Regional Weekend Almost Here!
Regional weekend is one of the best weekends in sports. I love the college baseball playoffs and really missed them last year during COVID. We have truly come a long way in a year, from not having the regionals last year, to most of them at 100% capacity this year.
I was glued to the television on Monday at noon awaiting the announcement of the different regionals and finding out who would go where. My brother called me during the show and we talked about the regionals as they were announced. There were several regionals that we talked about and I circled as regionals I would like to watch and play very close attention to over the weekend.
Of course there are the obvious one like the Columbia regional. I will be heading down to Columbia on Friday after my show to cover the regional for the station. I haven’t attended a game in person since the pandemic hit. So one reason I am pumped about this is because I finally get to get back to a baseball game after well over a year. I think the Gamecocks got a pretty favorable draw. Virginia got off to a rough start in ACC play this year going 4-12 to start. The Cavilers would go 14-6 over there final 20 games to end up with a .500 record in ACC play.
Old Dominion got the one seed in Columbia and had a great season in Conference USA. The Monarchs have wins over ECU, who are also hosting a regional, and Charlotte, the two seed in the Greenville Regional. The Monarchs have one of the best offenses in the country. They score a ton of runs and hit a lot of homers.
The four seed in the Columbia Regional is Jacksonville. The Dolphins had a rough season. They went 16-32 overall and 3-15 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. However, like we see in baseball a lot they got hot during the conference tournament and won it getting the automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.
I have been calling games in a variety of sports at Presbyterian College since 2016. I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in my few years there. We’ve watched the tradition of the football team from the Big South to the non-scholarship Pioneer League. We have seen the baseball team have good seasons and bad ones. This year was definitely a special one for the Blue Hose. The Big South Conference elected to only allow four teams in the conference tournament and the Blue Hose were able to hold on at the end of the year and get the four seed. Not a lot of people really gave the Blue Hose much of a chance in the tournament, as most had penciled in Campbell and Upstate in the championship.
The Blue Hose had other plans. They ran through the conference tournament without much of an issue and got the automatic birth. Coach Elton Pollock is one of the good guys in college baseball and I am happy for him and the players. It should be a huge shot in the arm for the program to make the regionals and play the defending national champions, Vanderbilt, on the SEC Network on Saturday night at 7:00.
I also really like the Knoxville regional as one for a potential upset. The Duke Blue Devils have been really hot as of late and could make a run in the tournament. I will be keeping an eye on this regional.
Regional weekend always presents some surprises. Cannot wait to see what this year had in store!