A trio of former Cartersville High School baseball standouts begin an experience Friday that most young baseball players only get to dream about.
For Elliott Anderson, Michael Goss, and JoJo Underwood, the “Road to Omaha” opens at two different NCAA D-I Baseball regionals.
L-R: Elliott Anderson, Michael Goss, JoJo Underwood
Auburn freshman Anderson is at the Tallahassee Regional with his Tigers teammates where they will face the University of Central Florida in an opening round game at 12 noon.
Meanwhile, seniors Goss and Underwood are with their UNC-Greensboro teammates at the Clemson Regional where the Spartans will challenge the host Tigers at 7:00 pm.
Each of the 16 regionals across the country include four teams in a double-elimination format. The winner of each regional advances to a Super Regional (best-of-three series) with those eight winners moving on to the College World Series in Omaha.
The Tallahassee Regional includes host Florida State (39-20), UCF (40-20), Auburn (35-24), and Tennessee Tech (40-19).
The Clemson Regional is comprised of the the top-seeded host Tigers (39-19), Vanderbilt (33-22-1), St. John’s (42-11), and UNCG (35-22).
Anderson made 13 relief appearances for Auburn this season and worked 12.1 innings. He finished with a 6.57 ERA and a 1-0 record. He was also part of two shutouts and struck out nine. He faced 52 batters who hit for a .365 average against him.
Auburn is in the postseason for their 20th regional appearance in program history. It is only the second Tigers' appearance, however, since 2010.
The Tigers have now been sent to Tallahassee eight times for regional play where they have won the regional twice in their previous seven trips. Auburn was 1-2 at the site in 2015.
Auburn was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation earlier this season and were challenging for a national seed, but a seven-game losing streak that included sweep losses to Alabama and LSU halted those aspirations.
The Tigers have lost 10 of 13 games to close out the season and were one of the final four at-large teams to make the field of 64. Texas A&M, UCLA, and Michigan were the other last at-large teams included.
At the peak of their season, Auburn was 19th in the RPI before falling to 45th in that ranking. The Tigers finished the season ranked 23rd by Baseball America and did win seven of their ten Southeastern Conference series. They won nine games against top-10 teams and were 3-1 against national seed Florida.
Goss, Underwood, and the UNC-Greensboro team entered last week’s Southern Conference Tournament as the 3-seed, but won four of five games including two-of-three against Furman to garner the SoCon’s automatic berth into the NCAA field of 64.
Goss is coming off a Southern Conference Tournament performance that earned him a spot on the All-Tournament Team. In the two-game finals, Goss was 5-for-9 with a home run and six RBIs. The Spartans' first baseman enters the Clemson Regional with a season .320 batting average, 8 homers, and 52 RBIs in 53 games with 194 at-bats.
Underwood did not see action in the SoCon Tourney, but has been a key contributor all season with a .314 batting average, two homers, and nine RBIs in 51 at-bats across 25 games. He has seen action at both catcher and third base.
The Spartans — a 4-seed — are making their first NCAA Regional appearance since 1997.
Clemson enters the NCAA Tournament having dropped both of their games in the ACC Tournament. Vanderbilt out of the SEC is the second seed. The Commodores finished third in the SEC East at 15-13-1. St. Johns, a member of the Big East Conference, will be the three seed. The Red Storm were 42-11 this season and 13-2 in neutral site games.
2017 NCAA Baseball Tournament: Schedule, game times, TV channels
Corvallis Regional (Oregon State)
Oregon State vs. Holy Cross | 11 p.m. ET Friday | ESPNU
Nebraska vs. Yale | 4 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Clemson Regional (Clemson)
Clemson vs. UNC Greensboro | 7 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Vanderbilt vs. St. John’s | 12 p.m. Friday | SEC Network
Long Beach Regional (Long Beach State)
Long Beach State vs. San Diego State | 11 p.m. Friday | ESPN2
Texas vs. UCLA | 7 p.m. Friday | ESPN2
Stanford Regional (Stanford)
Stanford vs. Sacramento State | Thursday | WatchESPN
CSU Fullerton vs. BYU | Thursday | WatchESPN
Lubbock Regional (Texas Tech)
Texas Tech vs. Delaware | 3 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Arizona vs. Sam Houston State | 7 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Tallahassee Regional (Florida State)
Florida State vs. Tennessee Tech | 6 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
UCF vs. Auburn | 12 p.m. Friday | ESPN2
Hattiesburg Regional (Southern Miss)
Southern Miss vs. Illinois-Chicago | 2 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Mississippi State vs. South Alabama | 7 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Baton Rouge Regional (LSU)
LSU vs. Texas Southern | 3:30 p.m. Friday | SEC Network
SE Louisiana vs. Rice | 8 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Chapel Hill Regional (North Carolina)
North Carolina vs. Davidson | 6 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Florida Gulf Coast vs. Michigan | 1 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Houston Regional (Houston)
Houston vs. Iowa | 8 p.m. Friday | ESPNU
Baylor vs. Texas A&M | 3 p.m. Friday | ESPN2
Lexington Regional (Kentucky)
Kentucky vs. Ohio | 12 p.m. Friday | ESPNU
Indiana vs. North Carolina State | 7 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Louisville Regional (Louisville)
Louisville vs. Radford | 6 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Oklahoma vs. Xavier | 2 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Fort Worth Regional (TCU)
TCU vs. Central Connecticut State | 9 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Virginia vs. Dallas Baptist | 4 p.m. Friday | ESPNU
Fayetteville Regional (Arkansas)
Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts | 8 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Missouri State vs. Oklahoma State | 3 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Winston-Salem Regional (Wake Forest)
Wake Forest vs. UMBC | 7 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
West Virginia vs. Maryland | 2 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Gainesville Regional (Florida)
Florida vs. Marist | 7 p.m. Friday | SEC Network
South Florida vs. Bethune-Cookman | 1 p.m. Friday | WatchESPN
Regionals: Thursday, June 1 through Monday, June 5. The regionals will be held at 16 campus sites in four-team, double-elimination tournaments. The 16 regional winners advance to the Super Regionals. One of the regionals will start Thursday, with the other 15 starting Friday.
Super Regionals: Friday, June 9 through Monday, June 12. The eight campus sites will be home for games June 9-11 or June 10-12. Two teams will play a best-of-3 format, with winners advancing to the 2017 NCAA College World Series.
College World Series: Saturday, June 17 through Tuesday, June 27 or Wednesday, June 28. Eight teams compete in two four-team, double-elimination tournaments. The winners of the two brackets will met in a best-of-3 championship series. The College World Series Finals will have games Monday, June 26 and Tuesday, June 27. If the first two games are split, a deciding game will be on Wednesday, June 28.
2017 NCAA Baseball Tournament: Top 8 seeds
Top 8 National seeds: