Vols will stay on the road in quest for a College World Series berth

Tennessee Athletics photo / Tennessee's baseball team, pictured here before Sunday's 9-2 downing of Charlotte in the Clemson Regional, will travel to Southern Miss for the super regional.

Tennessee's baseball team will continue to be a traveling road show.

The NCAA selection committee announced Tuesday that the Volunteers and Southern Mississippi will play this weekend's best-of-three super regional at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg. The Vols and Golden Eagles were each seeded second last weekend, with Tennessee winning the Clemson Regional and Southern Miss claiming the Auburn Regional.

The super regional opener in Hattiesburg will be Saturday afternoon at 3, with ESPNU televising the matchup. Information for Sunday's game and Monday's if-necessary contest will be released later.

Life away from Lindsey Nelson Stadium has mostly been unkind this season for Tennessee, which is reflected by an 8-14 record, but the Vols have won five of their last seven.

"It's been one of our stronger points even starting with our first year once we got to Knoxville," said coach Tony Vitello after Sunday night's 9-2 win over Charlotte that clinched the Clemson Regional. His Vols were 19-4 away from Knoxville last season and 20-9 in 2021.

Added Vitello, "For this group, everything started back in August, when things were awkward, and it was like, 'Where is this going?'

"It's truly been a cliche of a journey, and I think it's still moving forward and that there are still some things that can get figured out."

Pete Taylor Park has a listed capacity of 4,300 but held a record 6,346 fans in May of last year when Ole Miss visited.

Despite Tennessee having the slightly higher RPI than Southern Miss, the decision Tuesday wasn't a huge shock given comments made last week by selection chair and Auburn athletic director John Cohen when discussing why the Golden Eagles weren't a regional host.

"They were right on the doorstep," Cohen said on the NCAA tournament selection show. "We talked about them a ton. I think they were probably one win away from potentially getting that 16 (seed). Their numbers are good across the board.

"It's really hard to poke a hole in what Southern Miss did this year. They are right there."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com