Ole Miss

Ole Miss shrugs off national seed snub, focuses on Utah

BRYNN ANDERSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE 
 Ole Miss' J.B. Woodman looks up at the ball after he hit a solo home run during the third inning against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. The Rebels are set to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament.
BRYNN ANDERSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE Ole Miss' J.B. Woodman looks up at the ball after he hit a solo home run during the third inning against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. The Rebels are set to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament. AP

OXFORD - Ole Miss did not earn the coveted national seed, but players are excited to be back at home for the postseason.

The Rebels will host Pac-12 champion Utah in the first round of the Oxford Regional on Friday night at 7.

Ole Miss last hosted NCAA tournament baseball in 2014. That Oxford Regional launched a run to the College World Series that included winning a road super regional at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

The national seed guarantees that a team will play at home until the CWS. The Rebels will have to win on the road again to return to Omaha unless No. 3 seed Miami falters in its home regional.

Much of the discussion centered on LSU and Ole Miss as prime candidates for a seed. Ultimately LSU earned the eighth and final one.

"I thought we deserved it. I thought we did enough to increase our résumé,"junior shortstop Errol Robinson said. "It's disappointing. We did everything in our power to become a national seed, but it's not in our hands. Now we control what we can control and go out there and get some wins."

With all the hay in the barn, LSU had an RPI of 7, Ole Miss of 5. LSU was 13-11 against the RPI top 50, Ole Miss 13-13.

Ole Miss won the regular season series 2-1 in Oxford, while LSU had a better record in May. Both went 3-1 in the SEC tournament.

"When you look at the 16 they picked to host, they tried to pick the best 16," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "They didn't try to spread them out. They wanted to reward the teams that had the best seasons. I think they did that with the eight. Unfortunately for us, I think it was really close, but we weren't one of the eight. I think we could have been, but now you can't be disappointed. You go get ready for Friday, play your games, win your games and move on."

Utah won the Pac-12 regular season by two games over Washington. The Utes have a 93 RPI.

Tulane won the American Athletic Conference regular season. The Green Wave comes in with a 29 RPI and a 2-0 record against LSU. Tulane was a 2 seed here in 2007.

Boston College finished fifth in the ACC Atlantic division. The Eagles were 13-15 in conference play and carry a 39 RPI into the regional.

"We're excited. Postseason at Swayze, regardless of whether we're a national seed or just a regional host, is going to be the best in the country. At the end of the day, it's a ballgame. The first game we have to win is against Utah, and we take it one game at a time from there," Ole Miss pitcher Brady Bramlett said.

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