Alabama State baseball pinned for Knoxville Regional

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 8:58 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Monday morning, the Alabama State baseball team experienced something it hasn’t in six years: an NCAA selection show. For the first time in six years, the Hornets baseball team is punching its ticket to the NCAA tournament by way of winning the SWAC title.

“How proud I feel of our program to be able to get to this point,” said head coach Jose’ Vazquez. “I think that after the way we played, how things went at that conference tournament, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Barely five minutes into the selection show, Alabama State’s name flashed across the TV screen. The Hornets found out their first regional opponent in six years would be the top overall seed in the Tennessee Volunteers.

Corey King, the SWAC player of the year, among other postseason honors, slugged his team to the SWAC title in a 14-inning affair with 19-time SWAC champion Southern. His emotions surrounding the last 24 hours can only be explained with sheer excitement.

“Had a nonstop smile the entire way,” said the sophomore infielder. “I’m just happy to make it as far as we came, and hopefully we can keep going.”

The Hornets have their work cutout for them. Tennessee has the most explosive offense in college baseball since 1999. The Volunteers’ 141 home runs are by far the most in college baseball this season, however, they’re not the first top-seed Vazquez has seen as a coach.

“Being in this situation before, whether I was an assistant and now as a head coach, I think I know what to expect, a little bit of the atmosphere,” he said.

The Hornets are the No. 4 seed in the Knoxville Regional. They fill the field with No. 1 seed Tennessee, No. 2 seed Georgia Tech and No. 3 seed Campbell. Alabama State and Tennessee will take the field Friday for a 5 p.m. CT first pitch.

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