Although Mississippi State is the defending national champion and Ole Miss is headed to the Sunshine State, Hattiesburg is set to be the college baseball capital in the state of Mississippi this weekend.
The University of Southern Mississippi will host a Regional in The NCAA College Baseball Tournament for just the third time ever as the march to Omaha gets underway. The home-standing Golden Eagles will host LSU, Army and Kennesaw State in the double-elimination affair beginning Friday afternoon.
Southern Miss is the top seed, followed by the Tigers from Baton Rouge as the second seed with KSU third and the team from West Point fourth.
The Southern Miss Department of Athletics announced Wednesday morning that the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional set for Pete Taylor Park this weekend is sold out.
“Southern Miss has a tremendous baseball following, and they are excited about the opportunity to host,” Hattiesburg resident Glyn Dyar, who covers USM for 24/7 Sports, said. “Home field advantage is a real thing in Hattiesburg and should be this weekend. Southern Miss is heading into their sixth straight regional, and second time to host in the last five years. Hosting twice in the last five years as a mid-major speaks volumes about where this program is on a national level.”
In the opening day on Friday, the Golden Eagles (43-16) open the regional with a 1 p.m. meeting with Army (31-23), while LSU (38-20) and Kennesaw State (35-26) play at 6 p.m.
Game three, between the two losing teams from Friday, is set for Saturday at 12 noon and game four is scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday matching the two winning teams from Friday.
The tourney will wrap up either Sunday night or Monday afternoon with the title tilt.
The winner of the Hattiesburg Regional will meet the winner of the Miami Regional, comprised of Miami, Arizona, Ole Miss and Canisius, in the June 10-13 best-of-three NCAA Super Regional. The eight-team College World Series takes place from June 17-27 in Omaha, Neb.
Southern Miss won the Conference USA regular-season title by three games, but the Eagles were eliminated in the conference tournament semifinal at home in Pete Taylor Park by Texas-San Antonio.
LSU finished fourth in the powerful Southeastern Conference standings. The Tigers were eliminated in the SEC tourney semifinals by Kentucky. LSU has not played in Hattiesburg since 2008.
The Kennesaw State Owls received an automatic NCAA bid after knocking off the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season champ Liberty in Saturday’s conference tournament title game.
Army earned a bid as the 2022 Patriot League Tournament champions. The Black Knights won their fourth-straight conference crown and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament by defeating Bucknell two games to one in the Patriot League Championship.
Mississippi State did not qualify for this year’s NCAA Tournament.