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Mississippi State selected as a 2-seed in NCAA Tallahassee Regional; will play Samford in opening game Friday




Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University baseball, the 2012 Southeastern Conference tournament champion begins NCAA Regional competition in Tallahassee, Fla., this week, taking on Southern Conference champion and third-seeded Samford University (39-21) Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional 


hosted by No. 3 national seed Florida State University. 


"I committed to MSU right after that run in 2007 and told the guys in the locker room (Monday) morning that the last time Mississippi State made it Omaha was through a Florida State regional so that's plan again," Reed said. "I remember that 2007 run like it was yesterday because I watched on TV and then came to the Super Regional versus 


Clemson thinking 'man this is something I want to come here and do.'" 


"We are excited and looking forward to traveling to Tallahassee and playing in one of the great atmospheres for college baseball," MSU head baseball coach John Cohen said. "Mississippi State has had success (in Tallahassee) and this (regional) field is one of the best in the country in my opinion." 


MSU's game against Samford (39-21) is set for 11 a.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. Florida State (43-15) takes on the Conference USA tournament champion in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (32-28) at 5 p.m., in Friday's opening round of play. All games in the tournament will be televised on ESPN3. All of MSU's postseason games will be broadcast on the MSU Baseball Radio Network. 


After winning the SEC baseball tournament and earning the automatic bid less than 24 hours before selections were announced, MSU (39-22) was clearly disappointed with the NCAA committee forcing them to open up a postseason run in a regional tournament with the No. 3 overall seed. 


"I think the committee has a very difficult time and it's not a perfect process by any means," Cohen said. "As a coach, you're always looking at fairness and at some point and time, we need the process to be more like the NCAA basketball tournament where we've got two-seeds seeded in a traditional way." 


Monday's selection marked MSU's 26th advancement to NCAA regional competition and 33rd overall to NCAA postseason competition dating back to 1949. Cohen guided the Bulldogs to a sweep in the Atlanta Regional and was eight outs away from winning the NCAA Gainesville Super Regionals last season. 


However, the MSU players who were around for last season's run said the emotion and attitude in the locker room is completely different entering NCAA play as compared to last year when they went 0-2 in the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala. 


"The confidence is high right now," MSU senior outfielder Brent Brownlee said. "All of the guys know today begins the process of being that much closer to doing another championship dogpile like we did in Hoover this week." 


MSU comes into NCAA play this season winning 16 of its last 21 games and completed a six-day run through the 2012 SEC tournament with a 3-0 victory over Vanderbilt University in the final Sunday. 


"Nobody wants to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs right now and that's just obvious," ESPN college baseball analyst Ben McDonald said Monday on the NCAA selection show on ESPNU. "They've got one of the best pitchers in the country in Chris Stratton and with that pitching depth is one of the most dangerous teams in all of college baseball." 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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