.
Even through their recent slide the Tigers’ RPI (which is a key factor in the committees selection) has held inside the top 12, currently sitting at No. 11 in the country, giving the Tigers the belief that their overall body of work should mean that they are playing at home next weekend.
“Obviously, I think we should be at home,” Tiger infielder Weston Jackson said. “That’s something that we can’t control. We just go out there and play wherever they tell us to play.”
For Tiger centerfielder Chase Pinder, the belief, much like his head coach, is that when you look at the overall body of work that the Tigers have put together this season they deserve to be playing the regional round of the NCAA Tournament at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
“I feel like if you look at the whole body of work that we deserve a chance to host,” Pinder said. “But again, it’s not in our control. Something from the outside, someone else would make a decision on. I’m not too worried about it.”
Regardless of whether the Tigers’ are at home for the regionals or on the road one thing is certain—the Tigers have got to right the ship quickly.
And that will be their focus regardless of where they are playing.
“The bottom line is, you’ve got to get great starting pitching, you’ve got to play good defense and you’ve got to get timely hitting,” Lee said. “If we are at home, awesome, and if we are on the road, that’s great too.
“Wherever we go, we’ve shown in the past we can win on the road and it just takes us playing good baseball. So hopefully we can put our guys in the right mind frame, play good baseball and compete as hard as they can, whatever the scenario.”
The Tigers will learn if they accomplished enough during the regular season to earn one of the 16 host spots Sunday at 8:30 p.m. The remaining field of 64 will be released Monday at noon on ESPNU.