The Hokies enter their first baseball regional since 2000 ranked No. 16 in the country and draw a team that has a strong baseball tradition that includes a trip to the College World Series. Fortunately for the Hokies, no one on The Citadel has previous experience in the NCAA Tournament either, save their head coach.
The other two teams in the regional include the host, No. 12 South Carolina, and Bucknell, a team that has a history of pulling upsets in the NCAA Tournament and had to pull plenty to get here. The Bison barely qualified for the Patriot League tournament, but upset regular season champ Army and Holy Cross to make the tournament.
After the jump we take a closer look at all four teams in the Columbia regional as well as their tournament history and who the difference-makers are on their rosters.
No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Conference: Southeastern Conference
Head Coach: Ray Tanner (14th season)
Record: 43-15 (21-9)
NCAA Tournament Record: 92-55
NCAA Tournament Notes: This is South Carolina's 11th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and 26th overall ... in the last 11 years, the Gamecocks have hosted regionals in 2000-02, 2004 and 2007 ... they've made the College World Series eight times, including three consecutive seasons from 2002-04 ... the 2004 appearance was their most recent trip to Omaha ... South Carolina has been eliminated in the regional round in its last two trips to the NCAA Tournament, losing to East Carolina in the Greenville Regional last year and NC State in the Raleigh Regional in 2007.
Top Batters: OF Jackie Bradley (.372, 9 HR, 43 RBI), OF Whit Merrifield (.329, 12 HR, 36 RBI), 2B Adrian Morales (.272, 5 HR, 45 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RH Blake Cooper (10-1, 2.94, 88 K), RH Sam Dyson (5-5, 3.92, 86 K), RH Matt Price (3-1, 2.83, 7 SV)
No. 2 Virginia Tech Hokies
Location: Blacksburg, Va.
Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
Head Coach: Pete Hughes (4th season)
Record: 38-20 (16-14)
NCAA Tournament Record: 5-16
NCAA Tournament Notes: This is Virginia Tech's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and its ninth overall ... the Hokies last won an NCAA Tournament game in 1999 when they beat Siena in an elimination game at the Winston-Salem Regional ... they have lost three consecutive tournament games and six of their last seven tournament openers ... their only win in an opening game in that span was in 1997 when they beat USC and then lost to NC State and USC at the Tuscaloosa Regional.
Top Batters: OF Austin Wates (.373, 8 HR, 51 RBI), C Steve Domecus (.371, 12 HR, 58 RBI), 1B Ronnie Shaban (.355, 8 HR, 63 RBI)
Top Pitchers: LH Justin Wright (8-4, 3.59, 95 K), RH Mathew Price (7-3, 4.59, 82 K), RH Ben Rowen (5-2, 3.02, 5 SV)
No. 3 The Citadel Bulldogs
Location: Charleston, S.C.
Conference: Southern Conference
Head Coach: Fred Jordan (19th season)
Record: 42-20 (24-6)
NCAA Tournament Record: 15-25
NCAA Tournament Notes: This is the Bulldogs' first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2004 and their 15th overall ... it's the third straight time they've been sent to Columbia for their regional ... they went 1-4 in their last two trip to Columbia in 2004 and 2001 ... The Citadel had one of the best Cinderella stories in NCAA baseball history in 1990 when it went 4-0 in the Atlantic Regional in Coral Gables, Fla., to qualify for the College World Series ... in the Series, the Bulldogs lost to LSU, beat Cal-State Fullerton and were then eliminated by LSU ... it is the only time a military school has made the CWS.
Top Batters: OF Nick Orvin (.341, 7 HR, 29 RBI), 2B Bryan Altman (.329, 13 HR, 66 RBI), 1B Justin Mackert (.338, 5 HR, 37 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RH Asher Wojciechowski (12-2, 3.25, 144 K), LH Matt Talley (7-3, 3.79, 82 K), LH Drew Mahaffey (4-3, 5.02, 7 SV)
No. 4 Bucknell Bison
Location: Lewisburg, Pa.
Conference: Patriot League
Head Coach: Gene Depew (29th season)
Record: 25-33 (8-12)
NCAA Tournament Record: 1-8
NCAA Tournament Notes: This is Bucknell's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2008 and its fifth overall ... the Bison lost their first six NCAA Tournament games before 2008 when they beat 1-seed Florida State in their first game at the Tallahassee regional, 7-0 ... the Bison then lost to Tulane and FSU and were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
Top Batters: 2B Ben Yoder (.393, 10 HR, 46 RBI), 1B Doug Shribman (.364, 20 HR, 60 RBI), OF Andrew Brouse (.368, 17 HR, 52 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RH Dylan Seeley (5-3, 4.03, 48 K), RH Trey Frahler (4-6, 6.53, 55 K), RH Andrew Clarke (1-2, 3.66, 2 SV)