The Lipscomb baseball team will truly have Georgia on its mind this week.
The Bisons, playing in their first NCAA Baseball Regional, will face the top-seeded Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga., Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Foley Field. Also in the field of four are Louisville and Georgia Tech.
More than 150 fans, friends and family members filled the Hall of Fame room in Allen Arena to overflowing on Monday morning to listen to the selection show on ESPN. Many in the party had little or no sleep, having driven all night from Deland, Fla., site of the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
“For us to have that many people here on such short notice was special,” said Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand. “The following we had at the rally and the following we had at the tournament which was so far away from here is a tribute to our players.”
It may be the first time the Bisons, who are the No. 4 seed, have ever experienced an NCAA Tournament in baseball, but they plan to get some attention.
“Athens is the next step,” said Forehand. “We are five games away from Omaha, Neb., and the College World Series. I don’t know that if in two years’ time that we had a realistic shot to say that.
“We are not going down to Georgia to be happy with being in Georgia. We are going down there to win three games and go to a Super Regional. Anything can happen in a four-team tournament.”
The Bisons advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a 10-9, 15-inning decision over Gardner-Webb Sunday afternoon.
“We have prepared for this all year long,” said Forehand as he addressed the audience. “We prepared to win the conference championship. The coaches and I played through the championship game 160 ways, but not one time did we play through 15 innings. It was a total team effort.”
This will be the ninth NCAA postseason appearance for Georgia, their fourth under coach David Perno, the 2008 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year.
This is the fourth time Georgia has been selected as one of the 16 regional sites. They have won the previous three in 2001, 2004 and 2006, advancing to the College World Series each time.