Tech headed to Vandy for NCAA baseball opener

The field of 64 teams competing for the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship was announced Monday by the DI baseball committee, and Georgia Tech is in the bracket once again.

Georgia Tech earned its 29th all-time berth in the NCAA Tournament, and the Yellow Jackets are the No. 2 seed in Nashville. They will face No. 3 seed Illinois Friday at 2 p.m. on ESPN3 at Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field.

Vanderbilt is the nation's overall No. 2 seed, and the Commodores battle East Tennessee Friday at 7 p.m. The winner of the four-team, double-elimination regional faces the Louisville Regional winner in Super Regional play from June 7-10.

"I’m very proud of our NCAA tradition,” said head coach Danny Hall, who has led Tech to the NCAA Tournament 18 times in his 20 years on the Flats. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment and I’m very proud of our team. That will be four very good teams in the Vanderbilt Regional and it’ll be something that we look forward to.

“We’re going to have to do some work to see what Illinois is all about. Obviously they must be good. They have a very good RPI, so they’ve played a good schedule, and we’ll have to be ready to go on Friday.”

The national top eight seeds are North Carolina (52-8), Vanderbilt (51-9), Oregon State (45-10), LSU (52-9), Cal State Fullerton (48-8), Virginia (47-10), Florida State (44-15) and Oregon (45-14).

The Southeastern Conference led all conferences in the number of teams in the championship field with nine, while the Atlantic Coast Conference has eight. The Pac-12 and Sun Belt conferences have four.

Making the tournament for the first time include: Bryant of the Northeast Conference, Canisius of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Central Arkansas of the Southland Conference, Savannah State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and South Dakota State of the Summit Conference. Overall, 31 of the 64 teams were in the field last year.

Miami (Fla.) is in the field for the 41st consecutive year, extending its own record. Florida State is making its 36th consecutive appearance, second all time. Other long consecutive streaks: Cal State Fullerton (22), Rice (19) and South Carolina (14).

Each of the 16 regionals features four teams, playing a double-elimination format. Selection of the eight super regional hosts will be announced at 11 p.m. on June 3. The 67th Men’s College World Series begins June 15 at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Neb.

Tech's tourney toward that goal begins Friday.

“We’re all pretty excited for the opportunity to play another good team,” said junior catcher Zane Evans. “Their (Illinois) RPI’s in the 30 so they’re going to be a good ball club. Any team in it at this point is going to be a good ball club, so we’ve got to go out there and play well every game.”