Tigers: Tallahassee bound

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Times-Journal Sports Editor

For the Auburn University baseball team, their season has gone from dead to born again with a selection to compete in the 2005 NCAA Baseball Championship.

The Tigers (32-24) will compete in the field of 64 divided into 16 four-team regions beginning Friday afternoon.

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While most teams earn the right by competing in their conference tournament, Auburn fell a handful of games short of making the Southeastern Conference Tournament, recently held at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex in Hoover, Ala. The Tigers were selected to compete in the tournament due to their strength of schedule.

The Auburn University baseball team is already in Tallahassee, making the trip down on Monday afternoon. Auburn and Tallahassee are no strangers though, the Tigers have made the trip from the Loveliest Village on the Plains into the heart of Seminole Country on six earlier occasions ranging from 1976-2001. They won the regional in 1997.

The Tigers will open their tournament with a first round match-up against the University of South Alabama (30-28).

Despite the two teams being from the same state, their roads into the tournament were as different as if they were located thousands of miles away.

South Alabama earned their way into the tournament with a 9-2 victory over Middle Tennessee State in the finals of the Sunbelt Conference tournament. Their berth marks the eleventh time that the Jaguars have won that conference.

Auburn hosted South Alabama on March 1 and fell short of the squad from Mobile 3-0 in a one game series.

This time, the Tigers and Jags will tangle on neutral ground with a game time of high noon on Friday afternoon.

While Auburn’s seven tournament appearances is an impressive feat, host team Florida State’s is that much more impressive.

The Seminole’s Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium has been selected as a regional site 22 of the past 23 years.

Florida State is currently on a nine-year streak of tournament appearances.

While the Jags, ‘Noles and Tigers have all shared the diamond at one point or another, the "X" factor in this region will be the Cadets from Army.

The Black Knights make the trip to the Sunshine State after winning the Patriot League with a mark of 17-3. This will be the Cadets second straight appearance in the NCAA’s field of 64. Army started their season with four straight losses, but came back to win 38 of their last 46 games including a streak of 22 wins in their last 23 games.