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What you should know about Tennessee Baseball’s opponents in the NCAA Knoxville Regional

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After taking a moment to enjoy the SEC Tournament win, it’s time for the Diamond Vols to focus on their next challenge as they eye a bid to the College World Series in Omaha. This weekend, Tennessee will host one of the 16 NCAA baseball tournament regionals at the friendly confines of Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Regionals is a double-elimination bracket, with the winner advancing to the super regionals. Should Tennessee win regionals, they will host a super-regional the following weekend.  

The Vols’ draw includes their first opponent Northern Kentucky (35-22), as well as Indiana (32-24-1) and Southern Miss (41-18). Here are a few things of note for the Vols’ regional bracket opponents. 

Setting records and riding high 

The Northern Kentucky Norse earned a trip to Knoxville after winning their first ever Horizon League Championship, dominating Youngstown State 23-5 on Saturday. MVP of the tourney was outfielder Treyvin Moss, who racked up a career-high five RBIs at both Friday and Saturday’s games. Pitching was dominant during the entire series as the Norse arms recorded 24 strikeouts to 19 hits. The bullpen was only needed for a total of 2.2 innings the entire tournament, just demonstrating how strong the starters were. 

At-large and looking for revenge

This will be the second NCAA baseball regional appearance for the Indiana Hoosiers in the last two years and will open against Southern Miss on Friday. The Hoosiers were knocked out of last year’s NCAA tourney by the Kentucky Wildcats and have not been to a super-regional since 2013. The Hoosiers faced much adversity this season, losing many valuable players to injury but still made it to the semifinals in the Big Ten Tournament. They were top-ten in doubles with 134 and also crushed 78 home runs this season. 

New coach – same success

This is the eighth season in a row that the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are in the NCAA Tournament. After winning this year’s Sun Belt Championship, they were a lock to get an invite to the regionals. Most Vol fans probably remember that Tennessee beat Southern Miss in last year’s super-regional in Hattiesburg. This is Southern Miss’s first year under new coach Christian Ostrander and it is evident that it’s been a smooth transition. 2024 marks the eighth straight season they have won 40+ games and have been victorious the last 14 of 15 games they have played. The Golden Eagles are clearly the team to watch out for next weekend. 

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Bottom line

Postseason home field advantage cannot be ignored. The Vols have won their last five regionals at home. Tennessee is 20-5 overall at regionals played in Knoxville. 

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