UNCP heads back to NCAA baseball tourney

INDIANAPOLIS — The 17th-ranked and fifth-seeded UNC Pembroke baseball team will face 10th-ranked and fourth-seeded Columbus State on Thursday in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Southeast Regional at North Greenville University’s Ashmore Park in Tigerville, S.C., the NCAA announced late Sunday evening. Start time for Thursday’s opening round contest has yet to be determined.

It is the program’s second-straight appearance (third overall) in the NCAA postseason. The Braves were the No. 5 seed at last season’s NCAA Southeast Regional in Mount Olive, and were the No. 3 seed in the 2011 tournament that was hosted by the Trojans as well.

The Braves (38-13) are one of three Peach Belt Conference teams included in the field. Second-seeded Georgia College (43-10) earned the league’s automatic bid with a win over USC Aiken on Sunday in the finals of the PBC Tournament, while the fourth-seeded Cougars (40-12) will make their first appearance in the postseason since the 2016 campaign.

Second-ranked and top-seeded North Greenville (44-8) will play host to the 7-team, 5-day double-elimination tournament after earning an automatic bid by virtue of a 7-2 win over Mount Olive in the Conference Carolinas Tournament championship game. Seventh-seeded Lincoln Memorial (35-19) also earned an automatic bid after topping Catawba, 9-7 in extra innings, in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament championship game. The Railsplitters will be joined in the postseason by SAC rival, Wingate (34-17), who grabbed the No. 6 seed.

Third-seeded and 15th-ranked Belmont Abbey (37-12) earned an at-large berth as well to give Conference Carolinas additional representation in the NCAA postseason.

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