Georgia beat LSU on the baseball field, but the Bulldogs couldn’t beat out the Tigers for a spot in the 64-team NCAA tournament field.
UGA was listed as the third team out by the NCAA tournament selection committee.
The Bulldogs (31-25) finished the season squarely on the bubble but held some hope after beating the Tigers (34-22) in the first round of the SEC Baseball Tournament last week.
Georgia also had an impressive 3-4 record against No. 1-ranked teams this season, taking two of three from Vanderbilt in Nashville and notching a road win at No. 1-ranked Arkansas.
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But it was the head-to-head win over LSU that gave UGA most hope. Indeed, Tigers coach Paul Mainieri announced his retirement soon after, leading some to think the season over for LSU.
Eighth-year Georgia coach Stricklin had said he felt the Bulldogs’ 4-1 win over LSU in the No. 8-9-seed game at the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Hoover Met last Tuesday amounted to a play-in game for the winner.
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But when the Bulldogs were eliminated by Ole Miss 4-0 last Thursday — only the third time this season they have been shut out — a bid was back in doubt.
The day before, No. 1-ranked and eventual SEC tourney champ Arkansas knocked UGA into the loser’s bracket with an 11-2 win.
Nine SEC teams made the NCAA tournament, all of them ranked higher than the Bulldogs in the RPI Rankings.
Georgia Tech also made the NCAA tournament as an at-large, despite having a worse RPI (46) than Georgia (41).
The Yellow Jackets, however, won both head-to-head meetings with the Bulldogs, including a 7-6 win in 14 innings on May 18. It was a game UGA led by a 6-3 count going into the bottom of the eighth inning.
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Georgia was a regional host in the past two NCAA tournaments, earning a No. 7 seed in 2019 and a No. 9 seed in 2018. Prior to the 2018 tourney, UGA hadn’t made the field of 64 since 2011.
The Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 in the nation when the 2020 season was suspended on account of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
New UGA athletic director Josh Brooks has confidence in the Bulldogs’ baseball future, extending Stricklin’s contract earlier this season.
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Georgia showed grit in staying in contention for the tournament after seeing four of its top five pitchers suffer season-ending injuries.
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