Georgia Tech already has the attention of the NCAA selection committee after knocking off top-ranked Florida State in the ACC tournament. Now, it just needs to keep the momentum going in order to ensure a bid in baseball's Big Dance.
It won't be easy. Their record stands at 34-24 overall—just one loss fewer than head coach Danny Hall's worst season ever, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Ken Sugiura—and 12-18 in conference play. Given the immense competition in the ACC coming from Florida State, North Carolina and NC State, it was crucial that they show up to play in Greensboro, N.C., this week.
Well, the Yellow Jackets can check that off their list.
After knocking off the Seminoles 5-4 on Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets laid a 17-5 beating on Virginia on Friday to keep themselves rolling. They became the first team since 2001 and only the second since 1985 to defeat the top-seeded team as a No. 8 seed.
Whether it's enough to get into the tournament remains to be seen. The Yellow Jackets currently rank 36th in the RPI, but they've beaten the No. 2 team and the No. 13 team in one week. If they finish out the rest of the tournament strong, you have to think that they can't be ignored by the committee.
That, at least, is what Hall is hoping. He told WFMY News: "I would certainly hope it enhances our cause. Let's put it that way."
One thing that's helped the Yellow Jackets succeed in this pressure-cooker of a tournament is learning how to stay loose when the pressure's off. In the past, when they've been the top team, there's been a lot riding on each and every game at the end of the season, particularly when tournament play begins. Now, they have nothing to lose. They show up to have fun.
It was certainly an attitude adjustment for a team that's used to being at the top of the heap.
Yellow Jackets third baseman Sam Dove told Sugiura: "It’s different, but for me, the past two years, we’ve kind of been the top to beat up going up there. Now, we don’t have much pressure. We just get to go up there and play.
Now, all they have to do is get up there and play on Saturday morning, and then hopefully again on Sunday. If they do that, the NCAA selection committee will have to take notice.