At long last, it’s finally here. The 2021 NCAA Division I Baseball Championships will be underway this weekend across the country starting, of course, with the Regional round.
The Red Raiders were lucky enough to earn a No. 8 seed nationally heading into this tournament, meaning that they will host both the regional and superregional rounds of the playoff.
Tech, as the hosting team, opens as the No. 1 seed in the Regional Round, so they will subsequently host the No. 4 seed Army Black Knights in their first game of the playoff.
The Black Knights are heading into this matchup coming off two straight three-game playoff series victories that netted them a Patriot League Tournament victory. They finished their season with a 28-23 overall record.
Army has now been invited to the NCAA Tournament three seasons in a row and will face the Red Raiders in the Regional Round for the second season in a row. In 2019, the Red Raiders defeated the Black Knights 11-2 in the Lubbock Regional in the two teams’ one and only matchup.
The Black Knights’ biggest strength is, funny enough, their bullpen. I say funny because their biggest strength is Tech’s biggest weakness. Army has two relievers who made 11 or more appearances out of the bullpen and finished with an ERA below 2.00.
Army pitchers Connelly Early and Brian Dawson sport ERAs of 1.57 and 1.83, respectively, heading into Regionals. Connelly, however, has made two appearances as a starter this year.
Army’s offense as a whole has slashed a batting line of .277/389/.786 through their 51 games played. Nobody on their roster hit more than five home runs individually this season.
Red Raider Head Coach Tim Tadlock is expected to announce Tech’s pitching rotation Thursday during a scheduled availability with the media.
The Red Raiders and Black Knights will face off at 11 a.m. on Friday at Dan Law Field. Student tickets have already been made available.
After Tech vs Army, the No. 2 seed UCLA Bruins and No. 3 seed North Carolina Tar Heels will play at 7 p.m. The winners of these two games will face off against each other on Saturday night.